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Will Vinegar Hurt My Stainless Steel Dishwasher?

Vinegar is touted as a great household cleaner, but will it destroy stainless steel dishwashers?

Whether you use your kitchen to prepare elaborate holiday feasts or just the daily meals, you will need to clean your dishwasher eventually. Even appliances built to clean things need cleaning, too. One of the most popular natural household cleaning chemicals is vinegar, particularly white vinegar and apple cider vinegar. The question is, will vinegar hurt your stainless steel dishwasher?

Will Vinegar Hurt Your Stainless Steel Dishwasher?

Stainless steel resists corrosion, and vinegar is mild enough to break down dirt and grease without causing great harm, but damage is possible. Vinegar’s acidity can corrode metal, especially if it mixes with salt. Vinegar can also dry out rubber, causing your dishwasher’s rubber gaskets to shrivel, crack, and leak. You can’t guarantee that your dirty dishwasher won’t contain salt or that it will not touch the rubber gaskets. Therefore, it is best to avoid putting vinegar into the dishwasher detergent compartment and letting it spray all over your dishwasher’s interior.

How to Clean Your Dishwasher with Vinegar

You can still use vinegar as an effective chemical to clean your kitchen appliances without fearing that you will corrode them. 

For the dishwasher’s stainless steel surface, you can spray undiluted white or apple cider vinegar on it and wipe away any stains or dirt. Next, wipe the door down with a cloth dampened with water to remove the vinegar residue.

For the dishwasher’s interior, place a bowl of white vinegar at the center of the top rack. You can mix in baking soda, lemon juice, or both if you wish. Run the empty dishwasher on a hot water cycle. The vinegar’s airborne particles will work its magic without hurting any metal pieces in your dishwasher.

Extra Tips to Clean Your Dishwasher

  • Run the garbage disposal to clear out any trapped gunk in the drain. The dishwasher and sink share the same drain.
  • Locate, remove, and clean out the dishwasher’s drain filter, which catches debris. It might not be the most pleasant task, but it is worth it!
  • Wipe down your dishwasher by hand with a commercial or homemade cleaner. 

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