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Cleaning your dishwasher may be the secret to saving money on your energy bill — here's how to do it

There are several setbacks to your health, your wallet, and the environment that can occur if a dishwasher never gets cleaned.

Cleaning dishwasher, Dishwasher filter

Photo Credit: iStock

Most of us probably don't think too much about our dishwashers. We load them up, turn them on, and sometime later, everything comes back out looking sparkly and clean.

But looks can be deceiving. Neglecting to perform regular cleaning on your dishwasher's filter can result in having dishes that aren't actually clean and wasting perfectly good energy on a machine that isn't running efficiently.

What is a dishwasher filter?

A dishwasher filter is a filtration device incorporated into the bottom of your dishwasher, which catches objects, debris, and food particles that won't dissolve that may otherwise clog the plumbing.

Why is it important to clean them?

If a filter never gets cleaned, it could result in setbacks to your health, your wallet, and the environment.

For starters, a dirty filter can make your dirty dishes even dirtier. If a filter gets too clogged with old food particles, the wastewater won't drain, and your dishes may be coated with potentially dangerous microbes and mold spores which can be hard to detect with the naked eye.

Additionally, your machine will have to work harder to pull water through a filter that's gummed up, which will translate to a higher energy bill at best, and at worst, may cause your dishwasher to wear out prematurely. 

Not only are dishwashers expensive to replace, but discarded units also contribute to our world's growing e-waste problem. It's vital we keep our appliances out of landfills as long as possible and have them run efficiently so as to not waste energy.

How can I clean my dishwasher filter?

Luckily, it's usually pretty easy! If your dishwasher is equipped with a self-cleaning filter, treat it with an environmentally friendly mixture of white vinegar and baking soda once a month to ensure it keeps running smoothly.

If your machine has a manual filter, you'll need to remove it and clean it by hand. Often they can be removed without tools, but some dishwasher models may require a screwdriver to release the filter.

If you're not sure where your filter is located or what kind of filter your dishwasher has, look up the owner's manual for your model and manufacturer, which will tell you everything you may need to know about your machine.

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