The dishwasher is one of the greatest inventions that the modern household ever received, and it’s saved so many of us from spending hours at the sink washing everything by hand.
As efficient as these appliances have been though, they also require a bit of maintenance in order to run their best and provide the cleaning that we purchased them for, with many people neglecting to realize this.
Mold is one of the biggest problems facing the modern family’s dishwasher due to a lack of understanding about just how easy it can grow.
As a large appliance that runs on a lot of water without ventilation, and cleans scraps of food and waste from our dishes, it creates the ideal environment for mold to grow.
Once mold has started to develop in a dishwasher it can be hard to get rid of, and that’s usually long after you’ve even discovered that it’s there.
Mold comes with serious health side effects and can be easily spread through the rest of the house, so you want to make sure you eliminate it as soon as you see signs that it’s there.
We’ve got some effective and natural cleaning tips for mold in dishwasher removal as well as simple ways to prevent its growth in the first place.
As one of the most important appliances of the house and one responsible for ensuring that we eat in hygienic conditions, leaving mold to grow in your dishwasher isn’t something you want to encourage.
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What Causes Mold Growth In My Dishwasher?
Just like other large appliances that run on water, the dishwasher is the perfect breeding ground for mold.
Mold loves moisture and there’s plenty of that to be found in a dishwasher, even when you’re using it correctly and performing regular washes with it.In addition to this excess moisture, food particles and debris become trapped in a dishwasher which can be a haven for mold.
Without a thorough cleaning of the gasket and other parts, this food can quickly turn off and attract the fungus, so you have more than one inviting condition that can help it to grow.The environment inside of a dishwasher is ideal for mold because it’s damp with very little fresh air getting inside.
When you consider all of these factors working together, it’s not surprising that this household appliance is one of the most susceptible to mold growth, but there is something we can do to get rid of it.
A 2011 study published in Medical Myology found that 62% of dishwashers tested had traces of fungi like mold inside of them, even without obvious signs.
The same study noted that the conditions inside of your dishwasher, like moistness and alkalinity, were ideal for these types of fungal species, most of which were harmful to humans.
The Health Effects Of Dishwasher Mold
Most people don’t notice the signs of mold in their dishwasher right away, or it could be the unpleasant smell that draws their attention to it.
Regardless of what stage the mold growth is at or what type of mold is growing in your dishwasher, it can have serious side effects for our health. Mold is found all over the world but when it grows in smaller and confined spaces like our homes, it presents a serious health risk.
The spores from mold can be inhaled and ingested by humans, especially when they’re present in an appliance like a dishwasher that we trust to wash our dishes clean, and the effects can vary in each person.
Even without a mold allergy, someone may still experience symptoms like sneezing from the mold. Those with an allergy will get more severe reactions, including upper respiratory tract symptoms.
Some people are even more at risk, like people with an immune system illness or existing lung condition, for which exposure to mold in a household appliance can be near-fatal. Mold spreads very quickly and easily, and having it grow in your dishwasher will usually lead it to form around the house.
The spores can travel through the air or be carried on other items, so development of mold in your dishwasher will undoubtedly lead to other areas of the home being affected.
How To Get Rid Of Mold And Mildew In Dishwashers Naturally
Contrary to popular belief, a dishwasher doesn’t keep itself clean the way it cleans your dishes.
There are many parts and pieces that are susceptible to the build-up of grime, food particles, and mold, so if you’ve noticed these in your dishwasher then you’ll want to follow these steps to remove them naturally.
- Take out all of the shelves and trays from the dishwasher, and then remove the filter. Wash each of these parts separately in the sink with a scrubbing brush and a mixture of vinegar, baking soda, and water. Be sure to remove any traces of food or mold from them. Once clean, wash all parts with warm water and dishwasher detergent before rinsing off.
- Place the filter and shelves back into the dishwasher, but not any other dishes. Fill a cup with vinegar and place it on the top rack of the dishwasher. Turn the washer on to the hottest and longest cycle to perform a clean, letting the vinegar do its work.
- Fill a cup with baking soda and then sprinkle it on the bottom of the dishwasher. Leave this to sit overnight and close the door. In the morning, turn the washer on again for a short, hot cycle.
- Use an old toothbrush or scrubbing brush to scrub the interior of the dishwasher, making sure to get into the small parts where mold grows. Pay special attention to the seals, drain, spray arm, and folding arms, scrubbing each of them separately.
- Once the interior has been cleaned, run another empty wash with hot water through the dishwasher and then leave it open to dry out.
Preventing The Growth Of Mold In The Future
Although it’s ideal to do a deep clean of your dishwasher regularly, there are other things you can do to slow down the growth of mold and build-up of debris.
Consider these tips for preventing mold and improving the conditions inside of your dishwasher.
- Always leave the door slightly open when the dishwasher has finished a cycle so that humidity isn’t able to build up. This will allow air to get inside and proper ventilation to occur, which can prevent mold from growing.
- Rinse your dishes thoroughly before putting them in the dishwasher and don’t rely on the machine to dispose of the food scraps and other waste. By reducing the amount of food that goes into the dishwasher you’re giving mold fewer places to grow. Don’t leave dirty dishes to sit in there for more than a day before washing them.
- Run an empty wash through your dishwasher with a chlorine-based cleaning agent once a month to keep it in good condition. Some dishwashers come with a clean setting which is ideal for this purpose, otherwise, a long and hot cycle will do.
- Give the inside of the dishwasher, filters, seals, and other parts a wipe down with vinegar once a month to prevent the growth of mold. Add a cup of vinegar to a wash whenever you think it needs an extra clean.
- If you notice mold appearing even after cleaning, there may be an issue with the drain line. Have a professional give the machine a service to look for any bigger problems.
Cleaner Appliances For A Healthier Home
Although the dishwasher has saved us from countless hours of labor, it’s also created a new health threat for the average family.
It can be hard to see what’s going on in our dishwashers making it easier for mold to grow and go unnoticed, getting harder to eliminate as it spreads.
With a little bit of care and prevention, you can stop the spread of mold in the home and ensure that your dishwasher remains as clean and hygienic as it should be.
As the one appliance responsible for keeping our dishes clean so we can eat from them without fear of getting sick, it’s worthwhile to start paying attention to the dishwasher and keeping it in top condition.
Mold might seem harmless enough when you find a small spot inside the dishwasher or notice the musky smell, but the health consequences it comes with can be serious.
Any home with a dishwasher should take control of mold seriously, and thankfully it’s easy enough to do with a few simple and natural measures.