Add Life to Dishwasher with a Few Simple Steps

6 Tips for Cleaning and Maintaining Your Dishwasher

Most people don’t think about cleaning their dishwashers. After all, the appliance is used to clean your dishes on a daily basis. It is easy to assume that your dishwasher will get cleaned at the same time as it is washing your dishes, but the reality is that food debris and other deposits can build up over many uses. That buildup can result in a poor performing dishwasher

Read on for some easy-to-follow tips that will keep your dishwasher looking and performing at its best.

  1. Wash Regularly

One of the best ways to ensure that your dishwasher is free from excess buildup is by running it regularly. Using your dishwasher frequently will keep debris from settling in the bottom of the appliance.

  1. Inspect and Clean the Spinning Arms

Dishwashers work by spraying water out of their spinning arms onto the dishes inside. When those arms aren’t spinning properly or the holes in them are full of buildup, your dishes won’t be getting thoroughly cleaned. When dishwasher is empty, check to make sure that the arms spin correctly and clean out any debris that has accumulated inside the holes with a small piece of wire, a toothpick, or small pliers.

  1. Clean the Edges and Exterior

Many times offending smells that you may find coming from your dishwasher may actually be coming from outside areas around the appliance. The edges around the door do not get washed during a regular cycle and can end up with spills, pieces of food debris and mildew.

A bit of regular household cleaner and a damp cloth should be enough to wipe this up.

Other areas that can benefit from a wipe down:   Under the door, on the inside,  flatware basket, the gasket, the detergent dispenser.

  1. Clear the Area Near the Drain

At the very bottom of your dishwasher is the drain and this area can be a common place where food debris, buildup, and other matter can end up.

Leaving these obstacles near the drain can result in a clog and a dishwasher that isn’t doing its job properly.

With it empty, you can start cleaning this area by collecting the biggest pieces by hand, but you may have to disassemble the drain to get to some of the smaller pieces.

You can do that by following these steps:

Unplug the dishwasher.

Take out the screws and remove the cover.

Protect the opening to keep debris out.

Clean out larger pieces by hand.

Clean out smaller deposits with a brush or cloth.

Reassemble in the reverse order.

  1. Use an Acid to Remove Buildup

Getting rid of the water deposits and buildup in your dishwasher is an important step because it can result in dishes that are sparkly and not dingy after a cycle. Use White vinegar and run the dishwasher through a short cycle to get rid of excess scale:

  1. Get Rid of Mildew

One last cycle using a  little bleach in the dishwasher can be helpful if you are dealing with a mold or mildew problem. Unless you have a stainless steel door or interior, bleach can be the finishing touch for a spotless dishwasher that will provide you with completely sanitized dishes every time you run the appliance.

How to Clean Mineral Deposits from Coffee Pot


  • Brew a full pot of half vinegar and half water, using a clean coffee filter.
  • Turn off the coffee maker about half way through the brewing cycle and let the solution sit for about an hour.
  • Turn the coffeemaker back on to brew the rest of the vinegar solution.
  • Replace the coffee filter and then rinse by running two cycles of clean water through the brewing cycle.

How to Clean Baseball Caps

Caps are bound to get sweaty and dirty, but if you put it in the washing machine, they’re sure to end up in a misshaped mess.

To clean the dirt and sweaty stains off without damaging the rim, you need a sturdy plastic food container with a lid.


  • Dry or liquid laundry detergent
  • Hand held cleaning brush
  • Large plastic food container (to fit hat)
  • Balloon/Ball size of inside cap
  • Warm water


1. Place the dirty hat in the plastic container with a spoonful of dry detergent and enough warm water to cover the hat about half way.

2. Place the lid on the container, making sure the seal is tight, and shake it vigorously.

cap inside the tupperware with a shaker ball

3. Open the lid.  Scrub the brush over the heavier soiled spots.  Remove the water.  Repeat the process until water shakes out clean.

4. Remove hat, and place it on the balloon or ball to match a head size.

drying the hat on a balloon to maintain the shape

How to Clean Your Canvas Shoes

Your favorite canvas shoes got dirty this summer.  Here is the best way to clean them!

canvas shoes

Whether you’re running at the park, running after your kids, simply running errands, your canvas shoes are bound to get dirty! Although many people suggest throwing them in the washing machine, this can lead to discoloration and can destroy the glue that holds the shoes together. We suggest cleaning them by hand to insure your shoes stay durable.

