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Your dishwasher is disgusting—here’s what you need to do

Your washing machine and dishwasher are not as clean as you think they are. You run them often, the water and detergent swish around inside, and the plates and clothes come out cleaner than when they went in, so the machines must be clean too, right? Actually, they’re not. Every day, they come in contact with dirty clothes, dirty dishes, and possibly, hard water, so your machines need deep-cleaning. That’s where Affresh comes in.

Affresh tablets are made by the Whirlpool Corporation, a popular home appliance brand, but they work in appliances from other companies, too. Affresh comes in two formulations, one for dishwashers and one for washers. The products blast food residue from your dishwasher, remove grime left by detergent and dirty clothes in your washer, and zap mineral deposits caused by hard water. Do you know that icky smell that can arise from your washer or dishwasher? This is what I use to get rid of it.

I’m hooked on Affresh and I use it once a month in each of my cleaning machines. The cleaning process is practically effortless—here’s how it works.

Affresh as a dishwasher cleaner

  1. While the package says you can clean the dishwasher with a load of dishes in it, I never do. There’s no science behind that choice, I’m just fussy about my dishes. You can do it either way. If your glasses are cloudy, running them in a cycle with Affresh can help remove mineral deposits.
  2. If you’re cleaning an empty dishwasher, put an Affresh tablet in the detergent dispenser. If you’re cleaning the machine with a load of dishes in it, fill the detergent dispenser with detergent as usual, then, put the tablet in the bottom of the dishwasher’s tub.
  3. Run the dishwasher on a Normal cycle.

Some people claim that distilled vinegar is an effective cleaner for a dishwasher but our experts advise against it. Vinegar, though useful for other cleaning chores, is an acid that can deteriorate a dishwasher’s rubber hoses and other rubber parts over time.

Get Affresh Dishwasher Cleaner, 1 pack, on Amazon for $4.72

Affresh as a washing machine cleaner

  1. Open the door and toss a tablet into the tub of an empty washer. Affresh works for both top-loaders and front-loaders.
  2. Dial up a Normal cycle with hot water. Some Whirlpool-made washers have a special Clean Washer cycle, which the company’s site says uses higher water volumes along with Affresh to clean the washer. If you have that cycle, definitely use it.
  3. Don’t add any detergent or bleach to the washer when cleaning it with Affresh.
  4. Start the washer.

By the way, just because I’m obsessed with Affresh doesn’t mean you have to be. Whenever your washer is empty, you can clean it very well by pouring a cup of bleach into the bleach dispenser and running a hot Normal cycle. Either way, you can maintain the clean by using the right type of detergent (HE for most modern washing machines) and by wiping and drying a front load washer’s gasket after every use.

Get the Affresh Washer Machine Cleaner, 6 tablets, on Amazon for $9.69

Should you use Affresh to clean your appliances?

If I have one issue with Affresh it is that the washer cleaning tablets contain boric acid, which might be a health and safety concern. For now, I’m going to keep using Affresh, because it does a great job cleaning my washer. As with many other cleaning products, it can be safe and effective as long as you handle it carefully and follow the directions on the package.