How to Clean Whirlpool Dishwasher: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Clean Whirlpool Dishwasher
How to Clean Whirlpool Dishwasher

Cleaning your Whirlpool dishwasher is essential to maintain its efficiency and hygiene. Food bits, grease, and minerals can build up as time passes, making your dishwasher smell bad and not work well. In this guide, you will learn how to clean a Whirlpool Dishwasher. Say goodbye to filthy dishes and hello to spotlessly clean results.

Table of Contents

Understanding Whirlpool Dishwasher

Whirlpool dishwashers are known for their quality and innovation. They offer versatile wash cycles, including Sensor Wash, for tailored cleaning. Many whirlpool dishwasher models have a third rack for extra space. Soil sensors adjust settings for efficient cleaning. They operate quietly, with customizable loading options. Stainless steel interiors enhance durability and drying. Some feature Auto Clean tech for maintenance. They’re water-efficient for cost savings. Regular maintenance includes filter cleaning, smelly dishwasher spray arm checks, and door inspection. For significant issues, consult a certified technician. Whirlpool dishwashers simplify dishwashing while delivering top performance.

How Whirlpool Dishwasher works

A Whirlpool dishwasher simplifies cleaning your dishes by combining technology and efficient design. Here is a thorough description of how it operates:


The process begins with you loading dirty dishes into the dishwasher. Whirlpool makes dishwashers with moveable racks and shelves. You can fit all kinds of dishes in them, and it uses space well.

Detergent Dispensing:

Once loaded, you add detergent to the appropriate compartment. Some models also have a prewash or rinse aid compartment. You can choose between liquid, powder, or tablet detergents, depending on your preference.

Selection of Wash Cycle:

Next, you select the wash cycle based on your cleaning needs. Whirlpool dishwashers offer a range of cycles, such as Normal, Heavy Duty, Quick Wash, and more. Some models also feature a Sensor Wash option that automatically adjusts settings based on the level of soil detected on the dishes.

Water Inlet:

When you start the dishwasher, it begins by filling the tub with water. The water is heated to the desired temperature for the selected wash cycle. Hot water aids in dissolving detergent and effectively cleaning dishes.

Detergent Release:

The compartment opens at the appropriate time during the cycle, releasing the detergent into the dishwasher. This ensures that the detergent is dispersed evenly throughout the wash.

Spray Arm Activation:

Whirlpool dishwashers have spray arms at the tub’s bottom, middle, and top. Hot water and detergent are sprayed onto the plates by these rotating arms. The water pressure and spray pattern vary to cover all surfaces, effectively removing food particles and stains.

Soil Sensing and Adaptation:

Dishwashers with soil sensors continuously monitor the soil level on the dishes. If the dishwasher finds a lot of dirt, the wash might take longer, or use hotter water to clean better.

Rinse and Drain:

After the wash cycle, the dishwasher drains the filthy water from the tub. It then goes through a rinse cycle, using clean water to remove any remaining detergent and debris from the dishes.


Whirlpool dishwashers often use a combination of residual heat and a venting system to ensure your dishes come out dry. The stainless steel tub retains heat, helping to evaporate any remaining moisture. Some models may also have a fan or heating element to aid in drying.

Cycle Completion:

Once the drying cycle is finished, the dishwasher signals that the cleaning cycle is complete. You can then unload your clean, dry dishes.

Whirlpool dishwashers work great. They clean the dishes well, save water and energy, and have neat features like soil sensors and various wash cycles. You can load dishes the way you like. Whether you have many dishes or just a few, Whirlpool dishwashers clean them quickly and without problems.

Why Cleaning Your Whirlpool Dishwasher Is Important

Before we dive into the cleaning process, let’s understand why it’s crucial to keep your dishwasher clean:

1. Prevents Foul Odors

A dirty dishwasher can develop foul odors from food residue and stagnant water. Regular cleaning eliminates these unpleasant smells.

2. Ensures Hygienic Cleaning

A clean dishwasher ensures that your dishes are adequately sanitized, preventing the spread of germs and bacteria.

3. Maintains Efficiency

Clean the spray arms and filters are essential for efficient cleaning. A well-maintained dishwasher saves energy and water.

4. Extends Lifespan

Regular maintenance can extend the lifespan of your Whirlpool dishwasher, saving you money in the long run.

Gather Your Supplies Before the process of cleaning a dishwasher.

Before you start cleaning the Whirlpool dishwasher, make sure you collect all the things you need. Everything will be close at hand, speeding up and improving the process. Here’s what you’ll need:

Soft-bristle brush:

This will help you reach and clean those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies inside your dishwasher.


