Place your dirty dishes into the dishwasher. Then you add soap and turn it on. Within an hour your dishes will be clean. You can have mold in your dishwasher! It is impossible for mold to grow in a dishwasher that uses hot water and soap each time it runs a cycle. It can, and it will.
Mold can be found in up to 62% percent of dishwashers. That means that even if you have a clean dish and silverware, the mold in your dishwasher could be contaminating your dinner. It’s a terrible thought!
What Causes Dishwasher Mold
Mold requires only three things in order to survive: heat, moisture, organic material and light. Let’s find out if your dishwasher fulfills these basic needs. Yes, your dishwasher is capable of generating moisture. You can see steam and water as it runs its drying cycle. This answers the warmth question. Your dishwasher is always dark unless you load it or empty it. How about organic material?
Why are people washing their dishes? Sounds like a dumb question. It’s because there are always leftovers after a meal. Here are the organics.
You may say, “But all that stuff goes down the dishwasher’s drain.” Unfortunately, that is not always the truth. “And also,” you reply, “But all that stuff gets washed down the dishwasher’s drain.” However, hot water and soap can kill most molds. Some molds can survive a dishwashing cycle. You may not be aware of another fact. A majority of dishwashing detergents contain some salt. Salt attracts mildews, molds, and other organisms.
Are Dishwasher Molds a Health Risk?
It can. Mold exposure does not just happen if someone is sitting next to it, or inhale the mold. Mold can also be eaten. This is not the case with blue cheese.
The EPA states that mold can make you sick. The symptoms include red eyes, sneezing, and skin rashes. These allergic reactions can occur immediately or later.
Mold reactions can become more severe in people with asthma or who are extremely sensitive to them. They could also develop other respiratory conditions. A person who is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment or receiving treatment for HIV/Aids could be at an even greater risk.
Cleaning a moldy dishwasher
It is not necessary to clean the dishwasher thoroughly. Instead, use soap and water to clean it.
- If possible, take the strainer and racks from the drain and wash them in the sink or in a utility tub.
- Use a toothbrush or a brush to clean any rubber or plastic parts of the dishwasher.
- Cleaning around the door seal on both sides is important.
- Clean the sides and inside of the door.
After thorough cleaning, run a disinfecting cycle. You shouldn’t use chlorine bleach for this. Although chlorine bleach is good for hard surfaces such as countertops, it can cause damage to the dishwasher’s internal parts and possibly any metal trim. Bleach is corrosive to metal surfaces. Bleaching stainless steel can cause “stains” or fading.
Use some vinegar instead. Vinegar is cheap and can kill the majority of bacteria and molds. Vinegar can kill over 99% of bacteria strains as well as 82% of mold species. You can use vinegar by placing one cup of vinegar on the top rack and running your dishwasher on its hottest cycle.
How to keep mold at bay
When not in use, leave the dishwasher door open. This will prevent mold growth. It doesn’t need to be completely open. Just crack the door lightly. You can also open the door slightly by wriggling it. This will allow light to enter the dishwasher and allow for air circulation. Mold does not like air movement or light. Your dishwasher should be cleaned at least once per month.
The dishwasher’s life span will be prolonged if the parts and components are kept clean. Keep the drain strainer clear of food debris and water to prevent the machine’s from overflowing.
Mold problems? Need help?
You should not call a handyman if you discover mold in your dishwasher. Mold can be dangerous, and not only to you. Mold can spread to your family members and pets. A certified mold remediation specialist is needed if you find mold.