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How To Deep Clean a Whirlpool Dishwasher

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Cleaning your dishwasher may seem like a tedious chore, but it’s essential to ensure this hardworking appliance continues to perform at its best. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of deep cleaning your Whirlpool dishwasher, providing detailed instructions, examples, and tips to make the job as straightforward as possible.


To deep clean a Whirlpool dishwasher, start by emptying it and cleaning the edges, door, vent cover, and filters. Next, remove and clean the filter and spray arms with hot water and soap. Then, run a vinegar cycle by placing 2 cups of white vinegar in a dishwasher-safe container on the bottom rack and running a full cycle. Follow this with a baking soda cycle, sprinkling 1 cup of baking soda in the bottom and running a hot water cycle. Finish by cleaning the exterior with a damp cloth or appropriate cleaner.

Why Deep Clean Your Dishwasher?

Regularly deep cleaning your dishwasher offers several benefits:

  • It prevents unpleasant odors caused by the buildup of food particles, grease, and detergent.
  • It improves the dishwasher’s cleaning performance.
  • It prolongs the life of the appliance.
  • It prevents clogs and damage that can lead to drainage issues or even damage the pump.
  • It enhances energy efficiency, optimizing your utility bills.
  • It maintains hygiene inside the dishwasher, preventing mold growth and reducing the risk of washing dishes in contaminated water.

Preparing for the Deep Clean

Before starting the deep cleaning process, you need to prepare your dishwasher. Here’s how:

  1. Empty the dishwasher completely.
  2. Use a melamine sponge to scrub the edges of the door, the bottom of the dishwasher, and the rubber seals.
  3. Remove the dishwasher vent cover and scrub it clean.
  4. Check for food debris and remove any visible particles.
  5. Clean the filters under running water, following the manufacturer’s instructions for proper filter maintenance.
  6. Wipe the interior with a damp cloth or sponge.

The Deep Cleaning Process

Once you’ve prepared your dishwasher, it’s time to deep clean it.

Step 1: Clean the Filter

The filter is usually located at the bottom of the dishwasher. Remove it by turning it counterclockwise and lifting it up. Scrub the filter with hot water and soap, then rinse thoroughly before replacing it.

Step 2: Clean the Spray Arms

Unscrew the spray arms and remove them from their housing. Scrub them with hot water and soap, ensuring to remove any built-up mineral deposits from the spray arm holes. Rinse thoroughly and securely replace them in their housing.

Step 3: Run a Vinegar Cycle

Place 2 cups (500 mL) of white vinegar in a glass or dishwasher-safe measuring cup on the bottom rack. Run the dishwasher through a complete washing cycle using an air-dry or an energy-saving dry option without detergent.

Step 4: Run a Baking Soda Cycle

After the vinegar cycle is complete, sprinkle 1 cup of baking soda in the bottom of the dishwasher and run a hot water cycle.

Step 5: Clean the Exterior

Wipe down the surface of the dishwasher with a damp cloth. For stainless steel exteriors, use a cleaner like affresh® stainless steel cleaning spray.


Deep cleaning your Whirlpool dishwasher may seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and techniques, it’s straightforward and rewarding. Regular maintenance can extend the life of your appliance, improve its performance, and keep your dishes sparkling clean. So roll up your sleeves, and start deep cleaning your dishwasher today!

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I deep clean my Whirlpool dishwasher?

It’s recommended to deep clean your dishwasher every 1 to 3 months depending on how frequently you use it and the type of water in your area. Hard water tends to cause more buildup and may require more frequent cleaning.

Can I use a dishwasher cleaner instead of vinegar and baking soda?

Yes, you can use a commercial dishwasher cleaner instead of vinegar and baking soda. These cleaners are specifically designed to remove grease and limescale, and they can be an effective alternative. Follow the instructions on the cleaner’s packaging for best results.

What should I do if I notice a foul smell even after deep cleaning?

If a foul smell persists even after deep cleaning, it may be a sign of a drainage issue or a problem with the dishwasher’s pump. In such cases, it’s best to consult with a professional technician.

What can I do if the spray arms don’t come off?

If the spray arms of your Whirlpool dishwasher don’t come off easily, refer to your user manual for specific instructions. Some models may have fixed spray arms that aren’t designed to be removed. If this is the case, you can clean them by running a cycle with a dishwasher cleaner or vinegar without any dishes.

Can I use any type of soap to clean the filter and spray arms?

It’s best to use a mild detergent or dish soap to clean the filter and spray arms. Avoid using harsh cleaners or bleach as these can damage the dishwasher parts.

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