Follow This Dishwasher Tip Before Going On Vacation

When prepping for a vacation, there are a multitude of tasks to remember. Though among packing bags, locating a passport, and determining which power adapter you'll need, the last thing you're probably thinking about before heading off on your holiday is how to properly leave your dishwasher for an extended period of time. Sure, everyone knows to switch off unused appliances before leaving to save on the electric bill, but unplugging a dishwasher is not usually on the top of the list — it's also not feasible.

While it may have occurred to you to run it one last time to avoid a welcome home greeting from festering dirty dishes long forgotten, many people overlook the best way to leave behind this essential and expensive appliance. Leaving the door of your dishwasher open while you're away not only elongates the life of your appliance, but it also keeps your kitchen clean and clear of mold or unpleasant odors.

Short-term vacations

For short-term vacations — anything lasting from a few days to a month — follow these steps for your dishwasher to ensure a seamless return from your respite away. First, run the dishwasher one last time with all of the dirty dishes loaded properly. Once it's through, empty the dishwasher completely. Remove any food debris from the arms of the spray nozzles or the filter at the bottom. Do avoid using Drano or other harsh chemicals, though, to mitigate any clogging issues.

Next, run a cleaning cycle with the dishwasher empty. Many modern dishwashers feature a self-cleaning cycle. While you may want to skip this step, as one would assume a dishwasher cleans itself during each dish run, it does require weekly or monthly maintenance in order to prolong its efficacy. A standard dishwasher tab or detergent will suffice, but many brands, such as Finish, offer specific dishwasher-cleaning products that will return your dishwasher to a sanitized state. If your dishwasher lacks a self-cleaning cycle, pour a cup of white vinegar into the bottom of the dishwasher and run it on a high heat setting to eliminate any odors or mineral deposits.

Lastly, after the self-cleaning or high heat cycle has finished, prop the door open before departing to allow any excess moisture to evaporate while you're gone. Propping the door open will also prevent mold and mildew from taking up residence in your dishwasher during your trip.

Long-term vacations

For long-term vacations, there are a few extra steps that are necessary to protect your kitchen and your appliance from unwanted hazards.

Home appliance repair company Guinco recommends switching off electricity and water to dishwashers, especially during the colder months. With the heat off or lowered in your home while you're away, freezing water lines can burst or damage your dishwasher. Moreover, many dishwasher brands, like Whirlpool, will not cover damage incurred in this manner through their warranties. Returning to a broken appliance or a flooded home is certainly not the best way to end a great vacation and can easily be avoided.

So while it may seem like a hassle to add these extra steps to your list before heading off on holiday, following these pre-vacation dishwasher tips will certainly help keep your home cleaner, safer, and more energy-efficient in your absence. Bon voyage!