Your dishwasher is one of the most convenient appliances in the home. Rather than spending precious minutes washing the dishes by hand every evening, you load them into the rack and let a machine handle them.

Where would you be without this device, eh?

Despite how convenient they are, dishwashers can be a concern for many homeowners. This largely revolves around maintenance, but did you know that a poorly looked-after dishwasher could make you unwell? These appliances might be teeming with bacteria or limescale that you end up ingesting after your dishes have been “cleaned”. You’re unlikely to get seriously ill, but if you notice a sore throat or keep getting rashes around your skin or mouth, it might be down to your dishwasher.

What can you do about this? It’s not hard to keep your dishwasher clean and well looked after; here are three steps everyone should follow:

Clean the dishwasher regularly

Your dishwasher cleans all your dishes, but are you cleaning the appliance itself? You should do this once every month ideally, and it involves using limescale tablets or general dishwasher cleaning products. The products will have instructions but you typically run a wash with an empty dishwasher and the cleaner. It gets to work removing funghi, bacteria, and dirt from inside the appliance, leaving it shiny and clean. When you go to wash the dishes after this, you do so knowing that loads of dirt and grime aren’t being thrown around onto your plates!

Replace any broken racks

Believe it or not, broken dishwasher racks can cause issues and prevent the machine from properly cleaning everything inside. A typical problem is when the rack sags and this stops the machine from adequately spreading water around the entire appliance. It’ll normally mean everything on the top rack looks and feels a tad dirtier than everything else. You might assume your dishes or cups have irremovable stains, but it could all be down to a faulty rack.

Find some dishwasher replacement racks and the whole system can work correctly once more. The propellor below the top rack now spins properly and you get a stronger concentration of water and soap flowing everywhere. It gets into all the nooks and crannies, ensuring that everything is properly cleaned.

Don’t let dirty dishes linger for too long

One of the biggest mistakes is leaving dirty dishes in the dishwasher for too long before putting them on. If you’ve got plates with lots of food still smeared on them – and you leave them there for days – think of all the bacteria that start growing. Running the wash will eventually get rid of some of this, but it can still linger on the plates.

Instead, either rinse your plates or wipe them down before loading the dishwasher – or run it every evening after dinner. Many people avoid this, but did you know that running the dishwasher every night uses less water than hand washing every evening? If you want to skip the rinse, give it a try.

Don’t let your dishwasher make you unwell by covering your plates and cups in limescale or bacteria. Be sure you’re also using an effective dishwasher tablet to clean things too – you need one that blitzes through stubborn stains to ensure you’re eating and drinking from clean things all the time.