A Guide To Dissolving Congealed Dishwasher Detergent

Dishwashers are the true household saviours of our modern lives. As we are pushed for time, continually multi-tasking within our work and professional lives, the amount of effort and hours we can save via a dishwasher is priceless. While our relationship with our dishwasher is pretty one-sided, there does come a point when our automated cleaning friend needs a little bit of support from us. For all the cleaning it does, it needs a bit of cleaning itself now and then too.

As we use soap and detergent to clean the dishes, the residue from these cleaning materials can collect. As this build-up grows, the leftover detergent sticks to the sides of the dishwasher – becoming undissolved, congealed and tough to clean.

If this build-up continues to accrue residue, it can cause all sorts of blockages – particularly within the dispenser itself.

Thankfully, you’re not powerless to prevent this mass of goop from jeopardising your relationship with your dishwasher – as we’re here with a simple maintenance guide to ensure your dishwasher remains happy and healthy.


But before we get into the step-by-step guide, let’s run through some of the materials and products that’ll you need for a successful cleaning job:

  • White Vinegar
  • Baking Powder
  • Kitchen Towel
  • 1 Sponge
  • 2 Rags or Cloths
  • 1 Bowl (Dishwasher-safe)
  • 1 Old Toothbrush
  • A Pair of Rubber Gloves

Step 1

First of all, let’s start with the nitty-gritty. Put your rubber gloves on, grab a bunch of paper towels and do what you can to remove as much of the hardened detergent as possible. Don’t spend too much time here – just a few passes to see if you can reduce the size of the scum.

Step 2

Get a dishwasher-safe bowel and fill it with a cup of white vinegar. Once you’ve done that, simply stick the bowl on the top shelf or row of your dishwasher and shut the door over. Stick your machine on a hot water clean-and-rinse cycle wash. This will allow steam from the vinegar to disperse and loosen the residue’s grip on your dishwasher – making it easier to clean in our next step.

Step 3

Thought that hard work would be over with the paper towel? Guess again! Now it’s time to really get scrubbing. Take your sponge and wet it with a bit of warm water. If you want to increase the effectiveness of your sponge/scrubber, just shake on a bit of baking powder over the sponge with about as much precision as Ainsley Harriott sprinkling Suzy Salt and Percy Pepper over a sea bass. With all that done, get scrubbing! If you’re finding that some of the detergent is in a hard-to-reach spot, not to worry: this is when that old toothbrush – that you’ve been meaning to throw out – comes in handy. As with your sponge, wet the toothbrush and sprinkle a bit of baking powder on before getting to work.

Step 4

Now with all of that residue taken care of, it’s time just to give the dishwasher one last go-over. Take a damp rag or cloth and wipe all of the surfaces. Use another cloth or rag to dry the unit and then you’re done!

With just a little cleaning once every couple of months, you can keep your dishwasher happy and efficient. At Repair Aid, we have many people contacting us with dishwasher problems – and many of them can be related to detergent usage and a lack of proper maintenance/cleaning. For example, using high-quality detergent can help your dishwasher stay in great shape.

How You Can Help Your Dishwasher Dissolve Detergent

There are a few things that you can do to help your dishwasher properly digest the detergent – such as dissolving it in water first, adding the detergent before the water, or reducing how much detergent you are using. Low water temperature, as well as water quality, can also impact the ability for detergent to be broken down. Detergent tends to work better in high temperatures, and hard water requires more detergent than soft water.

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Author: Repair Aid®

Date published:

Categories: Dishwashers

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