Is It Safe To Use Vinegar In A Dishwasher?

There are many different kinds of vinegar that can be used for cooking, from rice vinegar to red wine and balsamic vinegar. However, apple cider and distilled white vinegar are the ones that are also effective cleaning agents. They both contain acetic acid, making them perfect for removing odor and killing bacteria. Pro Housekeepers explain that vinegar's low pH level of 2.4 combined with its high acidity allows it to kill bacteria by damaging their cell membranes. This also means that you need to dilute it before using it to clean your home.

While distilled white vinegar is great if you're looking for a cheap and environmentally friendly cleaner, it's not a disinfectant. You should only use it to remove dirt, mold, mildew, and some pathogens — it can kill E.coli, listeria, and salmonella but not much else, notes Healthline. You should also double-check that it's safe to use vinegar on your surfaces before cleaning with it because it is very acidic.

Is vinegar safe for dishwashers?

There are many places in the home where you shouldn't clean with vinegar, but your dishwasher isn't one of them. As you use your dishwasher, the detergent leaves soap scum all over it, food debris gets trapped, and grease coats the inside. The more you use it, the worse it gets until the machine can't function correctly anymore. To prevent this from happening, you need to clean it regularly, and using this eco-friendly alternative is a great way to cut through the gunk and smell that's building up.

However, you need to use it correctly to ensure that your machine doesn't get damaged. Eating Well stressed that you should never put vinegar in the detergent compartment. You only want to use it to clean the interior of the machine, otherwise, the vinegar can damage the internal gaskets and seals, causing them to erode and leak water.

How to use vinegar in your dishwasher

Properly cleaning a dishwasher with vinegar requires only two steps, but first, Home Made Simple recommends that you should wash the filter. This is most likely where any bad smells are coming from since it's the part that catches food debris as water drains out of the machine. To access it, you'll need to remove the bottom rack. You should be able to twist it out, then wash it with some hot water and dish soap.

To clean your dishwasher, you'll need a cup or bowl that can fit facing upright on the top rack. Fill it about 2/3 of the way full with vinegar and make sure it is secure in the rack, as you don't want it to empty in the bottom of your washer. Then simply run your dishwasher on a hot cycle. If you don't like the smell of vinegar, you can also add a few drops of essential oils — citrus scents like lemon or orange are a good choice. After it's done, leave the door slightly open for it to air dry.