Can You Really Clean Your Dishwasher with Kool-Aid? Here’s What Happened When We Tried

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lemonade Kool-Aid in a dishwasher detergent well

From funky to fresh using only Kool-Aid? OH YEAH!

Forget the pricey chemicals! Have you heard about the dishwasher-cleaning hack that involves using only a 24¢ packet of Kool-Aid?

We have hard water that leaves a white film on the inside of our dishwasher, and we’re starting to notice it on our glassware, too. I was also eager to see if this cleaning trick would help with the funky odor that greeted us when we first opened our dishwasher after being away for a week. 🤢

two kool-aid drink packets on a countertop

Here’s how the Kool-Aid dishwasher hack works:

  1. Use only the unsweetened lemonade flavor. It has the right citric acid content to loosen limescale and other mineral deposits. It’s also not a color that will stain the inside of your dishwasher, and it won’t leave behind any sticky residue from sugar. You don’t have to use Kool-Aid brand, though; Aldi sells its own 6-count version for $1.19 (only 20¢ per packet)! If you’re using a scoop from a large canister of unsweetened lemonade mix, a tablespoon is the recommended amount.

  2. Remove any dishes from the dishwasher. This cleaning method works best with an empty machine.

  3. Use the entire packet of Kool-Aid. Simply empty it into the same reservoir where you would normally add dishwashing detergent.

  4. Run your dishwasher through a normal cycle. The Kool-Aid will do its thing while the dishwasher runs. Use the other packet to make yourself a drink while you wait! 🍋

  5. Wipe away any remaining residue. I was shocked at how easy it was to wipe away the white residue and the gross gunk that had been gathering around the seal of my dishwasher. I didn’t need to do any scrubbing or use abrasive cleaning pads. One swipe with one of these gentle microfiber cleaning cloths, and I was done!

Hip Tip: Try to time your cleaning cycle so that you’re home to wipe out the residue immediately after it’s finished (when the inside of the dishwasher is still warm and steamy). Although I haven’t tried waiting, it’s probably a lot easier to wipe out the gunk and mineral deposits before they have a chance to dry and harden again.

dishwasher before and after washing with kool-aid


The inside of my dishwasher looks like new, and the swampy smell is gone. I don’t really smell anything lemony, either… it’s just a really fresh and pleasant fragrance.

clean dishwasher inside

This cleaning method completely removed the white residue and gunk from the inside of my dishwasher, and my glassware is definitely coming out cleaner, too.

I loved being pleasantly surprised by this super easy and affordable cleaning hack that sounded too good to be true. I will definitely repeat this process every month or so to keep my dishwasher looking shiny, smelling fresh, and getting my dishes clean.

Like cleaning hacks? You won’t believe what denture cleanser can do!

About the writer:

Jenna has a Bachelor's Degree from Lycoming College and her Master's from Penn State, holding 4 years of writing experience between a variety of publications and Hip2Save.

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