How to Clean Your Dishwasher | Allrecipes

Learn how to deep clean your dishwasher with just vinegar and baking soda. This step-by-step guide will teach you how to remove built up food, grease, and undissolved detergent.
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Cleaning Tips

With coronavirus still threatening the well-being of countless Americans—and many people spending more time at home than ever before—giving your home a daily deep clean has never been as pressing of a priority as it is now. However, just because you’re cleaning your home more frequently doesn’t mean you need to spend more time on that often thankless task. We’ve reached out to cleaning and disinfecting experts to bring you sanitizing tips that will save you time, money, and your sanity in the long run. 

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How To Clean According To The CDC

Do You Have to Clean and Disinfect?

Yes, the CDC says you should be doing both! Here’s why.

The act of cleaning refers to the removal of germs and dirt. It does not kill germs, but removes them from the surface, therefore lowering the risk of spreading infection.

On the other hand, disinfecting is actually killing the germs—usually with chemicals. It should be done after cleaning and can further lower the risk of spreading illness.

In other words, when you wipe away messes on your counter with soap and water, you’re cleaning. You’re disinfecting a surface only when you use a product specifically made for disinfection. (Don’t miss the things you should be disinfecting regularly to avoid spreading germs.)

How to Clean and Disinfect Surfaces

Here’s the best way to clean and disinfect common surfaces around your home:

  • Wear disposable gloves—and discard the gloves after cleaning. If your prefer reusable gloves, use them only for cleaning and not for any other purpose. Then, wash your hands after removing the gloves.
  • Clean surfaces with soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • Disinfect surfaces with diluted bleach or an EPA-registered household disinfection product, like Clorox or Lysol cleaners. (See below for more details about EPA-recommended cleaners.) To make your own bleach solution, mix 1/3 cup of bleach per 1 gallon of water, or 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water.

This is why Clorox is so good at killing germs.

How to Clean and Disinfect Clothing and Towels

When it comes to disinfecting your home, don’t forget about your clothes and towels! Here’s how to clean and disinfect your laundry:

  • If someone in your home is sick or has recently recovered from illness, use disposable gloves to handle dirty laundry. Discard the gloves after use and wash your hands. Keep in mind, if you aren’t using gloves, you should still wash your hands after touching the dirty laundry.
  • Do not shake dirty laundry, because that can further spread the virus.
  • Wash your clothes and towels per the manufacturer’s instructions but use the hottest setting on your washing machine.
  • Clean and disinfect your clothes hamper. Consider using a washable liner for the hamper and wash it on the highest possible setting, as well.

EPA-Recommended Cleaning Products

To ensure your home is disinfected, and not just clean, it’s best to use products recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency. EPA-recommended cleaning products have been tested and shown to be effective against harder-to-kill viruses. This is not the time to rely on natural cleaners—bring on the chemicals.

No matter which cleaner you purchase, be sure to follow the directions on the bottle for the proper concentration, application and contact time to ensure disinfection. You can find the full list of EPA-approved products here. (And while you’re shopping, here are the cleaning products that professional house cleaners recommend.)

Homemade Cleaners!~

Some of the items in your pantry (like baking soda and vinegar) work as effective all-purpose cleaners and, even better, cost next to nothing. So the next time you’re staring down a big mess but you’re out of your favorite cleaning product, don’t run to the store — try one mixing up one of these DIY homemade cleaners instead. These natural products will kick grime to the curb and keep your wallet happy.

Important Safety Tip: Never combine ammonia-based cleaners with chlorine bleach or products containing bleach, such as powdered dishwasher detergent. The fumes they’ll create are extremely dangerous. Before doing any mixing, read the product labels first. Always label any bottles of DIY cleaners with all the ingredients inside. In case a child or animal gets into it, it’s important to know what the mixture contains.

1. Scented All-Purpose Cleaner

What you’ll need:

  • One part white vinegar
  • One part water
  • Lemon rind
  • Rosemary sprigs

Combine the above ingredients together, pour into a spray bottle, shake, and then let infuse for a week before using. Once done, you can use the natural solution to remove hard water stains, clean trash cans, wipe away wall smudges, and much more. Besides a fresh scent, the lemon rind may help boost cleaning power. Caution: Do not use acidic cleaners on granite, as they will etch the stone.

