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Why You Need To Clean Your Dishwasher To Better Clean Your Dishes

Dishwasher Cleaner Products for Here We Are with Luci
If you have a dishwasher, then you know that after a while an odor occurs that the dishes emit. The dishwasher looks clean after a full cycle, but the cups and bowls have a distinct stink! Then you waste water re-running a full load that was supposed to be clean. After a second wash, they smell is a bit better but there is something still hanging around. Next step, you rewash them by hand. What a waste of time and water! 

As with all my testing for Here We Are, before I begin experimenting with products, I asked people what they do when this happens. Most people described what you just read in the previous paragraph. Others said they run a cycle with vinegar; someone said they gave up on using the dishwasher and only use it as a drying space (What??). I tried the vinegar, and it helped, but not for long; same with baking soda, which also left a white residue on the glassware.

When I researched this household irk, I discovered that it happens because the inner tubes, filters, and pipes get a buildup of grease, rust, limescale, and grime. YUCK!! The make and model of your dishwasher has nothing to do with this occurrence, it is a basic mechanical issue... This makes sense when you think about the fact that a dishwasher is dark and moist ALL the time. ICK!!

So the stink, stank, stunk of it is that the visible inside of your dishwasher looks clean BUT the internal workings are mucked up. I also read that bacteria and germs can lurk around deep inside. GROSS!! What's a girl to do? Get yourself some dishwasher machine cleaner to keep the engine running clean and sweet smelling.

Here are the three that I found most effective, economical, and easy to find in the store or online (see ads below for your convenience). These are listed by my observation of potency, I like all three for this household maintenance task.

  1. Glisten "Dishwasher Magic" Machine Cleaner: You need to run a full cycle on the hottest setting without any dishes in it. Put the whole uncapped Glisten bottle in the silverware holder; the heat will melt the wax plug at the opening of the bottle. The bottle is recyclable. NOTE: If you have never done this process before, I recommend starting with this product as it is the most potent of this list.  
  2. Lemi Shine Dishwasher Cleaner: Again, a full wash cycle without dishes is required. Both this one and the Glisten has a "lemon" scent which I do not detect other than it smells clean after usage. This product is in powder form, and gets poured into the base of the tub. While I do not have a septic system, for those who do, Lemi Shine states that it is "septic system friendly." 
  3. Finish Dishwasher Cleaner: This product says you can clean your dishwasher while you run a full load of dishes... I didn't do it this way for purposes of this article and the fact that I don't want any residue of this strong cleaner on my coffee cup. So I used the Finish tab alone, and it did a fine job of cleaning the system. I think this one is an upkeep item though, try the other two for the first time you need to get the engine sanitized. TIP: If your machine is really bad, then definitely start with the Glisten product. (I picked this brand to test since I really like the Finish Detergent Dishwasher pouches for regular dishwashing cycles.)


Use one of these once a month (set a date to remember, like the first of each month) to maintain your machine. At first it seemed that this process was wasteful of water, but it really does the trick in getting and keeping your machine running clean. Re-running the cycle wastes water, as does hand-washing dishes. While there is a cost involved in adding the product(s) to your shopping list, keeping the inside mechanics running efficiently probably extends the life of the appliance. Win, win! 

Let me know if you like another brand, or if you have tried these. Shine on with clean, clear, and odorless glassware and dishes! ~ Luci 


If you are interested in shopping for products similar or the same that Luci uses in her videos, writes about, and/or reviews on the blog, you will find many gathered in one spot for your convenience on her Amazon products page. (While Luci is an Amazon Affiliate, and an Amazon Influencer, shopping these links won't cost you a penny more, but it helps to keep the Better, Brighter, Easier How-To's, Tips, and Info coming to you for free. Thank you!) 


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Micki F.

So glad you published this article! I never thought about what may lurk in the mechanics of my dishwasher, but this makes total sense. Cleaning my dishwasher is on my "to do" list for this weekend!

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