Follow these steps to keep your shoes nice and clean.

  1. Fill a basin with warm water and add 1-2 tablespoons of detergent And 1-2 teaspoons of bleach (if shoes are white). Mix this up until the water becomes sudsy.
  2. Remove and set aside the shoelaces and insoles from the shoes. Then place the canvas shoes in the warm sudsy water.
  3. Mix a bowl of warm water, a tablespoon of detergent and a teaspoon of bleach I(if they are white) to clean the shoelaces and insoles  and allow to soak for 15 minutes.
  4. After 5-10 minutes, remove shoes from basin.  Now it’s time to grab a soft-bristle tooth brush and begin scrubbing!

scrubbing shoes

    5. Dip the brush in the warm water/detergent mixture, scrub in a circular motion, specifically any                  stains or dirt spots.  Rinse the shoes in cold water & repeat this process until shoes are spotless!

6.    Final step, drain the excess water from the shoes, shoe laces & insoles. Use the brush to scrub the               shoelaces.  Set them all out separately to dry. Place crumpled up newspaper or paper-towels inside           the shoes to absorb moisture.

Your once dirty canvas shoes will look brand new and be ready to wear!

How to Avoid Bath and Beach Towels from Getting Musty

No one wants to dry themselves off with a musty smelling towel!

towels hanging

The last thing you want is to have a guest experience a nice shower in your  home and then get a nose full of a smelly towel!

Use the following tips to clean musty towels & prevent mildew from forming.

  1. Make Certain Towels are hung up properly to dry.

The number one cause of mildew and mustiness in towels is improper drying! Damp bath or beach towels often get left on floors. Promptly hang towels up in a ventilated area. Space on towel bars and hooks is often an issue so fold them vertically once. Folding the towels more than once keeps them damp on the inside longer giving the opportunity of mildew to form.

washing towels

  1. Cleaning Towels that Have Mildew Smell

Add 1-2 cups of vinegar to a hot water cycle without any detergent. This usually does the trick. But if your towels still have a slight odor, you can do another hot water cycle with a 1/2 cup of baking soda. Be sure not to use detergent when you do these cycles with vinegar and/or baking soda – it can be dangerous to the washing machine!

How to Clean Outdoor Patio and Lawn Furniture

Grain-Free Summer BBQ with Danielle Walker for Williams Sonoma & Visa. Photographed by Jennifer Skog. Styled by PJ Rude with Texture

It’s summertime and with that comes casual get-togethers with friends and family. It helps to keep your patio furniture clean so you can use it for yourself to read the paper or for that last minute neighborhood party at your house. To save you time, I’ve put together a list of the best methods for cleaning all the various types of outdoor furnishing materials.

Iron and Metal Furniture

iron metal furniture

1. Mix warm water with a splash of dishwasher detergent. Use a scrub brush with this mixture on the furniture.
2. Rinse the furniture and let it dry completely.
Clearing up Rust Spots
1. Use sandpaper or a wire brush, rub away any rusted spots. Then wipe away the metal residue.
2. Using a primer made for metal (Rust-Oleum), spray the spots that were rusted and let them dry (make sure to follow instructions on the can and wear a respirator).
3. Lastly, spray the desired paint color specific for Iron/Metal furniture.

Plastic Furniture

plastic furniture 1. Get a bucket of very warm water. Get a sponge wet and squeeze out excess water.
2. Add a few pinches of baking soda on the damp sponge. This will make it into a mild abrasive to help clean.
3. Scrub your plastic furniture with the sponge and a soft brush. Rinse the furniture by spraying it with a garden hose.

Wicker or Wood Furniture

wood furniture 1. Make a mixture of two tablespoons white vinegar and ¼ cup of ammonia and mix this into one quart of warm water.
2. With a clean sponge and/or soft brush, wipe the furniture with the water mixture.
3. Rinse the furniture with a garden hose and allow to dry in the sun.

