How To Clean Moldy Dishes (Quickly, Easily & Safely!)

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

If you watch any episode of Hoarders, one of the most common things you will notice is the sheer amount of moldy dishes laying on hoarders’ sinks and tables. Sometimes, those dishes are so molded and tarred over, it may seem like they are lost causes. Believe it or not, moldy dishes can usually be saved. Did you ever wonder how the show’s producers are able to clean those dishes spotless?

To clean mold off of your dishes, you can soak them in a bleach and water mixture, or you can clean the mold off of your dishes using white vinegar. Let the dishes soak for about 20 minutes before scrubbing and rinsing them. Use dish soap to clean off the rest of the bleach.

Moldy dishes are a serious threat to your health and really shouldn’t be a thing. However, if you’re stuck with mold, there is good news. We have the information you need to make things better.

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Cleaning Moldy Dishes

For the most part, the cleaning process we described is already going to be able to kill off all the mold you have efficiently.

However, it’s important to understand a couple of important details that can make your cleaning efforts more effective. These questions below often are the most commonly-requested answers regarding moldy dishes…

How To Clean Moldy Dishes Using Vinegar

If you have delicate plates that have been hand-painted, bleach sometimes might be too harsh. That’s alright. There is another way to get rid of the bleach from your plates.

Vinegar, while not quite as effective as bleach, is still effective enough to make sure that you get most of it off effectively. To do this, use these steps below:

  • Pour white distilled vinegar into a large tub, and let your dishes soak in the tub. Give your dishes at least an hour of soaking time, as it may take longer for vinegar to completely cut through mold.
  • Take a soft-bristled brush and start scrubbing vigorously. You want to make sure that all the mold ends up off the plates.
  • Place the plates in your sink and start cleaning them with regular dish soap and water. The dish soap is there to kill off any remaining mold that may be there.
  • Once the dishes are thoroughly cleaned, rinse them off and pat them dry. Make sure that they dry on a surface that has not touched mold. You don’t want history to repeat itself!

We suggest using this cleaning method if you are not sure whether or not your dishes are going to be alright.

Painted dishes and porous ceramics should not be bleached if they are not marked as dishwasher-safe. Even then, be careful if you choose to bleach them as it can cause damage in the long term.

Tips When Cleaning Mold From Dishes

Mold is a serious threat to your health and should not be underestimated. If you’ve ever read an article on how to identify black mold, you can see why.

Mold can cause rashes, breathing problems, as well as lung infections. This is true, even if you do not have a mold allergy.

So, when cleaning your dishes, it’s important to take safety precautions. The most important ones to be aware of are:

  • Wear protective gear. Both bleach and mold can be serious skin, eye, and lung irritants. To make sure you stay safe, wear gloves, protective eyewear, and a respirator while handling the dishes. Do not let bleach come into contact with your skin.
  • Don’t mix bleach with any other cleaning solvents. Bleach is fairly reactive, and mixing it with anything can cause a potentially toxic reaction. Even if it’s something as innocuous as dish soap or vinegar, it’s just not a good move.
  • Address any other areas that have been affected by mold. It’s rare to see mold that just sticks to dishes alone. If you have any part of your house that needs to be cleaned, do it yourself or call a landlord to request mold remediation.

Can You Remove Mold From Wooden Plates?

Most ceramic plates will be able to be made mold-free without too much of a hassle, though some may experience some light color fading as a result of their bleach treatment.

If you are worried about wood, then you probably should be. Most wooden cutting boards, bowls, and plates that experience mold can be remediated with vinegar or bleach.

However, there are some cases where your wooden plates just won’t be able to be fixed. If the mold has eaten through the protective coating on your wooden plate or gone so far as to make the wood feel spongy to the touch, chances are that you may need to throw out the plate. Sadly, this can only really act as a warning tale to those who leave their dishes to get moldy.

Can My Dishwasher Kill Mold?

Though it’s easy to see where this belief may have come about, the truth is that your dishwasher cannot kill most molds. Mold can be highly temperature and moisture-resistant.

Even washing your dishes with regular dish detergent in the washer may not be enough to kill all mold types. As a result, it’s better to play safe rather than sorry and just use one of the two mold remediation methods we offered.

How Long Does It Take For Mold To Grow On A Plate?

It doesn’t take as long as most people would think. Even if you are fairly up-to-date with dishes, the truth is that your time frame is going to be fairly short.

If you have mold and water near your plates, it can take as little as 24 to 48 hours for the mold to germinate. With that said, it can take a little longer depending on the conditions around your plates.

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Related Questions

Is vinegar or bleach better at killing mold?

It all depends on the type of mold that you are dealing with. Bleach will kill more types of mold, while vinegar will only kill most of them.However, some molds that can survive light bleaching can view bleach as a threat and come back with a vengeance. This can lead to more sessions of cleaning as well as a more pervasive mold problem.

Can you combine vinegar and bleach to kill mold?

While both of these chemicals are great to use separately, they should never be mixed together. Bleach and vinegar, when mixed, produce a toxic gas.While the gas may have the potential to kill mold, it can also kill you in the process. If you have to use both, use a bleach treatment first, rinse, and then use vinegar afterward.

Does sunlight kill mold?

Believe it or not, sunlight can actually be a fairly effective measure against mold. Most (but not all) molds have a hard time with UV rays. By exposing your items to high levels of sunlight, it’s possible to be able to kill off the mold safely and effectively.However, we do not suggest this as a go-to. It’s better to stay on the safe side and use ample amounts of white vinegar to ensure that all the mold is killed.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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