How To Clean A Moldy Dishwasher

You trust your dishwasher to clean your dishes but when they come out smelling musty and sometimes feel slimy, you would think that the dishwasher is not doing its job. But, in reality, there might be mold inside your dishwasher and you are not aware of it especially when you do not inspect your dishwasher often. 

Since a dishwasher is supposed to clean dishes, it will always be damp especially when used often. This can cause mold to grow because moisture is trapped inside the dishwasher.

To clean mold dishwashers, you can use white vinegar diluted with hot water to scrub the interior of your dishwasher. Baking soda can also clean the remaining mold spores to prevent bacteria from growing.

In this article, we will tell you the step-by-step process of how to clean a moldy dishwasher and how to prevent mold from thriving in it. So, if you want a mold-free dishwasher, stay tuned until the end.

What Is Mold?

Mold is a type of fungi that grows on any organic matter where there is moisture and humidity and it can be found indoors or outdoors.

While molds are usually associated with food, it is commonly found in homes, usually, in roofs, windows, or wood products as these places are the ones that usually get wet.

But, mold can also be found in the dishwasher. You’d think that an appliance that cleans your dishes will stay clean but, a dishwasher is actually a place where mold can grow because it is a dark and damp environment.

How To Clean Moldy Dishwashers

How To Clean Moldy Dishwashers

If you do not clean your dishwasher regularly, mold will likely grow in it. Leftover food and soap particles cause mold to grow so make sure that you check your dishwasher for mold so you can clean it. If left untreated, mold can make you sick.

There are several things you need to clean your dishwasher:

– Hot Water

– White vinegar

– Baking soda

– Sponge

– Rubber Gloves

– Old toothbrush (optional)

Make sure to wear rubber gloves when cleaning a moldy dishwasher to protect your hands.

  1. Remove the racks from the dishwasher

Before you clean the interior of your dishwasher, make sure to remove all the racks first to clean them.

This way, you can remove any leftover food particles easier and you can inspect the empty dishwasher for mold. If your dishwasher has a removable filter, remove it and clean it along with the racks. Using a sponge, clean both the rack and dishwasher filter with soapy water.

Let the racks and filter air dry completely.

  1. Dilute white vinegar with hot water

You would want to clean your dishwasher with diluted vinegar. To do so, mix half a cup of white vinegar with two cups of hot water. The water should not be too hot that it can burn you.

Soak a sponge in the vinegar and water mixture and begin scrubbing around the interior of the dishwasher. Do this until the molds have been washed away. Also, make sure to get into the crevices and scrub the door seal as well. If you can’t scrub tiny crevices with a sponge, you can use an old toothbrush that you are not using anymore to get into the little nooks and crannies of the dishwasher.

After you are done scrubbing, remove the vinegar residue with a new clean sponge.

  1. Put the racks back in the dishwasher

After you have thoroughly cleaned your dishwasher, it’s now time to put the racks (and removable filter) back inside the dishwasher.

  1. Run the dishwasher

Once the racks and filter are back inside, pour vinegar into a small dishwasher-safe container. Put the bowl filled with vinegar on the top rack of the dishwasher and run a full wash cycle with the highest heat setting.

  1. Add baking soda to the dishwasher’s floor

When the full cycle wash is complete, remove the bowl filled with vinegar. Take a cup of baking soda and sprinkle it on the dishwasher floor. Run another full cycle wash on the highest heat setting. This process will take care of any mold spores that are floating inside the dishwasher.

Where Does The Mold Come From?

As we said before, mold grows on surfaces that have moisture. Mold grows indoors when mold spores, which are invisible to the naked eye, land on wet surfaces.

Since a dishwasher is dark and damp, it can be a breeding ground for fungal growth.

How To Know If You Have A Moldy Dishwasher

Aside from visibly seeing mold inside a dishwasher, if your dishwasher has a strong musty smell, it certainly has mold. Smelly and slimy dishes are also a sign that mold has grown inside your dishwasher.

Even if you do not see molds in your dishwasher, mold spores are invisible to the naked eye. If you do not clean your dishwasher often, these mold spores can turn into mold.

How To Prevent Mold In Your Dishwasher

It is often common to keep the dishwasher closed after a washing cycle and unloading the dishes. But, keeping it open just a tad can prevent moisture from being trapped and it can also prevent any smells from building inside the dishwasher.

You can also leave the dishwasher door open for an hour after taking out the dishes to air out the inside. This option can work especially if you have small children or pets in the house to prevent injury should the dishwasher drawer falls open.

Aside from leaving the dishwasher door open, clean any leftover food debris often and clean your dishwasher at least once a month to avoid the build-up of germs. This ensures that your dishwasher is clean and that it can clean your dishes effectively. 

Can You Get Sick From A Moldy Dishwasher?

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, you risk health problems when you are exposed to mold [1].

Exposure to mold can cause allergies or other respiratory issues, especially if you have asthma. If not cleaned, mold spores can spread and can land in other damp  aside from your dishwasher. And, you probably won’t want to clean your dishes where there is mold growing. So the best option is to clean your dishwasher.

Final Thoughts

Keeping your dishwasher clean can be very simple. All you need is vinegar, hot water, and baking soda. Doing a deep clean of your dishwasher at least once a month can prevent mold growth and this ensures that your dishwasher is effectively cleaning your dishes.

If you have not already, check your dishwasher and see if it is overdue for a cleaning. Hopefully, this article will help you have a mold-free dishwasher after your cleaning session!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Kind Of Mold Grow In Dishwashers?

Black mold, orange mold, and pink mold are the different kinds of mold that can grow inside your dishwasher.

Black mold is caused by rotting food or mildew while orange mold can be mistaken for rust. So, if you see any rust in your dishwasher, you can treat them as a mold to clean them effectively.

A pink mold will often look like a marshmallow-type foam in a light or bright pink color. If you see any of these molds in your dishwasher, it is safe to say that you should clean your dishwasher immediately.

Will the Dishwasher Kill Mold On Dishes?

A dishwasher can’t kill mold on dishes as a dishwasher detergent is not effective in eliminating mold completely. It can wash away visible molds but you need things like vinegar and baking soda to remove mold spores.

How Do I Disinfect My Dishwasher Without Vinegar?

You can sprinkle baking soda on the dishwasher’s floor and run it at its highest settings to disinfect your dishwasher. This can get rid of mold spores that are left inside.