Cleaning your whirlpool dishwasher with vinegar to clean well and remove mineral buildup while making your dishwasher smell fresh.

Baking soda:

Baking soda removes stubborn stains and odors from your dishwasher.

Mild dish soap:

You’ll need gentle dish soap to clean the exterior of your dishwasher.

Clean, dry cloth:

This is essential for wiping down various parts of the dishwasher.

Screwdriver (if necessary):

Depending on your dishwasher model, you may need a screwdriver to access specific components.

Now that you have everything, you can begin cleaning your Whirlpool dishwasher to keep it working well.

Step-by-Step Cleaning Process To Clean A Whirlpool Dishwasher

Follow these steps to clean your Whirlpool dishwasher thoroughly:

Step 1: Safety First

Before starting any maintenance, ensure the dishwasher is unplugged, or the power is turned off at the circuit breaker.

Step 2: Remove the Dish Racks

Take out the upper and lower filter dish racks from the dishwasher. Inspect them for any food debris or foreign objects and remove them.

Step 3: Clean the Filters

The filters are located at the dishwasher’s base. To clean your dishwasher filter, please remove the both lower and upper filters and rinse it under running water. Use a soft-bristle brush to scrub away stubborn residue and clean your filter.

Step 4: Inspect the Spray Arms

Check the spray arms for clogs. Use a toothpick or thin wire to clear any blockages in the spray holes.

Step 5: Wipe Down the Interior

Dampen a microfiber cloth with distilled white vinegar and wipe down the dishwasher interior, including the door gasket and edges. This will aid in getting rid of any mold or mildew.

Step 6: Run your dishwasher Cleaning Cycle

Put a dishwasher-safe jar filled with white vinegar on the top rack. Activate the hot water cycle without any detergent. This will help remove mineral deposits and disinfect the dishwasher.

Step 7: Baking Soda Freshness

Sprinkle a cup of baking soda on the dishwasher’s floor and run a short cycle with hot water. This will deodorize the dishwasher and leave it smelling fresh.

Step 8: Reassemble and Test

Put the filters, spray arms, and dish racks back in their respective places. Open the circuit breaker or plug in the dishwasher. To make sure everything is operating as it should, perform a test cycle.

Advanced Tips for Whirlpool Dishwasher Maintenance

1. Inspect and Clean the Drain Pump

The drain pump is super important to clean a dishwasher filter. It gets rid of water from the bottom of the  dishwasher after each wash. But sometimes, food bits, glass pieces, or other things can block it. To ensure it works well, follow your owner’s manual to find the drain pump, remove any stuff in there, and clean it. This stops clogs and helps your dishwasher properly drain.

2. Deep Clean the Interior Seals and Edges

While wiping down the interior is essential, pay attention to the seals and edges. Over time, these dishwasher can accumulate grime and soap scum, affecting the dishwasher’s sealing ability. Use a soft or old, soft-bristle toothbrush to clean these hard-to-reach spots thoroughly. Ensure the door gasket and any seals around the detergent dispenser are clean and residue-free.

3. Regularly Inspect and Replace Filters

In addition to cleaning the dishwasher filter, periodically check its condition. Filters can wear out over time and become less effective at trapping debris from the dishwasher. If you notice any damage or excessive wear, it’s time to replace the filter. Using a worn-out filter can lead to poor cleaning results and may even damage your dishwasher’s pump.

4. Opt for Dishwasher Cleaner Tablets

You can use special tablets or solutions made for dishwashers to remove buildup and smells. They work on hard-to-reach places like the spray arms and pipes. Just follow the instructions from the manufacturer to get the best results.

5. Adjust Spray Arm Positions

Sometimes, the positioning of the spray arms can affect cleaning performance. Ensure the spray arms can move freely and aren’t obstructed by dishes or utensils. Additionally, some dishwashers allow you to adjust the angle of the spray arms. Experiment with different positions to optimize water distribution for better cleaning.

6. Inspect and Clean the Heating Element

Your dishwasher’s heating element dries your dishes. But water minerals can make it less efficient. Sometimes, check the heating element and use a safe descaling solution to remove the buildup.

7. Regularly Check for Leaks

Prevention is vital when it comes to leaks. Regularly inspect the areas around and beneath your appliance for any signs of water. Address any leaks promptly, as water damage can be costly and harmful to your kitchen. Check hose connections, the door gasket, and the dishwasher tub for potential leaks.

8. Monitor for Error Codes

Modern dishwashers often come equipped with diagnostic systems that display error codes. Familiarize yourself with these codes by referring to your owner’s manual. When your dishwasher shows an error code, it can help you determine what’s wrong. This information is useful when you need to ask a professional for help.

