Create DIY Pods To Clean Your Dishwasher With These Two Household Staples

The dishwasher is one of the tried-and-true appliances that makes daily chores much easier. Dishwaters reduce water waste, remove stuck-on gunk, and sanitize dishes more effectively than handwashing and can do it all in one easy hourlong cycle. But who washes the dishwasher? It's hard to imagine that the machine we rely on to clean things also needs cleaning; nevertheless, dishwashers must be properly cleaned regularly. If you notice your dishes coming out a bit splotchy or smell a less-than-pleasant odor emanating from your dishwasher, it's likely time to clean it properly. But you don't have to rush out and buy a new specialty product for this task! To make your own dishwasher cleaning pods, use two of the DIY cleaner heavy-hitters — baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. 

Baking soda is often used as a homemade cleaning remedy because it's gentle but abrasive, allowing it to work away at food grime, oil, and stains. It's also water-soluble, so you don't have to worry about residue and build-up after using it to clean. Hydrogen peroxide is an amazing cleaner that can eliminate germs such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and more, some of which may be afflicting your dishwasher. It also has a low-grade bleaching quality that works beautifully against protein-based and plant-based stains, making it ideal for cleaning a machine that handles food particles on a daily basis. Unlike vinegar, hydrogen peroxide is a weak acid and won't counteract alkaline baking soda, making this a perfect cleaning combo.

How to use homemade dishwasher cleaning pods

Combine 2 cups of baking soda with 3 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide in a bowl, then form into a semi-dry paste. You can add colorless essential oils if you want to give the pods a natural scent or add moisture to the mixture. Using an ice cream or cookie scoop, form the paste into little balls, about the size of regular dishwasher pods. Set the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide balls on a parchment paper-lined tray and allow to dry overnight. You will want them to be fully dry so they don't crumble later on. Add them to a jar and use as necessary. 

To use the pods to clean your dishwasher, you'll first need to ensure that the dishwasher is empty of any dishes, and for best results, manually remove any large food particles or debris you can see. Then, just put one pod in your silverware container on the bottom rack of the dishwasher or into the compartment where you normally put your cleaning pods. Set the dishwasher to run at its absolute hottest cycle possible; this will help to kill off any odorous germs, sanitize the dishwasher, and help the baking soda to dissolve more completely.

Tips to using these pods safely

When your grocery list seems to be eating at your budget more and more each week, it makes sense to try to get a bit thrifty on some of the more expensive items like cleaning supplies, especially because we often already have the necessary cleaning agents collecting dust under the sink. But keep in mind that you still need to be cautious when making and using homemade cleaners. For instance, make sure that you aren't mixing more chemicals than this hack calls for. It's especially key that vinegar and hydrogen peroxide do not come in contact with each other. When combined, these two make for a dangerous acid that can harm your lungs, eyes, throat, and skin. Even when you're working with seemingly basic items, there's a risk when making your own supplies. 

You should also remember that baking soda can irritate skin, and hydrogen peroxide can go so far as to actually burn your skin. For this reason, you should handle the pods carefully, especially when you're mixing the paste. Wear gloves throughout the entire mixing process, especially when handling the pods directly.

You should also keep the longevity and maintenance of your dishwasher in mind. Dishwashers are manufactured to interact with specific chemicals, so you should be sure to check your manual to be sure the hydrogen peroxide and baking soda won't cause issues later on.