This post shows how to clean a dishwasher with vinegar and baking soda. See the best way to deep clean a smelly dishwasher & the filter (in a Whirlpool). Easy methods for using natural cleaners!
On my Whirlpool dishwasher, there is a vent that can get really gross with hard water and mildew. The dishwasher vent cover needs to be taken off occasionally and scrubbed. To do this (again, on a Whirlpool), turn counter-clockwise about a quarter of the way. I have to use a screwdriver to (gently) pry it to the left. (Gross, right?) Once the dishwasher vent is off, scrub both the vent and the inside.
This is going to be a little different on every model, but there will be a filter somewhere in your dishwasher to catch bigger food particles and any built-up gunk and grime left on dishes. Catching this debris makes sure the water lines to your dishwasher don't become clogged – very important! Mine is below the bottom rack (in a Whirlpool).
If you've read any of the other Cleaning 101 series posts, the fact that I use vinegar and baking soda to do this deep clean will be no surprise to you. They are simply the most useful cleaning ingredients out there! I also love that they are non-toxic, especially in an area where my family's dishes will go. You can go buy a speciality dishwasher cleaner (like affresh) if you'd like, but I've found that these two cleaners work just fine…and you probably already have them!