2. Kitchen Cleaner and Deodorizer

What you’ll need:

  • 4 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1 quart warm water

To clean kitchen counters, appliances, and the inside of your refrigerator, all you need is baking soda. “It makes a great deodorizer and can be used to shine stainless steel sinks and appliances,” says Carolyn Forte, director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab. To deodorize surfaces, use the solution above or pour baking soda straight from the box and into your drain or garbage disposal to remove odors. To shine and remove spots from stainless steel, make a paste of baking soda and water. Apply it with a damp cloth and rub gently in the direction of the metal’s grain. Rinse and buff dry.

3. DIY Glass Cleaner

crassula flower in pot on windowsill

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What you’ll need:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup white or cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol 70% concentration
  • 1 to 2 drops of orange essential oil for smell (optional)

The next time you need to wash your windows and mirrors, combine these ingredients and pour them in a spray bottle. Hint: Don’t clean windows on a hot, sunny day, because the solution will dry too quickly and leave lots of streaks. For mirrors, spray the solution on a paper towel or soft cloth first before wiping.

4. Homemade Brass Cleaner

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What you’ll need:

  • White vinegar or lemon juice
  • Table salt

To clean non-lacquered cabinet pulls, bathroom appointments, and more, dampen a sponge with vinegar or lemon juice, then sprinkle on salt. Lightly rub over surface. Rinse thoroughly with water, then immediately dry with a clean soft cloth.

5. Natural Heavy-Duty Scrub

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup borax powder

Rust stains on porcelain or enamel sinks and tubs are no match for this cleaner. Dip the lemon into the borax and scrub the surface, then rinse. (This is not safe for marble or granite.) Tip: You can find borax, a laundry booster, in the detergent aisle or order it on Amazon.

6. DIY Grease Cleaner

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What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup sudsy ammonia

Sudsy ammonia contains detergent that helps remove tough grime. Mix 1/2 cup with enough water to fill a one-gallon container. Then clean your oven racks, stove hood, and grill by dipping a sponge into the solution and wiping over the surface before rinsing with clear water. You can also soak oven racks and grill grates in the mixture directly, with a little extra ammonia if they’re particularly dirty.

7. Last-Resort Clothing Stain Remover

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What you’ll need:

  • 1 gallon hot water
  • 1 cup powdered dishwasher detergent
  • 1 cup regular liquid chlorine bleach, not ultra or concentrate

Treat badly stained but washable white clothing by mixing the above ingredients into a stainless steel, plastic, or enamel bowl (not aluminum). Soak garment for 15-20 minutes. If stain is still there, let it soak a bit longer, then wash the item as usual.

8. Natural Marble Cleaner

What you’ll need:

  • 2 drops mild dishwashing liquid
  • 2 cups warm water

Mix dishwashing detergent and water the next time you want to clean natural stone countertops. Sponge over marble and rinse completely to remove any soap residue. Buff with a soft cloth; do not let the marble air-dry. Caution: Never use vinegar, lemon, or any other acidic cleaner on marble or granite surfaces; it will eat into the stone.

Clean this!!!

The idea of cleaning every high-touch surface can be overwhelming, though, so we’ve compiled a list of the most essential spots to clean and disinfect, just in case there are any you’ve forgotten. Think about your average day around the house, in your car, and at the office, and clean everything you touch frequently. This list can help you get started.

