Clinic: Dishwasher

One of our readers – Madeline Wells – writes:

Dear Bleach and Tonic. Firstly, I love the site, it’s great to see a website about cleaning. I’m a student and my friends think I am all nuts because I prefer cleaning to partying. Recently, I moved in to a student house – I am in my second year – and joy of joys it had a dishwasher. I’ve never used one before. Recently, though, I have noticed that it’s not been cleaning quite as well as it used to



Our European Correspondent, Madame Propre, writes:

Brilliant question Ms Wells!

Whilst perusing this site, you may have noticed that the two principal editors are a little over enthusiastic when it comes to cleaning. One could even say that they are a bit weird about it. But they’re family and you have to take the rough with smooth.

Anyway, I have a confession to make. I am NOT up to their standards.

BUT dishwashers are where I come into my own and dare I say it, I shine through in comparison.

There is nothing worse than opening your dishwasher to find that stray food dust has been blown dry onto random glasses and crockery and is now so deeply incrusted that you need a blow torch and a chisel to get if off.

photo 3Ohh la la!

To avoid this grim spectacle, there are several simple but all important rules to follow


1) keep the salt and rincing liquid levels at a max. (read our review of Sainsbury’s Rinse aid here)

photo 1

“this is a big no-no”
photo 4

2) Before stacking the dishwasher, there is no need to rinse your plates (the dishwasher being the perfect labour saving device that is actually more efficient than doing it manually, it’d be shame to lose all the green credits by wasting water) however, do wipe plates down to avoid bits of food clogging up the filter.

3) At least once a week, clean the filter. If you live in a region that has lots of lime scale, I suggest using a baby bottle cleaner to scrub off all the gooey crap that has built up thanks to the disgusting water supply.


photo 12


4) And the piece de resistance (I am the European correspondent after all), pick out the stray food bits that might have accumulated in the spray arm using a toothpick.

photo 5

photo1 3

5) Wipe down the joints on the inside and detol the outside to have a guaranteed positive dishwasher experience!


Do let me know how you got on Ms Wells!

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