Like most kitchen appliances, maintenance is necessary, and your dishwasher is no exception. While cleaning the dishwasher is straightforward, the spray arms have proven difficult for many.
So, how to clean dishwasher spray arms? Remove the spray arms and soak them in vinegar water. Remove the food chunks and other stuff blocking the spray holes using a sharp object or tweezers, and rinse with clean water.
That is the summary of what you need to do to clean your dishwasher spray arms. Read on to find out what you will need for the cleaning, the steps involved, how often you should clean it, and more.
How To Clean Dishwasher Spray Arm – Steps to Follow
If your dishwasher isn’t cleaning properly, there is a high chance the spray arms could be the culprit.
Typically, the spray arms are designed to rotate as they spray water on the dishes to clean them. During this process, food chunks and particles may get stuck on the spray arm jets and bearings. This would lead to poor cleaning.
That’s why understanding how to clean dishwasher spray arm the right way is necessary. Here is a step-by-step guide to take you through the process:
Step 1: Gather Your Cleaning Essentials
Here is a list of what you need:
- Water (warm)
- Baking Soda or Dishwasher Cleaner
- White vinegar
- Toothpicks or tweezers
- Soft-bristled brush or toothbrush
- Cotton swabs or thumbtacks
- Screwdriver (if required)
Step 2: Turn Off the Dishwasher Power Supply or Unplug It Enterly
Safety comes first – So turn the socket off or unplug it entirely.
Step 3: Remove the Dishwasher Racks (If Required)
Take out your dishwasher manual and look at removing the spray arms. Some units require you to remove the racks to access the arms.
That is especially true if you have a double-drawer dishwasher. The racks sit on top of the spray arms, so to access them, you need to remove them.
If you do, go ahead and pull the racks out. They should come out easily – if you have a hard time, follow the directions in the manual.
If you have a countertop dishwasher, most of these units have one rack that slides out, leaving you with enough space to reach the spray arms.
Step 4: Detach the Spray Arms
Most dishwasher brands make spray arm removal quite straightforward. You don’t need any tool; you only need to pull the lower arm up, which will snap out of place.
Likewise, you must either rotate a cap or snap it out for the upper spray arm. Others have a screw-on cap or bolts holding the arm in place. Remember to note the order of things you will disassemble to remove the arms, including the washers’ order.
The best way to know how to remove the arms from your dishwasher brand is to refer to the manual. You should have detailed steps for their removal.
Step 5: Fill A Bucket or the Sink With Warm Water
Once you fill the sink or bucket with warm water, add some mild soap and a glass of white vinegar. Agitate the mixture to distribute the vinegar.
Step 6: Soak the Spray Arms
Soak the spray arms in the water mixture and leave them for around 30 minutes. You can add some baking soda to loosen the buildup and get easier to remove.
If you cannot remove or detach the spray arms from the dishwasher, you can soak cotton dish towels in soapy vinegar water and use them to cover them.
Unlike soak, you will need to give this method more time, like an hour or so. Try to spray the towels with soapy water after 30 minutes or twice during the 1-hour soak.
If the arms have whitish mineral deposits on the jets, soak them with plane vinegar. Use a towel or a cotton swab to apply the vinegar directly on the jets.
Step 7: Scrub the Debris and Deposits Out
Use tweezers or toothpicks to open up the jets. Use the soft-bristled brush to remove the remaining dirt from the spray arms. If you have canned air, you can use it to loosen any stubborn debris.
Step 8: Rinse the Spray Arms
Use high-pressure water to rinse the arms. Apply the water directly on the jets one by one. You want to make sure they are all clear.
If your dishwasher has bearings, spray them with water. But, if you notice any signs of debris, use some mild soap and a soft-bristled brush to clean before rinsing with water.
If you still see some debris, apply some baking soda or enzyme cleaner and allow it to rest for a few minutes. If you used baking soda, apply some vinegar after 10-15 minutes. Rinse the arms with clean water.
Step 9: Reattach the Spray Arms
Reattach the dishwasher spray arms as they were before. If you unscrewed bolts or screw-in cap and washer, return them as they were.
How Often Should You Clean Dishwasher Spray Arms?
It’s easy to assume that since the spray arms are cleaners, they don’t get dirty. If the jets inside them are blocked by either food chunks or mineral deposits, the water flow and rotation speed will reduce.
And that would lead to poor dishwasher cleaning performance. So, you need to clean these arms often to avoid this.
But how often? It is recommended to clean your dishwasher spray arms every few months. If you use hard water, clean the arms quarterly, but if you don’t experience hard water problems in your home, you can clean them once or twice a year.
This section answers the common questions about dishwasher spray arm cleaning. Keep reading to know more.
Q: How does food get into dishwasher spray arms?
Food can get into dishwasher spray arms when dishes are not properly rinsed before being loaded into the dishwasher. Additionally, if the bottom filter of the dishwasher is not properly seated, excess food particles can make their way into the bottom spray arm.
Q: Will the dishwasher work without a spray arm?
No! A dishwasher cannot effectively clean dishes without a functioning spray arm. The spray arm is responsible for distributing water throughout the dishwasher to clean dishes and remove food particles.
Q: When should I replace my dishwasher spray arm?
If you notice that your dishes are not coming out as clean as they used to, or if you see visible damage to the spray arm (such as cracks or missing pieces), it may be time to replace it.
Additionally, if you have tried cleaning the spray arm and it still seems clogged or not working properly, replacement may be necessary.
Learning how to clean a dishwasher spray arm is easy – all you need is a few minutes and the right cleaning tools. Remove the arms and soak them in warm water and mild detergent. Scrub the debris and mineral deposits from the jets and rinse them with high-pressure water.
Reattach the dishwasher spray arms, and you’re done. Once you’re done, turn on the power supply and run the dishwasher in its normal cycle. Regular cleaning of the arms helps keep your dishwasher running smoothly and efficiently.