Using these advanced maintenance tips when taking care of your dishwasher will work better and last longer. When your Whirlpool dishwasher is well taken care of, it will keep giving you clean dishes and work without any problems for many years.

Energy-Efficiency and Eco-Friendly Tips

If you’re environmentally conscious or looking to save on energy bills, consider these eco-friendly suggestions:

1. Run Full Loads

Dishwashers are most efficient when running full loads. Before starting your dishwasher cycle, wait until you have enough dishes to fill the machine.

2. Use the Energy-Saving Cycle

Most modern dishwashers come equipped with an energy-saving or eco-friendly cycle. This cycle uses less water and energy, making it a greener choice for everyday use.

3. Air Dry Instead of Heat Dry

If your dishwasher has an air-dry option, use it instead of the heat-dry setting. This saves energy and reduces your dishwasher’s overall environmental impact.

Keeping Your Dishwasher Fresh Between Cleanings

To maintain a fresh-smelling dishwasher between cleanings, follow these simple steps:

  • Leave the dishwasher door slightly ajar after each use to allow air circulation and prevent odors.
  • Use rinse aid regularly to minimize water spots and improve drying performance.
  • Once a month, wipe down the dishwasher’s exterior with a damp cloth to remove fingerprints and grime.

Using these advanced tips and eco-friendly ways, you can make your Whirlpool dishwasher last longer and help the environment.

A clean and well-kept Whirlpool dishwasher is excellent for your kitchen. It makes daily chores easier. If you follow the steps in this guide, your dishwasher will last longer, and your dishes will always be clean and shiny.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Sometimes, even after thoroughly cleaning the Whirlpool dishwasher filter, you might encounter issues with your Whirlpool dishwasher. Here are a few typical issues and their fixes:

1. Dishes Not Coming Out Clean

If you notice your dishes are still dirty after a cycle, it could be due to several reasons:

Improper Loading:

Make sure you’re loading the dishwasher correctly. Overloading or stacking dishes can obstruct water flow.

Clogged Spray Arms:

Recheck the spray arms for clogs. A clogged dishwasher spray arm can’t distribute water effectively.

Hard Water Deposits:

If you have hard water, it can leave mineral deposits on your dishes. Consider using a rinse aid designed to combat hard water stains.

2. Dishwasher Leaking

Your kitchen may sustain water damage as a result of a leaking dishwasher. If you notice this issue, take the following steps:

Inspect the Door Gasket:

Ensure the dishwasher door gasket is clean and properly sealed. Replace it if damaged.

Check for Loose Connections:

Ensure all hoses and connections are securely fastened.

Inspect the Dishwasher Tub:

Look for cracks or damage to the tub. If you find any, it’s time to call a technician.

3. Unusual Noises

Strange noises coming from your dishwasher can be disconcerting. Here’s what you can do:

Inspect the Spray Arms:

Loose or damaged spray arms can cause unusual noises. Tighten or replace them as necessary.

Remove Foreign Objects:

Occasionally, small objects like utensils or broken glass can get lodged inside the dishwasher pump or spray arm. Ensure no foreign objects are obstructing the parts.

Check the Drain Impeller:

If the noise is grinding, it could indicate an issue with the drain impeller. Consult your owner’s manual or a technician for guidance.

Replacement Parts and Professional Help

If your Whirlpool dishwasher isn’t working well after cleaning and maintenance, you can get help. You might need new parts or professional assistance. Whirlpool has parts you can buy, and their customer support can help you find the right ones for your dishwasher.

For complex problems or ones with electricity, it’s wise to ask a technician. Fixing them without knowing can be unsafe and might cancel your warranty.


Regularly cleaning your Whirlpool dishwasher is essential for maintaining its performance and hygiene. Following the steps outlined in this guide ensures your dishwasher continues delivering spotless, sanitary dishes for years.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How often should I clean my Whirlpool dishwasher?

It’s recommended to clean your dishwasher every 1-2 months, depending on usage. If you notice odors or reduced performance, clean it sooner.

2. Can I clean my dishwasher with bleach?

No, it’s not recommended. Bleach can damage the rubber seals and stainless steel components. Stick to vinegar and baking soda for safe cleaning.

3. Why is water left at the bottom of your dishwasher after a cycle?

This can be due to a clogged drain or a malfunctioning pump. Refer to your owner’s manual or contact a technician for assistance.

4. What should I do if my dishwasher still smells after cleaning?

Try running a second cycle with vinegar and baking soda, and ensure you’re regularly cleaning the filters and spray arms.

5. How can I remove stubborn stains from my dishwasher’s interior?

For difficult stains, combine baking soda and water to make a paste. It should be applied to the stains, left to sit for a little while, and then scrubbed with a gentle brush.

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