How to Use Clorox or Bleach in Dishwashers

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If you use your dishwasher on a regular basis, you may notice every now and then that your dishes are not as clean as they should be. Excess food particles and residues can eventually build up in your dishwasher and stick to your dishes, which may need a second washing to come clean. Next time you notice this problem, simply run some Clorox or bargain-brand powdered bleach through your dishwasher to help dissolve the food particles and make your dishes squeaky clean.

How to Use Clorox or Bleach in Dishwashers
(Heather Orlando/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Powdered bleach
  • White Vinegar
  • Cups
  • Paper towels
Step 1

Empty your dishwasher. Remove all of your dishes, utensils and drinking glasses from the dishwasher, after you have run them through their final washing and drying cycle.

Heather Orlando/Demand Media
Step 2

Remove any visible debris that has settled at the bottom of your dishwasher. Take a look at the inside of your dishwasher; you may notice a buildup of food and debris stuck to the filter on the floor of the dishwasher. Remove as much of the debris as you can using your fingers or a paper towel.

Heather Orlando/Demand Media
Step 3

Fill the dishwasher detergent receptacle with Clorox powdered bleach. Run the dishwasher as you normally would, minus the dishes. Once the dishwasher has gone through all of the cycles, it should be clean and ready for normal use.

Heather Orlando/Demand Media
Step 4

Add a cup of white vinegar. Place a cup of vinegar in the bottom rack of the dishwasher, after running the bleach through a cycle. Do not mix the two together. The bleach should be run through one complete cycle (minus the heat cycle), followed by a second complete cycle using the cup of vinegar. After the white vinegar cycle your dishwasher should be odor free, stain free and sparkling clean.

Heather Orlando/Demand Media

Tips & Warnings

  • Rinsing your dishes, thoroughly, before placing them in the dishwasher can help to keep your dishwasher free of food and debris buildup.
  • Clorox warns against using liquid bleach in automatic dishwashers as it can damage the rubber in the seal around the machine's door.
  • Powdered bleach should only be used for periodic cleaning, once a month or so, and should never be used in place of ordinary dishwasher detergent for cleaning your dishes.
  • Never mix bleach with vinegar or any other chemicals in your dishwasher, at the same time. Combining any other type of cleaning agent with bleach can create toxic fumes.

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