Mold in dishwasher? 10 tips to prevent & remove it

Written by Adam Morris
5 Min read
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How to prevent mold in a dishwasher

Mold spores are tiny particles that can be found in the air we breathe, and they are present almost everywhere. This means that they can easily enter your home and make their way into your dishwasher, where they can thrive and multiply. Mold growth in your dishwasher can not only cause unpleasant odors but can also pose health risks for you and your family.

To prevent mold growth in your dishwasher, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. However, there are several steps you can take to help keep your dishwasher free of mold. Firstly, it is important to keep your dishwasher clean and dry. This means wiping down the door and seals after each use and leaving the door open to allow for proper ventilation.

Another important step is to regularly clean the dishwasher, including the spray arm, filters, and any other removable parts. These areas can easily accumulate food particles and debris, providing a perfect environment for mold to grow.

Additionally, consider running an empty cycle with a cup of vinegar or baking soda to help eliminate any lingering odors or bacteria. Using a dishwasher cleaner can also be helpful in preventing growth.

Lastly, it is important to regularly inspect your dishwasher for any leaks or water damage. Any moisture buildup can provide a breeding ground for mold and bacteria, so it is important to address any issues promptly.

In summary, mold spores are present everywhere, including your dishwasher. To prevent mold growth, it is important to keep your dishwasher clean and dry, regularly clean all parts, run empty cycles with vinegar or baking soda, use a dishwasher cleaner, and regularly inspect for leaks or water damage. By taking these steps, you can help ensure that your dishwasher remains mold-free and safe for use.

dishwasher mold

Clean the door gasket and filter regularly

The most common places for mold growth in dishwashers are around the door gasket and filter. That’s why it’s important to keep these areas clean.

You can use either mild dish soap or white vinegar to clean both the door gasket and the filter. Aim for twice a month for maintenance cleaning and wiping, but if you notice any mold forming, make sure to clean even more frequently.

Air drying dishes

Air drying dishes is an effective way to reduce water spots and help save energy, but it can also increase the chances of mold formation in the dishwasher. To help prevent this, you should deep clean your dishwasher every one to three months.

For deep cleaning, baking soda or white vinegar both work well. After each cycle, leave the dishwasher door open to help air dry the inside of the machine and prevent spores from growing.

Leaving the door open

Leaving the dishwasher door open can be an effective means of prevention, but it should be done with caution. This leaves the door open to children and pets, so make sure the area is secure and monitored.

Removing mold

If it is still present after taking the above steps, then it can be removed with chlorine bleach. This is a powerful cleaner and should only be used when necessary.

When using chlorine bleach for cleaning, wear protective gloves and goggles and ensure that any bleach residue is removed before using the dishwasher again to prevent further growth.

Expert tip: Proper monitoring

It’s important to enjoy the benefits of air drying dishes without allowing further growth in the dishwasher. For that to happen, be sure to monitor the dishwasher door while it is left open to air dry. This will help you mitigate the presence of children or pets wandering near the appliance, and it will also give you the chance to quickly close the door if you see an increase in moisture or dampness.

Key takeaways

While there’s no guaranteed way to prevent mold from forming in your dishwasher, regular maintenance and cleaning can help. Clean the door gasket and filter regularly with either dish soap or white vinegar; deep clean your dishwasher every one to three months; open the door after each cycle to air dry; and if all else fails, use chlorine bleach to remove any spores that may be present. But use caution—protective gloves and goggles should be worn when using bleach, and make sure to remove all traces before using the dishwasher again.

1. Check for leaks

Before attempting prevention, it is important to make sure there are no leaks coming from the dishwasher. If there are any areas that are leaking, you should repair them immediately to help prevent mold in the first place.

2. Clean dishes before loading

It’s important to clean off dishes before loading them into the dishwasher to prevent growth. Any food scraps or residue left on the dishes can become a breeding ground for mold and bacteria.

3. Run hot cycles

The hotter the cycle, the harder it is for mold to grow. When running the dishwasher, always select the hottest cycle that your dishwasher recommends to help prevent mold from growing.

4. Disinfect after cleaning

When cleaning the door gasket and filter, it’s a good idea to use a disinfectant spray to help kill any of the remaining mold spores. Make sure to leave the door open after spraying to allow the disinfectant to fully dry.

5. Use a dehumidifier

If you live in an area with high humidity, then it may be beneficial to use a dehumidifier to help reduce the moisture in the air. This will help to prevent mold from growing in the dishwasher.

6. Check drain hose and sink traps

Another potential source of mold growth is the drain hose that goes from the dishwasher to the sink. It’s important to make sure that this is regularly cleaned and checked for any signs of mold growth.

Similarly, the sink’s traps should also be checked for any signs of mold as well.

7. Clean dishwasher regularly

Regular maintenance is key when it comes to preventing mold in the dishwasher. Run a hot cycle with vinegar every few weeks and make sure to wipe down the door gasket and filter.

8. Use a sanitizing agent

If you’re particularly worried about mold, you can use a good sanitizing agent such as bleach or a diluted solution of white vinegar and water after each cycle. This will help to kill any mold spores that may be present.

9. Inspect seals and hoses

Check the seals and hoses connecting your dishwasher to the rest of the plumbing to make sure there are no leaks or potential sources of moisture. If you notice any damage, it is best to repair or replace the parts immediately.

10. Keep kitchen dry

Finally, it’s important to keep your kitchen area dry and well ventilated. This will help to reduce the moisture in the air, which can help to prevent mold from growing in the dishwasher.

Regular maintenance and cleaning

Mold growth in dishwashers can be prevented through regular maintenance and cleaning. This includes cleaning the door gasket and filter, air drying dishes, leaving the door open, deep cleaning with baking soda or white vinegar, inspecting seals and hoses for leaks, and keeping the kitchen area dry and well-ventilated. If mold is still present, chlorine bleach can be used to remove it. Dishes should be cleaned before loading into the dishwasher and the hottest cycle to help kill any remaining spores. Regular use of a sanitizing agent (e.g. bleach or white vinegar) may also reduce the risk of mold formation.

Appliances made simple. 

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