How to Clean Brown Dishwasher Stains the EASY Way

After living here for nearly four years, last spring I finally cleaned the nasty brown iron stains from my dishwasher. You can read about the homemade scrub I made and how it really did clean the iron stains in the dishwasher here. By the time I posted the process with the homemade dishwasher scrub recipe, I learned that enough people (others who have a well as their source of water) have problems with iron build up in their dishwasher that a product named Glisten had been made to help.  I ordered it.  

Then I waited for my dishwasher to look nasty again.  (It was slightly nastier last year.)
It had been about nine months since I had scrubbed it.  Can you see the really dark brown stains at the top of the dishwasher?  They are leftover from last time.  Also, the wheels and silverware rack never became really clean.

I read the directions on the Glisten packet.  I emptied the dishwasher and chose the "Normal" cycle and turned off the heat for drying.  Then I placed the silverware rack horizontally on the bottom rack, hoping it would come clean.
Even the wheels are clean!  I couldn't be more thrilled!  It was so easy.
I bought my Glisten from Amazon for a bit more than $6.  For that price you get two packets of Glisten.  Honestly, I thought I was only getting one packet, so I will certainly pay for it again in the future with an occasional cleaning my dishwasher the homemade way, too.  I have never noticed Glisten in stores, though it may very well be there.

The Bottom Line: Clean your brown dishwasher stains the EASY way with Glisten or with the LESS EXPENSIVE way with the dishwasher scrub and elbow grease.  Either way...get rid of those stains!!

Do you think they create a Whole House Glisten product?  Just sprinkle the product in any part of your house you want clean.  Ring the door bell...and TA-DA!  You have a glistening house!  I can dream...

Disclaimer: I was not compensated or provided any products for sharing my thoughts.  I am just sharing because it worked even better and EASIER than my homemade scrub!

~ Annette {This Simple Mom}


  1. You should try Lemon Crystal Light. Just put it in your dispenser and run an empty cycle. Your dishwasher will SPARKLE. It makes you a little afraid of drinking Lemon Crystal Light though! ;-)

  2. Thank you Alisa! I had Lemon-Lime Crystal Light Singles at home, and I used 3 singles in the dispenser. And WOW, I couldn't believe how clean my dishwasher is now. It was disgustingly brown before. I was very sceptical that it would work. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  3. Crystal Light really works! I was skeptical, but WOW, my dishwasher is sparkling clean.

  4. So glad there is another easy way to clean them!

  5. im curious what is lemon crystal light please?

  6. Im curious what is lemon crystal light please ?

  7. TANG also works too!

  8. After reading your post with the paste of vinegar, baking soda, (two of my faves for cleaning), and lemon juice, I tried it. It worked, but it was hard, long, and tedious (sorry). By accident I noticed that straight lemon juice left to its devices worked just as good or better faster and easier. So I tried a cup or two in the bottom of the dishwasher and ran a cycle (no heat dry) and it was like new again! Perhaps a cheaper option than Glisten.

  9. Wow! I am impressed with all of these great organic type cleaning possibilities. My dishwasher does not have any lime built up since we have great well water, but I have been fighting a moldy type of gunk in my dishwasher. I can clean this out but it takes me a three step 15-20 minute process very week. What a pain! I plan to try these ideas one at time and see what works best. Thank you everyone! (I tried powered baking soda today in the dish soap dispenser...we shall see,)

  10. Just used Glisten for the first time a couple days ago on the old dishwasher I inherited with the new house. It was not performing well and out of desperation I gave the Glisten a try. Wow am I impressed! I've never seen it look so white inside and my next load produced much cleaner dishes. I'm sold. Once I get a new dishwasher, I'm going to keep using this stuff periodically to maintain it in top working condition. FYI: The reason Crystal Light, Tang, lemon juice etc. work is because of the citric acid. You can also just buy citric acid crystals in a jar. It's great to add to home made laundry detergents, etc. because of its water softening qualities. But what I like about Glisten is the way it's dispensed, I'm not sure about dispensing home made versions. I bought mine for a great price on Amazon. 2 bottles for $6.


Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!