We're reader-supported and only partner with brands we trust. When you buy through links on our site we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Learn More. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date and time indicated and are subject to change.

1. Rinse the dirt off potatoes in the top rack.


 Set potatoes in the top rack and turn on the rinse cycle.


2. Remove stains in a dishwasher with lemon Kool-Aid.


The citric acid in lemon Kool-Aid helps break down lime deposits and iron stains.

Tip: For super tough stains, try Bar Keepers Friend Soft Cleanser.


3. Use a mesh laundry bag to prevent lids and smaller items from falling through the racks.



4. Clean the dishwasher trap to remove buildup.


Under the lower sprayer, you’ll find a piece that’s removable. In it, you may see bits of food and other buildup (you’d be surprised what doesn’t go completely down the drain!). Rinse the tray in the sink, or use a towel to remove the gunk.


5. Scrub the gunk out of small crevices with a toothbrush.



6. Deep clean the dishwasher by placing a measuring cup filled with 2 cups of vinegar in the top rack.


Just as vinegar can clean and descale a coffeemaker, it can also remove grime from your dishwasher when you run a normal cycle with two cups of vinegar. Don’t use detergent or heat dry when you do this.


7. Make homemade dishwasher tabs.


Borax, baking soda, salt, and a few other ingredients you probably already have in your pantry are all you need to create your own dishwasher tablets.

Get directions here.


Related: 15 Weird (but Brilliant!) Ways to Make Your Home Smell Good


8. Pretreat crusty casserole dishes with dishwashing soap before placing in the washer.




9. Organize silverware by type before loading.


 Unloading will be so much easier this way.

Tip: Don’t let your spoons spoon. Placing some utensil handles up and some down will ensure even cleaning.


10. Keep the shape of a baseball cap by washing it in the top rack.

Use a normal wash cycle and cold water. Make sure to turn off the heat dry setting and remove the cap after the rinse cycle. Allow to air dry.

Note: Don't wash in the dishwasher hats that are fraying, have a cardboard brim, or are made of wool.


11. Run hot water in your sink before starting the washer.


When you run hot water in the sink before starting a cycle, you’re ensuring dishes will be hit with hot water first instead of cold. This is especially important during the wintertime.


12. Clean and disinfect toys, brushes, and flip flops.



13. Sanitize sponges and scrubbers by placing them in the top rack.


The hot water and detergent in a normal wash cycle will kill germs.


14. Unload the bottom rack first.


This ensures any pooled water in the top rack doesn’t spill onto the dried dishes below. 


UP NEXT: 16 Best Laundry Hacks of All Time



14 Unexpected Dishwasher Hacks to Clean Everything