What Is Good for Getting Sludge Out of a Dishwasher?


Sludge in the bottom of your dishwasher can be the result of one of several issues with the appliance. Regardless, removing the sludge, which is decomposed food, is not an enviable task. If you do not remove the sludge, it can cause odor in the dishwasher and on your clean dishes.


  • Removing sludge from the bottom of your dishwasher isn't a complicated process; you can even use your bare hand. Using a cleaning rag is ideal for this process, as it will pick up the sludge and absorb some of the liquid around the sludge. Sludge can have many different consistencies, which makes a rag a useful cleaning tool. Dump the sludge out in the garbage and rinse the rag after you're done.


  • If the sludge takes on a liquid form, it can be difficult to remove with your hand or even with a rag. In this case, a sponge is the ideal tool. Press a dry sponge into the sludge and hold the sponge in place for several seconds. This will allow the sponge to absorb the majority of the liquid. Place your other hand under the sponge and quickly move it to the sink to wring it out.


  • Depending on the nature of the sludge and the length of time since you last cleaned it, the sludge can easily get caked onto the bottom of your dishwasher. When this is the case, it can be difficult to remove. Use a wet toothbrush to scrub the sludge until you can break it up enough to remove it with a rag. The toothbrush won't help you get the sludge out the appliance, but it will loosen it to make the removal process easier.

Vinegar or Bleach

  • Coated-on sludge requires significant scrubbing with a brush, which can be an arduous task, especially if the sludge is located at the rear of the dishwasher. Spray white vinegar or pour a slight amount of bleach on the sludge and let it sit for several minutes. The vinegar or bleach will work to break up the sludge and make it easier to lift with a toothbrush or rag.

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