Organize Your Garage

As with all organizational projects, the first step is to de-clutter.  Garages often tend to be dumping grounds more than other areas of the house.

Here are 6 categories that you may find helpful in organizing: Keep , Keep-but belongs in another part of house, Donate, Sell, Trash/Recycle. Try to make a decision with each item as you come to it. For larger items, a charity may come get it, or you may have to call a service company  to haul it away. As you’re going through this process, think about how you want to use your garage – parking, work area, lawn and tool  storage, etc.

If you want to park your car in the garage, pull it in and mark off the space before you start adding things back in.

Now it’s time to organize the items you’ve decided to keep. Categorize the items by putting like items together i.e. lawn equipment, tools, etc. Then determine where in the garage you will want it kept.

Decide what type of storage products you may need to purchase. Wall storage is good utilization of space for a garage. There are a lot of good items on the market. There are all kinds of shelves, peg boards, hooks, drawers, etc.

After you have everything set up, label where things go so that everyone in your family knows where to find things. It also helps thing get put back in the right place.


Organize Your Kitchen

The kitchen is an area that gets used more than any other area of your home. Having it well organized and simple to use will make your life much easier.

Follow these 9 tips:

  1. Empty cabinets. Discard things that you don’t use, are broken or you have duplicates.
  2. Group like items. Sort your baking items and pile them together. Sort your cooking items and pile them together. Group your everyday dishes from your glassware, and  seasonal items and entertaining pieces that you only use a few times a year. Do the same thing with the food in your pantry.
  3. Organize your cabinets.  Cooking and baking pieces should be kept close to where you do food preparation. Utensils should be in the drawer nearest the prep area as well. Glassware might be best near the sink or refrigerator. Put items you rarely use on the high shelves or store.
  4. Use Clear Containers to Store Items.  Group together things like packets of sauce mixes, gravy mixes, hot cocoa envelopes, etc. and put them into small plastic containers to avoid them being scattered all over the cabinet. Use larger containers for tiny boxes of pudding, etc. See through containers are good in the pantry too, so everyone can see what’s in there.
  5. Store containers and lids together. Store plastic containers either with the lids on them, or store the lids in another larger container so they all stay together. For pots and pans, a large clear plastic box will keep the lids nicely together and on their sides. Another option is to store them on their sides on a wire or wooden rack.
  6. Use Lazy Susans. These are great for holding oils, vinegars, spices, vitamins or medications.
  7. Use Drawer Dividers. Drawer dividers are great for cooking utensil, cutlery and junk drawers.
  8. Declutter Counters. Mount calendars, to-do lists, and a vertical rack to hold papers on the wall. Another alternative is a magnetic sorter box to hang on the side of the fridg.
  9. Clean out the Refrigerator. Try to make a habit of cleaning out the refrigerator the night before the trash comes.

Your personal work style will determine how best to store your items. The goal is to get that room and it’s contents to most efficiently serve your needs.


Window Cleaning

It’s spring and that means time to clean the windows. We have found that the best cleaner for streak-free windows is one part white vinegar to two parts water mixed in a spray bottle.

Instructions for cleaning inside windows:

  • Spray the window thoroughly with the vinegar and water solution.
  • Using a clean, lint-free towel, dry the window completely using a Z-shaped motion. You can also use paper towels to dry the windows if you prefer.
  • If dirt or streaks remain, spray and dry again. (Dirty windows typically require two rounds of spraying and drying.)
  • Don’t forget to wash the frame as well.

Instructions for cleaning the outside windows:

  • Start by rinsing the windows with a hose.
  • Fill a bucket with cool water and add a few drops of liquid dish soap.
  • With a soft microfiber cloth, go over all the windows with the soapy solution. For the higher windows, you can use a soft cotton or microfiber mop.
  • Rinse thoroughly with hose.
  • Now spray windows with the vinegar solution.
  • Wipe the window dry using a clean, rubber-bladed squeegee. Angle the squeegee towards the bottom of the window. Dry the squeegee with a clean, lint-free cloth after each pass.
  • For the window screens, rinse with plain water and spray with vinegar solution. Then rinse again with plain water. Let them dry completely before replacing.

Now, let the sun shine in!