3 Ways To Prep Your Dishwasher For Thanksgiving Dinner Cleanup

mbg Senior Sustainability Editor By Emma Loewe
mbg Senior Sustainability Editor
Emma Loewe is the Senior Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of "The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care."
Woman loading a dishwasher
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Dishwashing is always kind of a drag, but washing up after an especially big meal is a whole other beast. If you have mechanical reinforcement (aka, a dishwasher), Thanksgiving is definitely the time to put it to use—and make sure it's running as quickly and efficiently as possible.

3 things to check on with your dishwasher before Thanksgiving dinner:

1. The filter

A clogged filter can slow down your machine and cause it to smell. To check on yours, slide out the bottom rack of your dishwasher and look under its lower spray arm for a circular knob. That's your filter! Unscrew, remove, and carry to the sink to scrub out any debris or food chunks with hot, soapy water.

"If it's really blocked and hasn't been cleaned in a while, you can dip an old toothbrush in hot, soapy water and use that to scrub it," Becky Rapinchuk, a cleaning expert and author of Clean Mama's Guide to a Healthy Home, previously told mbg. While you're down there, make sure that no food is blocking the dishwasher's spray arms either.

If you're having trouble finding your dishwasher's filter, it might be in another spot. Googling the model, which can usually be found on a sticker on the inside of the machine, should tell you where the filter is and give you some more tailored insights on how to clean it out.

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2. The inside

Cleaning the inside of your dishwasher every so often can also help it run quicker and smell better in the process. To do so, simply run it with nothing but a bowl of white vinegar on the bottom rack (feel free to add a few drops of essential oils to the bowl too if you have 'em). The steam and acidity from the vinegar can help loosen up any grime. When the cycle is over, take a towel or microfiber cloth and wipe down the entire interior.

This is a productive way to kill some time while the turkey is in the oven, or you can wait and do it while you're eating to ensure your dishwasher is good to go by the time dessert is done.

3. The detergent

After you've rinsed the filter and cleaned the inside of your machine, the only thing that's left to check on is the detergent. If you've noticed that your dishes always come out with a little bit of debris still left on them, the liquid, powder, or tablet you're using could be the issue. Make sure you're adding the right amount to your machine during each wash, or go with tablets for a preportioned clean.

Help your detergent do its job on Thanksgiving by wiping most of the food debris off plates first unless you have a tablet like Cascade Platinum that is designed to do the prewashing. Finally, run your washer on the hottest setting, and kick back, relax, and start thinking about what you're going to do with all those leftovers.

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