How To Get Rid Of Mold In The Dishwasher

Nick Durante
by Nick Durante
Credit: Shutterstock / Jota Buyinch Photo

The sight of mold in your dishwasher can make you think twice about using your dishes again. Dishwashers are the perfect place for mold to grow because of the moisture, heat, and darkness. Many people struggle with how to get rid of mold in the dishwasher, however, you can prevent mold growth and get rid of what’s already there by taking a few precautions.

Mix baking soda, white vinegar, and water in a bottle and spray your dishwasher to get rid of mold. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes, run a load without any dishes, and leave the door open for 30 minutes when it’s done. You can also do the same process using lemon juice and water.

Lemon juice is acidic enough to kill mold. That said, it’s important to take steps to prevent mold, such as leaving your dishwasher door open for 30-60 minutes after the washing cycle is over. Follow along as we explore how to get rid of mold in the dishwasher.

Why Is Mold Growing In My Dishwasher?

Mold can grow in a dishwasher because it’s the perfect environment for it. Dishwashers are dark and moist, and they often contain rotting food. That combined with the warm temperatures makes it all too easy for mold to grow and spread.

Dishwashers also often contain lots of salt. While salt can hurt some types of mold, others, like black mold, love salt. The rotting food in your dishwasher may contain salt and many detergents do, too.

You will often find mold near parts of your dishwasher that typically retain food. The hot temperatures and soap that circulate during a dishwasher cycle sadly won’t kill mold spores. If anything, the hot water only serves to help the mold grow more easily.

How To Remove Mold From The Dishwasher

Dealing with mold in your dishwasher isn’t fun, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Luckily, you can get rid of mold in the dishwasher with a handful of items you likely have in your kitchen.

Vinegar And Baking Soda

The mixture of vinegar and baking soda can solve countless household problems, including mold in the dishwasher. However, it’s important to make sure you use white vinegar, as it’s the best for getting rid of mold. Mix equal parts white vinegar, baking soda, and water in a spray bottle.

Next, simply spray the inside of your dishwasher and let it sit for up to 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, run a cycle of hot water through your dishwasher to rinse the vinegar and baking soda. Let your dishwasher air out with the door open for 30 to 60 minutes when the cycle is done.

You can repeat this process as often as you need if it stays moldy. It’s a good idea to do this every month or two even if you don’t have mold. The white vinegar and baking soda will help neutralize and kill bacteria that can lead to mold growth.

Use Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is one of the best-kept secrets in your kitchen. Not only is it great for making drinks and certain meals, but it’s also a great cleaning product. The acid content of lemon juice is high enough to kill mildew and mold.

Fill a spray bottle with water and leave enough room for 4 tablespoons of lemon juice. Add the lemon juice to the water and mix the solution. Next, spray the inside of your dishwasher and focus on areas that have the most mold.

Leave the door open and let the lemon juice and water mixture sit in the dishwasher for 15-25 minutes. Run a cycle of warm water, dry your dishwasher, and leave the door open for 30-60 minutes before you shut it.

How To Stop Your Dishwasher From Getting Moldy

The best way to stop your dishwasher from getting moldy is to keep it as dry as possible. Of course, your dishwasher will be warm and wet after each cycle. You can dry your dishwasher out if you leave it open for at least 30 minutes after a cycle.

It’s also a good idea to wash your dishes by hand as well as possible before you put them in the dishwasher. That will ensure that there aren’t bits of rotting food in your dishwasher. Otherwise, mold will use the rotting food as a source to grow and spread further.

You must also clean the rubber gasket seal on the dishwasher door each week. This gasket is a common spot for mold to grow as it often stays moist longer than the rest of the unit. It also helps to clean the filter with dish soap and water 3-4 times per month to prevent mold growth.

Can You Clean Your Dishwasher With Bleach?

You can clean your dishwasher with bleach, but it’s not ideal. It’s too strong of a chemical for most dishwashers, and the damage can be serious. Bleach can especially damage stainless steel dishwashers.

No matter what type of dishwasher you have, bleach is bad for the heating element. That said, some people successfully clean their non-stainless steel dishwashers with diluted bleach. This is risky, but you can at least minimize damage if you use 1 cup of bleach or less.

Otherwise, it’s better to use white vinegar and baking soda mixed with water, as it won’t damage the unit.

Is Mold In The Dishwasher Dangerous?

Mold in the dishwasher can be dangerous, especially if you ingest it. When your dishes have traces of mold, there’s almost no way to avoid ingesting some of it when you eat. It’s even more dangerous to eat or drink mold than it is to inhale it, which is already quite dangerous.

According to the CDC, mold carries several health risks, such as respiratory problems and rashes. Ingesting mold can also cause diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. It’s even more dangerous for children and pregnant women to ingest mold.

Even if you can’t see mold on your dishes, it may still be there. Clumps of mold are easy to spot, but mold spores aren’t always detectable as they are quite small. Mold spores may even spread throughout the rest of your home when you open the dishwasher and unload your dishes.

Summing It Up

The best way to get rid of mold in the dishwasher is to clean the inside with baking soda and white vinegar. Mix baking soda and vinegar in a spray bottle with water and spray the inside. You can also use lemon juice to spray and scrub your dishwasher and kill mold with acidity. Keep your dishwasher open for 30-60 minutes after each cycle to help prevent mold growth.

Related Guides:

Nick Durante
Nick Durante

Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.

More by Nick Durante