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How to Clean a Moldy Dishwasher

July 28, 2023

Knowing how to clean a moldy dishwasher is crucial when it comes to maintaining a healthy home environment. After all, mold can pose significant health risks if not addressed promptly.

As far as dishwashers go, the warm and wet conditions inside make them the perfect environment for the pesky fungus.

How can you get rid of them? What products should you use? For the answers, be sure to keep reading. We’ll be going over how to tackle and solve the mold problem once and for all below.

The Truth About Moldy Dishwashers

how to clean a moldy white dishwasherResearch published in Medical Mycology revealed that 62% of dishwashers across six continents were found to harbor fungal growth, including household molds and mildew.

What are mold spores? They’re microscopic organisms that latch onto the surfaces within your dishwasher due to a buildup of moisture and organic material.

The Battle Against Persistent Molds

You may wonder how it’s possible for molds to persist despite regular cleaning schedules using commercial dishwasher cleaner products or natural alternatives like vinegar and baking soda.

Well, surprisingly enough, most detergents contain salt – an ingredient that yeasts (a type of fungi) feed and thrive on.

In other words, even though you’re running full wash cycles regularly, chances are, there will be some yeast lurking inside the appliance.

Health Implications of Having Mold in Your Dishwasher

how to clean a moldy dishwasher health issuesA moldy dishwasher is more than just an unsightly problem, it’s also a health hazard. The microscopic spores that molds produce can infiltrate the air, and when inhaled, may lead to various health complications.

For individuals with allergies or asthma, exposure to these spores might also exacerbate their symptoms. Reactions such as sneezing fits, runny noses, irritated eyes, and skin rashes are common occurrences.

Potential Long-Term Health Consequences

Prolonged exposure to mold has also been associated with the development of chronic conditions like obstructive lung disease.

Given that, it’s crucial that you take action to prevent mold and fungal growth. This includes keeping the dishwasher door open for ventilation purposes, regular cleaning schedules using ACTIVE Dishwasher Cleaner (free of harsh chemicals), and natural alternatives like white vinegar.

How to Clean a Moldy Dishwasher

Cleaning a dishwasher that has grown moldy can appear daunting, but with the correct steps and supplies, it’s simpler than you’d think. Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Empty the Dishwasher Completely

Empty out your appliance completely – dishes, utensils, and all. This will give you unrestricted access during cleaning. And yes, that also includes removing the top rack and bottom rack.

Step 2: Clean the Drain Filter

Food debris often gets trapped in the drain filter, which can lead to fungal growth over time. We recommend using a soft cloth or sponge soaked in warm soapy water and a little elbow grease to clean the filter. Hot water with soap is also effective.

Step 3: Disinfect After Initial Cleaning

how to clean a moldy dishwasher filterThe next step is disinfection. One option is to use white vinegar as it has antimicrobial properties that allow it to kill up to 99% of bacteria and 82% of molds. For the best results, let it dry completely after cleaning.

Alternatively, you can fill a dishwasher-safe bowl with vinegar and then place it atop an otherwise empty dish rack before running through a full wash cycle sans detergent.

3. Add Extra Shine Using Baking Soda

Baking soda works wonders when restoring shine back into dull-looking appliances while simultaneously deodorizing them. Sprinkle one cup across the bottom floor of emptied-out machines followed by a short hot or warm water cycle (not full) for the best results.

For a full comprehensive dishwasher cleaning guide with more tips, click here.

Preventing Mold on the Dishwasher Door and Other Areas

The rubber parts around the drain opening and the dishwasher door often remain moist, even after the cycle ends. This creates a damp environment that’s perfect for mold and mildew to thrive.

Given that, you want to inspect the door seal area regularly and if there’s mold present, you can clean it with soapy water or with a commercial cleaning product. The same goes for drain covers. If you can, use the highest heat that you can to kill the mold spores.

Preventing Mold Growth in your Dishwasher

how to clean a moldy dishwasher interiorMold in your dishwasher is an unwelcome guest that can be prevented with the right strategies. Here’s how you can prevent mold growth and keep your kitchen sink’s best friend – the dishwasher – clean and healthy.

1. Regular Maintenance Using a Wash Cycle

Cleaning twice per month using ACTIVE Dishwasher Cleaner or natural alternatives like vinegar and baking soda will help eliminate the breeding ground for molds.

Running an empty dishwasher with white vinegar weekly will also help maintain cleanliness between deeper cleaning sessions.

2. Maintaining Your Garbage Disposal Unit

Disposal units share drainage pipes with dishwashers and often become sources for contamination if not kept regularly cleaned.

Fortunately, there’s another easy solution – ACTIVE Garbage Disposal Cleaner. Simply clean your dishwasher filter kitchen disposal twice a month with these tablets (or whenever odors are present) and your disposal will be fresh and clean, just like your dishwasher.

How to Clean a Moldy Dishwasher – FAQs

How do you deep clean a dishwasher that has mold?

how to clean a moldy dishwasher activeYou can use vinegar, baking soda, and a scrub brush to thoroughly clean your dishwasher. Run an empty cycle with vinegar first, then scrub away any remaining mold with a toothbrush and baking soda. Or if you want to speed up the process with less labor, just use ACTIVE Dishwasher Cleaner.

What is the best product to remove mold from the dishwasher?

ACTIVE Dishwasher Cleaner is tough on mold and works quickly. Vinegar is another option, though it’s not as powerful.

Is it okay to run a load of dishes in the dishwasher if there’s mold?

No, running dishes inside a dishwasher infested with mold could spread the spores onto your dishware and utensils – even if you use a hot water cycle setting.

How to clean mold in the dishwasher with vinegar and baking soda?

Pour one cup of vinegar into the bottom of your empty machine and run a hot wash cycle. Afterward, sprinkle some baking soda around the bottom of the drain strainer and run another hot water cycle on the hottest setting. You can also place a cup of vinegar on the top rack.

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