  • Light switches
  • Doorknobs (on the inside and outside and also the locks on the doors)
  • House keys and car keys
  • Cellphone and landline
  • Earbuds, headphones, and AirPods
  • Refrigerator handle
  • Oven knobs
  • Small kitchen appliances
  • Drawer pulls
  • Sink knobs
  • Bathtub knobs
  • Toilet flusher
  • Toothbrush
  • Hairbrush
  • Makeup and brushes
  • Any bottles of hair care or skin care
  • Desk
  • Computer screen
  • Computer mouse or laptop touchpad
  • Computer keyboard
  • Windows
  • Mirrors
  • TV remote
  • Car door handles
  • Steering wheel of your car
  • Dashboard of your car (including the radio and air vents)
  • Gear shift of your car
  • Rearview mirror of your car

House Cleaning Tips

How to Clean Your Washing Machine

  1. It’s recommended that you clean your washing machine at least once a year, so it’s a great task to add to your Spring Cleaning list! Our step-by step tutorial will make the process fun and stress-free! (Promise!)
  2. We all know that cleaning a microwave can be a daunting task.  It’s a time consuming, smelly task and can require a lot of elbow grease to get the job done. But if you Steam Clean your Microwave it will be left smelling great and grime-free in no time!
  3. If you’ve ever had to change a duvet cover, you know what a pain it is.  But after watching this video on How to Put on A Duvet Cover from Crane and Canopy, you’ll wash your duvet ten times more often! This seriously changes everything!
  4. Here is a simple trick on how to clean your vents AND make them super easy to clean in the future.
  5. You’re only one hour away from having your kitchen appliances sparkling like new! Here is our step-by-step method on cleaning your microwave, dishwasher and refrigerator in 1 hour!
  6. If your fridge needs even more TLC, here are 3 refrigerator cleaning tips you do not want to miss!
  7. Learn how to clean the oven glass in an easy way that takes less than 20 minutes of your time!
  8. Cleaning your stove can be a daunting task, but one that can really set the mood for your entire kitchen! Here is how to clean your stove in a simple way that involves ZERO chemicals and not even a whole lot of elbow grease!
  9. How to clean your kitchen sink and why it is so important to stay on top of this simple task!
  10. I really need to clean my dryer vent! This tutorial is a great reminder, from Pretty Handy Girl
  11. How to clean your window tracks, from Ask Anna
  12. How to remove candle wax from a wall or carpet!  This cleaning tip will help you easily remove wax when it spills.

Cleaning Tips

8 Cleaning Tips

How to Organize
  1. These 4 steps to organizing will help keep you on task and they will produce awesome results!
  2. Allow yourself have a black hole – It shouldn’t be too big or takeover an entire room, but designating a certain spot where clutter can pile is certainly helpful in keeping the rest of your house clean. ‘Cause let’s be honest, having a perfectly clean house all the time is not realistic. Allowing yourself to have a “black hole” is a good way to do a quick clean when someone calls and says they are on their way. Do a quick pick-up of the house, put everything in your black hole and put it away when you have more time.
  3. Make it smell good. A good smelling house can help mask a mess. And lets be honest, even a clean room that smells gross is not pleasant to be in. I like to use my wax burner to get a good scent through out the whole house!
  4. Do these 5 EASY tasks each day to keep your house clean!
  5. Tackle that scary space in your home with these 5 questions that determine what to keep and what to get rid of.
  6. The secret to success on how to get rid of the boys bathroom smell is a simple process that will change your life. (Or, at least change the way your bathroom smells!)
  7. Here are specifics on how to clean your closet to ensure a safe, successful procedure:
  8. Here is a 3-step process to make clean up time fun for kids.

Unusual Cleaning Tips

Lemony fresh

Believe it or not, lemon juice can be used to scrub stains out of just about anything, including hard to clean plastic.

Slide 2 of 21: Believe it or not, lemon juice can be used to scrub stains out of just about anything, including hard to clean plastic.
Slide 3 of 21: Have a scratch in your hardwood floor? It only takes some buffing with a walnut to make the mark practically vanish. The oils in the nut help to smooth out the streak and fill the crack.

Wonderful walnuts

Have a scratch in your hardwood floor? It only takes some buffing with a walnut to make the mark practically vanish. The oils in the nut help to smooth out the streak and fill the crack.

Furball fixer

If you have a pet, then you know the annoyance of finding hair or fur everywhere. A rubber glove is just what you need to keep everything clean. Rub one along the surface of your couch, and the hair will adhere to the sticky surface.

Soap scum shaver

If you have a glass shower, keeping it clean and free from soap scum can be a challenge. The trick? Use some shaving cream to buff out stains. All you need is a bottle of the foamy stuff and a damp cloth.

