Dishwashers may need periodic cleaning aside from the normal maintenance mentioned in the owner’s manual. You can say it is time to clean your dishwasher if it starts losing its effectiveness, develops mold, or gets calcium-like deposits from hard water. You should also clean your dishwasher if it gives your dishes a foul odor or a sticky essence after a normal cycle.
When your dishwasher is not cleaning by itself as it should, it may need a vinegar treatment, a baking soda treatment, or a combination of the two. For that, fill a cup of vinegar, a cup of baking soda, or a cup of each in the top rack of the dishwasher. Then run the machine on a normal cycle without any dishes in it. This will be enough to clean your dishwasher thoroughly and restore its original efficiency.
If you see calcium-like stains inside the dishwasher due to the use of hard water, use a powdered lemonade mix or orange Tang to clean it. Fill a cup of the mix on the top rack of the dishwasher and run it empty on a normal cycle. The citric acid in the lemonade mix or orange Tang will scrub off the hard water stains from the dishwasher.
If you are getting foul odors on your dishes after a wash, then add 2 cups of vinegar with your regular detergent on the bottom rack and run it without any dishes on a normal cycle. This will remove the bad odor-causing elements from the dishwasher.
Pro Tip: Do not use cleaners that have chlorine content to clean stainless steel dishwasher covers.