How To Clean GE Dishwasher: Complete Step-By-Step Guide

Keeping your GE dishwasher clean and well-maintained is essential to keep bad smells under control and stop the drain system from getting clogged up and blocked with food waste. But many owners of GE Dishwashers are confused about how they should clean their washers and how often they should do it.

Throughout this article, we will explain all about GE dishwasher cleaning and maintenance, why it’s important, and give you an easy-to-follow step-by-step guide on how to do it. Keep in mind that regular cleaning will help maintain your dishwasher in tip-top shape and save you money on expensive repairs.

Why Does A GE Dishwasher Need To Be Cleaned?

Many people see their GE Dishwasher as a self-cleaning device. After all, it does have cleaning products and hot water running through it almost daily.

But over time, the dishwasher detergent and soap deposits will build up and turn moldy; mildew will form inside due to water residue left in the machine, and the filters will become clogged with old food particulate that will go bad and smell.

Needless to say, keeping your dishwasher nice and clean is pretty important. So let’s first examine all the main reasons why you should keep your dishwasher well maintained.

1. Eliminate Bacteria Growth

No matter how hard you try, even if you use your dishwasher daily with the hottest water setting available, mold, mildew, and bacteria will eventually accumulate inside the dishwasher. These bacteria are incredibly stubborn and can cling to the dishwasher’s inside, resisting the hot water and many common cleaning products.

As this bacteria continues to build, it may eventually hamper the dishwasher’s ability to function and even spread onto the cups and dishes you’re trying to clean! So you have to manually wash the inside of the appliance every once in a while to control the bacteria and stubborn dirt buildups.

2. Eliminate Bad Smells and Odors

The bacteria that builds up inside the dishwasher may not be easy to spot or visible to the naked eye. However, it will still produce a foul odor which is usually your first sign that high bacteria levels may be present.

Not only that, but there is a filter located at the bottom of the dishwasher designed to catch bits of food particles and debris so they don’t clog up the drainage system. If this is left uncleaned, that food will eventually turn rotten and produce a terrible smell.

Not ideal when you’re looking to have your dishes sparkling clean and fit to eat from. So wiping down the internal surfaces and keeping that filter clean is essential to keeping your dishwasher hygienic and smelling nice.

3. Prevent Clogs and Blockages

Dishwashers are at a high risk of becoming blocked or clogged because they often have to wash items with many food particles on them. While there is a filter to catch them, once it’s completely full, much of that food will get in the drainage system and start clogging it up.

So emptying the filter often is essential to preventing more troublesome blockages down the road.

4. Increasing the Dishwasher’s Lifespan

If the dishwasher isn’t cleaned for a long time, it can cause many parts and components to age quicker. This can be things such as the drain pump and impeller struggling to turn with all the food debris clogging it up or the door gasket getting dirty and not sealing properly, which might cause leaks.

5. Improving Cleaning Performance

When there is dirt and bacteria festering inside your dishwasher, it will often just get spread back over the dishes during the cleaning cycle. Leaving you with dishes that haven’t been thoroughly cleaned.

By removing as many sources of dirt as you can, you can ensure your GE dishwasher can operate at maximum efficiency and produce the cleanest dishes possible.

6. Saving You Money

There’s no denying that a well-maintained dishwasher helps extend component lifespan,  requiring fewer repairs and component replacements over a long period of time.

So with just a few minutes of easy up-front cleaning today, you could save yourself a much bigger (and more costly) job in the future.

How To Clean A GE Dishwasher?

Now that you have a more comprehensive understanding of the importance and benefits of keeping your dishwasher clean, it’s now time to get in and actually clean. Don’t worry; it’s pretty easy and doesn’t require any specialized skills or tools; just 10 minutes of your time and a bit of elbow grease is all that’s needed.