Chip corrector

Giving your car a new paint job to fix a couple scratches or chips can be super expensive. To prevent rusting until you can afford the repair, dab the areas with clear nail polish to seal the paint. (Note: this hack won’t work if rusting has already started.)  You can also use coloured nail polish to touch the spot up.

Blade rinser

Blenders are a beast to clean thanks to their sharp blades. The solution? Pour some soap and water into the appliance, then blend on high. Allow it to run for 30 seconds, then rinse with fresh water.

Marvellous mayo

Water stains are loathed by coaster lovers everywhere, but the good news is they’re generally easy to get rid of. You just have to wipe a bit of mayo along the surface with a damp cloth. Olive oil and salt also works.

Grime remover

Baked-on gunk is a menace to dirty pans and baking sheets. To clean with minimal elbow grease, soak the dish with water and a nontoxic, biodegradable dryer sheet. The sheet will help loosen the grime.

Slide 9 of 21: Baked-on gunk is a menace to dirty pans and baking sheets. To clean with minimal elbow grease, soak the dish with water and a nontoxic, biodegradable dryer sheet. The sheet will help loosen the grime.

Caffeinated cleanser

Get streak-free windows by buffing them with a coffee filter or newspaper. Simply spray a solution of water and vinegar on the surface then shine away.

Five-minute fixer

Raise your hand if you hate scrubbing gross, baked-on goo from your microwave? To get the appliance glistening, warm a bowl of lemon and water for five minutes, then let stand for another five. You’ll be able to wipe dirt away with a paper towel.

Bread, recycled

If you have some dirty hand marks or fingerprints on your walls, removing them is as simple as rubbing them with an old piece of white bread.

Kid mess cleaner

Don’t have a piece of bread? Baby oil can perform the same fingerprint-removing or crayon-clearing feat. The substance also works particularly well on stainless steel.

Free-from spray

There are a lot of chemicals in air and fabric fresheners, but one substance can perform the same trick in an all-natural way: vodka. Simply mix some of the alcohol with water and a few drops of essential oil. Spray on fabric to give it new life.

Simple soaker

Who knew old newspapers could be so handy? Scrunch them up to soak up the oil in a pan before scrubbing it clean with some soap and water.

Beverage buffer

Remember that science experiment from elementary school in which you used coke to clean pennies? The same trick applies to stains in your toilet. Simply pour some cola into the bowl, let sit for about an hour, and scrub clean. Kool-Aid also works.

Stale smell solver

Towels can grow musty and mouldy after a while. The trick to making them smell as good as new is as simple as a vinegar bath. Pour vinegar and water into your washing machine instead of detergent, rinse, then dry. Your towels will be clean as can be.

Carpet clearer

A little-known trick to getting stains out of just about anything is to reach for a damp cloth and iron. Set the iron on high heat, lay the damp cloth over the stains, and press the iron on top. The heat will lift the stain, leaving your carpet or couch clean. (Note: do not use a coloured cloth for this task. It could leach colour onto your carpet.)

Slide 18 of 21: A little-known trick to getting stains out of just about anything is to reach for a damp cloth and iron. Set the iron on high heat, lay the damp cloth over the stains, and press the iron on top. The heat will lift the stain, leaving your carpet or couch clean. (Note: do not use a coloured cloth for this task. It could leach colour onto your carpet.)

See-through shine

You could reach for a chemical-filled product to buff out watermarks on your bathroom mirror… or you could use some vodka and baking soda (some people use cornstarch instead). Pour some of each into a bottle, spray on the surface, and watch everything from glass to silverware shine.

Simple slat solution

The little slats of an air vent can be hard to scrub clean. Try wrapping a butter knife in a damp cloth then running it along each slat to get the job done in seconds. To add some disinfection into the mix, soak the cloth in vinegar first.

Nooks and crannies

The worst part of buying fresh flowers is that algae that can form in hard to reach places in the vase. The trick to easily getting it clean? Toss some vinegar with a bit of rice and pour the mixture into the vase. Let it sit, then swish around. The rice will scrub the glass clean.