There's nothing worse than setting your table for a dinner party only to find that the dishwasher left your dishes dirty. Luckily, dirty dishes don't automatically mean that you need a new dishwasher. In fact, in most cases, it just means that your dishwasher is in need of some maintenance. Here are three simple steps to get your dishes sparkling clean.

Adjust the Heat

If the water in your dishwasher isn't getting hot enough, your dishes aren't going to get clean enough. The optimum hot water temperature for your dishwasher is about 140 degrees. Without hot enough water, you run the risk of leaving microorganisms and bacteria on your dishes. If you're not sure the water is hot enough, start a wash cycle. Once your dishwasher has filled with hot water, carefully open the door. If hot steam escapes from the door, the water is hot enough. If not, you'll need to adjust your water heater.

Clean the Filter

You might not know this, but your dishwasher has a filter located underneath the tub. The filter is designed to hold all the particles of food that are rinsed off your dishes. Over time, the particles of food will begin to smell. If you don't empty the filter, the food odors will be transferred to your clean dishes. You'll know that's happening when the clean glass you're drinking from smells like rotten food. To prevent this from happening, remove the filter once a month and empty it.

Clean the Drain

The drain located at the bottom of your dishwasher can get clogged with food particles too. Remove the dish racks and inspect the drain. If you see particles of food blocking the access to the drain, you'll need to clean the bottom of your dishwasher. Remove the food particles and wipe the drain with a clean, damp cloth.

Place several drops of lemon juice in the bottom of your dishwasher and turn your dishwasher on. Allow it to clean through one entire cycle without any dishes in it. This will clean and sanitize your dishwasher and keep the drain clean. Adding a tablespoon of vinegar with your lemon juice will also remove any hard water deposits that might be clogging the spray jets.

You depend on your dishwasher to get your dishes clean. Unfortunately, when your dishwasher is dirty, it can't clean your dishes properly. The simple steps outlined above will help you keep your dishwasher clean and odor-free. If you don't have time to give your home the deep-cleaning it needs, you should contact a residential cleaning service. They'll take care of the details you just can't get to. To find out more, contact someone like Fresh Start Cleaning