1. Prepare the Dishwasher

Before taking any steps, we have to prep the dishwasher to make the actual cleaning process as easy as possible. So start by removing any utensils or dishes from the dishwasher racks and ensure the whole machine is empty so you can have unimpeded access to everything inside the dishwasher.

2. Clean Out The Dishwasher Filter

First, you have to clean out the dishwasher filter. This filter is designed to be emptied and cleaned every few weeks and is the dishwasher’s most frequently cleaned component.

  1. Start by turning the dishwasher off. Unplug the cable cord from the wall outlet or turn it off at the circuit breaker.
  2. The filter is most commonly located at the bottom of the dishwasher near the spray arm. You may need to remove the bottom tray to gain access to it. 
  3. Refer to your user’s manual, as some models may have a cylindrical filter that you will need to twist and pull to remove, while others have a flat filter that can be slid out by pulling on it.
  4. Remove the filter and take it over to the sink.
  5. Depending on how badly clogged up it is, sometimes you can just rinse it under hot running water to remove most of the debris. But if anything is really stuck on, you can use dish soap and a soft-bristled brush (an old toothbrush work great) to remove any stubborn food and grease buildup.
  6. If this still doesn’t work, you can also soak it in a bowl of hot water with soap for 10-15 minutes which will further help break down the food residue.
  7. Once it’s all clean, set it aside to dry before re-installing.
  8. Re-install the filter by reversing the process you used to remove it.
  9. Now you can plug the dishwasher back in and run a quick test cycle to check that it’s working correctly.

3. Clean the Spray Arms

Next, clean out the spray arms; these are important to keep clean as the small nozzles tend to get blocked over time, severely hampering the dishwasher’s ability to clean well.

From the bottom of the dishwasher, remove the spray arms by twisting them counterclockwise; they should just pop out. Older models may need to be unscrewed using a screwdriver. Rinse the spray arms under hot water, which is often enough to remove regular dirt.

If they are particularly clogged up, use a toothpick or paperclip to poke through the holes and manually unblock them. If this still doesn’t work, you can also place them in a bowl of hot soapy water for 10-15 minutes to help break down the blockage.

Once they are clean, re-install them into the dishwasher and run a cleaning cycle to help flush through any debris you dislodged that’s still stuck in the arms. Ideally, you should clean the spray arms by rinsing them every few weeks, if possible, to prevent future buildups.

4. Clean The Interior

Now it’s time to wipe down the interior of the dishwasher. Using a mild detergent or a specialized dishwasher cleaner, spray down the inside of the dishwasher as well as the back side of the door.

Wipe them down thoroughly using a clean cloth, and make sure to wipe the control panel and door gasket too.

5. Clean The Exterior

While not vital to the overall functionality of the dishwasher, now would be a great time to clean the dishwasher’s exterior too. Using a sponge or damp cloth with any all-purpose cleaner, wipe down every external surface, paying particular attention to the screen/control panel as this is a common area to accumulate fingerprints.

6. Run A Cleaning Cycle

No matter how well you think you’ve manually wiped away all of the cleaning product, there will inevitably be some residue left inside the dishwasher that you don’t want getting on your dishes. So before loading it up with dirty dishes, you should run an empty cleaning cycle to flush through all the debris you dislodged from the spray arms and remove any residual detergent.

Add a dishwasher cleaner to the detergent dispenser; choose any brand you like, although we recommend one with good deodorizing properties. Particularly if this is the first time you’ve cleaned the dishwasher in a while.

Depending on your exact GE dishwasher model, there may be a dedicated self-cleaning cycle you can select. Otherwise, just select a regular cleaning cycle with the longest duration and hottest water setting available.

Start the cycle and let it finish; you may wish to wipe down the interior once more after it’s finished. Your dishwasher is now ready to use!

7. Continued Maintenance

To stop blockages, mold, and dirt from accumulating in the future, we recommend performing this cleaning routine roughly once a month. But if you use the dishwasher often, you should empty and clean the filter out more frequently, ideally every two weeks or so.

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