It’s Time to Clean Your Dishwasher and Garbage Disposal

by | May 13, 2020

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Now that we’re cooking at home more often, our dishwashers and garbage disposals are working harder than ever. To keep them running smoothly and prevent expensive repairs down the road, it’s important to do a little preventive maintenance. So we’ve asked the Home Pros at Hippo Home Care to share their simple maintenance routines to keep your kitchen sparkling. Check out their best tips below.

Clean Your Dishwasher Filter

Have you ever wondered what happens to the bits of leftover food on your dishes when you run the dishwasher? Odds are, a lot of it is still there. Your dishwasher has a filter that catches the food debris, preventing it from clogging up the lines and damaging the pump—and it needs to be changed regularly.

Every dishwasher has a unique filter system with its own cleaning instructions. But if you recently purchased your dishwasher, it will probably be easier to clean than an older model. Dishwashers manufactured in the last ten years have filters that are much easier to access and clean, usually found at the bottom of the dishwasher and in the dishwasher door. A lot of older models used self-cleaning filters, which are often difficult to access and inspect because a portion of the dishwasher must be disassembled to reach it.

If you have an older model, follow your instruction manual for removing a self-cleaning filter. To find the filter cleaning instructions for a newer dishwasher, look up the manufacturer online and search for filters that fit your dishwasher model number. In either case, you will probably need a flat-edge screwdriver to remove the filter casing.

Once you’ve found your instructions, here’s what to do:

Step 1: Locate the filter(s). Open the dishwasher and find the filter or filters. There may be two: a lower filter and an upper filter. Check the door for a filter and remove the lower rack to access the bottom filter assembly, if there is one.

Step 2: Remove the filters. Find the upper-filter assembly on the bottom of the dishwasher. It’s typically about four inches wide. When the filter assembly is turned counterclockwise, you will be able to lift it from the dishwasher bottom. The lower-filter assembly is also released at the same time

Step 3: Clean the filters. Check both upper and lower filters for any food debris. Rinse the filters by hand with soapy water and inspect for damage that may require a replacement.

Step 4: Reinstall the filters. Once it’s clean, place the lower-filter assembly back into the bottom of the dishwasher, followed by the upper-filter assembly. Turn the assembly clockwise and secure it.

Clean Your Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals may look self-cleaning, but over time, they can accumulate a thick layer of dark slime on the areas that aren’t scrubbed during the grinding process. An occasional cleaning can help remove buildup and avoid unwelcome smells in your sink.

To clean your garbage disposal, first disconnect the power. Most units plug into an electrical outlet under the sink, which you can simply unplug. If you can’t find the outlet, cut off the power from the electrical panel instead. In either case, try to turn on the disposal before you start to make sure the power is off.

Next, inspect the drain with a bright flashlight to look for anything that you can remove by hand. Use long-handled food tongs or needle-nose pliers to remove any objects that have found their way into the drain. Even with the power off, you should never reach into the garbage disposal with your hand for any reason.

Now you’re ready to tackle the cleaning:

Step 1: Scrub the baffle. Using a sponge with an abrasive side, apply dish soap and scrub under the baffle (the black plastic ring around the drain) to remove all residue. Keep rinsing the sponge and adding more soap until you’ve cleaned all the folds and creases in the baffle.

Step 2: Wipe the grinding chamber. Wipe all around the top of the grinding chamber, continuing to rinse your sponge. Keep repeating the process until the sponge stops pulling up residue and the surface of the disposal feels clean.

Step 3: Clean the drainpipe. Use a diluted solution of two-thirds of a cup of warm water and one-third of a cup of bleach to clean and freshen the drainpipe. Always wear gloves when working with bleach. Pour the solution into the drain and run warm water for several seconds after.

Step 4: Freshen it up (optional). After you’ve cleaned the disposal, you can add citrus fragrance to your disposal by cutting citrus peels into small pieces and grinding them up with the disposal and some cold water. The citrus peels do not clean, but they will create a fresh, clean smell.

Keeping your dishwasher and garbage disposal in good condition is key in a busy kitchen. With a little elbow grease, you can keep your appliances clean and functioning well, adding life to your appliances and saving you money.

If you need help, schedule a complimentary call with the Home Pros at Hippo Home Care who can help you with do-it-yourself maintenance and prevention.

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