This Simple Kool-Aid Hack Can Clean Your Dishwasher

You may associate Kool-Aid and the iconic cherry red Kool-Aid man with childhood memories of cookouts and after-school snacks — the satisfying crinkle of the paper envelope and the sandy lemon-flavored crystals within. But one flavor of this powdered drink mix can help you tackle one of the most tedious chores — the dishwasher. Many folks neglect this task because they believe that the appliance maintains itself with regular washing cycles. However, dishwashers, and all appliances for that matter, require semi-regular maintenance and cleaning. Food bits, grease, mildew, limescale, and rust can all build up over time in your dishwasher, which leads to poor performance. Getting out a mop and bucket may sound tedious, not to mention back-breaking, but chemical dishwasher cleaners can be expensive. 

That's where Kool-Aid comes in. Specifically, you'll need Kool-Aid's Unsweetened Lemonade. This mix, in particular, has no sugar, so you don't have to worry about a sticky, syrupy mess, but it does contain plenty of citric acid, which is the key ingredient here. Citric acid helps to break down the debris that's coating your dishwasher. Plus, you can snag it for a great deal; for instance, Walmart offers the envelopes for just $0.30 a pop. 

How to use the Kool-Aid hack

To use this hack, you first need to empty your dishwasher. Dishes and glassware will interfere with the cleaning cycle, and the citric acid could potentially cause damage. Then, in the dispenser where you normally put detergent tablets or powder, add a packet of Kool-Aid Unsweetened Lemonade. If your dishwasher has a cleaning cycle, opt for that. However, that isn't a requirement for the hack — just set the appliance to run its hottest, longest cycle. This typically takes a few hours, but it's worth it because the longer you let it run, the less scrubbing you'll have to do. 

When the cycle is completed, check out your dishwasher. Hopefully, it is visibly cleaner, but don't lose hope if you still notice some calcium buildup or rust. The Kitchn reviewed the hack and noted that with some light scrubbing, all deposits came off with ease. So even if you need to pull the sponge out for a few minutes, the Kool-Aid hack seems to cut down on cleaning time, leaving you with a cleaner, better-running washing machine