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Can You Use Bleach in a Dishwasher?

May 4, 2024

Bleach is a great cleaning agent that can be used to disinfect various surfaces. From sanitizing the floor to bathroom surfaces, it’s one of your best bets.

How does it work? It contains hypochlorous acid, which attacks and destroys proteins in bacteria. Not only that but it’s also effective against viruses and fungi.

But can you use it in the dishwasher? Will it damage the machine or will it sanitize the inside? Keep reading to find out!

Using Bleach to Clean Your Dishwasher

can you use bleach in a dishwasherYou can clean your dishwasher with a bleach solution, as long as it doesn’t contain any stainless steel (including racks) as bleach will cause it to corrode.

Assuming your dishwasher isn’t stainless steel, you can use bleach to deep clean the interior. Not only will it remove mold and mildew but it’ll eliminate any stubborn stains as well.

To clean your dishwasher with bleach, pour one cup of the liquid into a dishwasher-safe bowl or container, place it on the top rack, and run a full wash cycle.

Be sure to skip the drying cycle. Open the dishwasher door afterward to air dry instead.

Cleaning the Dishwasher Filter With Bleach

The dishwasher filter is constantly exposed to water and can get covered with mold and mildew over time. As long as it doesn’t contain any stainless steel components, you can clean it with bleach.

Start by taking the filter out of the dishwasher; it should be located in the basin underneath the spray arms. Look for a cylinder or half-circle shape.

Before you remove the filter, you’ll have to take out the bottom dish rack. Depending on the dishwasher model, you may also have to remove the spray arms to access the filter (check your manufacturer’s manual for more details).

To unlock the filter, turn it counterclockwise – you should hear a click.

Rinse the filter with hot water and soak it in bleach for 10 to 15 minutes. Then using an old toothbrush, gently scrub the nooks and crannies to remove any debris. Rinse again with warm water afterward.

Can You Add Bleach Instead of Detergent?

Regular bleach isn’t meant to be used by itself in a dishwasher and should not be added to the detergent dispenser. It can easily damage the machine or worse, ruin it.

If you want to sanitize your dishes, consider getting a dishwashing detergent that contains bleach. For example, some detergent packs come with bleach and enzymes, which allows them to sanitize and eliminate odors and stains.

Things to Consider When Using Bleach

things to consider when using bleachBleach may be an effective cleaning agent, however, it can also be harmful to humans. Not only can it irritate the eyes and skin but breathing in the fumes over a long period can also increase the risk of certain cancers.

Given that, it’s best to wear safety gear when dealing with bleach. This means you should wear gloves and safety goggles before handling the product.

Also, never mix bleach with other cleaners including ammonia and vinegar. Mixing them will create toxic chloramine gas that can cause nausea, coughing, and potentially death.

Similarly, you never want to mix bleach with baking soda. The two will react to form sodium hypochlorite, which will release toxic gases if exposed to acids such as vinegar.

Keeping Your Dishwasher Clean With Bleach

Using bleach is a great way to keep your dishwasher clean, as long as it doesn’t contain any stainless steel components.

Not only will it eliminate mold and mildew from the interior surfaces but you can also use it to clean and sanitize the filter, which can get grimey over time.

Just remember never to combine bleach with other cleaners, including vinegar and baking soda, as it will create toxic gases that can be harmful to your health.

Cleaning Your Dishwasher With Bleach – FAQs

Can you run a normal wash cycle with bleach?

cleaning dishwasher with bleachYes, you can sanitize your dishwasher by placing a cup of bleach in the top rack and running a normal cleaning cycle. Be sure to use a dishwasher-safe bowl and skip the drying cycle. Let the inside air dry instead.

Can you clean the dishwasher filter with bleach?

Yes, you can soak the dishwasher filter with bleach to remove mold and mildew. To do so, you’ll first have to remove the filter from the bottom of the basin by turning it counterclockwise. You may also have to remove the bottom rack, depending on the dishwasher model.

Rinse the filter thoroughly with water after soaking with bleach.

Can you add bleach to the detergent dispenser?

No, you should never add bleach to the detergent dispenser. Regular bleach isn’t meant to be used as a detergent substitute and can cause permanent damage to the machine.

Consider using a dishwashing detergent that contains bleach instead if you want to sanitize your dishes.

Can you combine bleach with other cleaners?

No, you should never combine bleach with other cleaners (e.g. ammonia, white vinegar, baking soda) as it will create a toxic gas that can irritate the eyes, throat, and lungs. Prolonged exposure can also result in shortness of breath, which can lead to death, if not treated.

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Ava Thompson

Ava Thompson is a cleaning specialist and home organization guru. Her profound knowledge, honed through years of experience, is thoughtfully shared in her thorough walkthroughs here on our blog. Ava’s pragmatic tips and innovative strategies empower individuals to transform their living spaces into models of cleanliness and order. She’s a go-to source for those seeking to enhance their home environment efficiently and effectively. She has become a key contributor on the ACTIVE blog.

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