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Table of Contents

Decoding Mold in Dishwashers

How to Clean a Moldy Dishwasher

Thorough Dishwasher Disinfection

Keeping a Dishwasher Free from Mold

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Discover How to Clean a Moldy Dishwasher in 5 Simple Steps

5 min readUpdated Jun. 21, 2024Terry MehilosDishwasher
Concerned homeowner carefully inspects her dishwasher, ensuring it's clean and free from mold.

Finding mold in your dishwasher can be disconcerting, but it's a common issue that is manageable with the right knowledge. Explore effective methods to remove mold, understand why it occurs, and learn practical steps to prevent its recurrence. These insights will help keep your dishwasher clean and efficient.


  • Regularly drying and cleaning your dishwasher prevents mold and maintains appliance efficiency.
  • Use a mixture of vinegar and baking soda for an effective, natural cleaning solution against mold.
  • Annual professional maintenance can catch early signs of issues, extending your dishwasher’s lifespan and improving its performance.

Decoding Mold in Dishwashers

Mold in dishwashers is a common issue, influenced by several factors. Understanding these can help you address the problem effectively.

The Causes of Mold

The humid environment inside a dishwasher, combined with trapped water and leftover food particles, creates the perfect breeding ground for mold. If the dishwasher isn't cleaned regularly, these conditions can lead to persistent mold growth.

Impact on Dishwasher and Dishes

Mold can degrade your dishwasher’s performance and the cleanliness of your dishes. Neglecting this issue can lead to more severe damage, resulting in costly repairs or the need for a replacement.

Preventive Measures

Taking proactive steps can help you keep your dishwasher mold-free. Ensuring the appliance is completely dry after each use, routinely cleaning its components, and using mold-combating dishwasher cleaners are fundamental practices. These measures will not only prevent mold growth but also enhance the overall efficiency of your dishwasher.

How to Clean a Moldy Dishwasher

Promptly addressing mold in your dishwasher is crucial for maintaining its optimal function. Follow this step-by-step guide to effectively remove mold:

  1. Clear the Dishwasher: Before beginning the cleaning process, remove all dishes, utensils, and racks from the dishwasher. This allows for unobstructed access to all surfaces needing attention.

  2. Scrub Away Visible Mold: Using a soft brush or sponge, vigorously scrub the visible mold from the interior walls, door gasket, and drain area. Pay special attention to corners and crevices, where mold is likely to accumulate.

  3. Clean the Filter: The filter, usually located at the bottom of the dishwasher, should be removed and thoroughly cleaned with warm soapy water. Make sure to rinse it well before placing it back in the dishwasher.

  4. Run a Cleaning Cycle: Place a dishwasher-safe cup filled with white vinegar or a specialized dishwasher cleaning solution on the top rack. Run the dishwasher on a hot water cycle to remove any remaining mold and neutralize odors.

  5. Wipe Down the Exterior: Finish by cleaning the dishwasher’s exterior, as mold can sometimes extend beyond the interior.

Incorporating regular maintenance, ensuring proper ventilation, and removing food debris promptly are key steps to prevent future mold growth in your dishwasher.

Thorough Dishwasher Disinfection

Regular disinfection of your dishwasher is important for maintaining its hygiene and cleanliness. Use a commercial dishwasher cleaner like Finish®, or create a homemade solution using common household ingredients. Follow these steps monthly for effective disinfection:

  • Step 1: Begin by removing any visible debris or food particles. Take out the filter, racks, and utensil holders, and rinse them thoroughly with warm soapy water.

  • Step 2: Prepare a disinfecting solution by mixing equal parts distilled white vinegar and water in a dishwasher-safe container. Place this on the top rack. Vinegar, a natural disinfectant, is effective at killing mold and neutralizing odors.

  • Step 3: Run a hot water cycle with the vinegar solution to cleanse the dishwasher thoroughly.

  • Step 4: After the vinegar cycle, distribute baking soda across the bottom of the dishwasher. Leave it overnight to absorb any residual odors.

  • Step 5: The following morning, remove the baking soda and wipe down the interior of the dishwasher with a clean cloth. Make sure all surfaces are dry to hinder mold regrowth.

Alternative disinfectants like hydrogen peroxide and bleach are also effective, though bleach should be used with caution as it can damage certain dishwasher components. Always adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines when using any disinfectants.

Keeping a Dishwasher Free from Mold

Keeping your dishwasher free of mold helps contribute to a clean and sanitary kitchen environment. Adopting effective maintenance strategies and regular cleaning routines will help preserve the condition and efficiency of your dishwasher.

Routine Cleaning and Drying Practices

To prevent mold growth, it's important that your dishwasher is completely dry after each use. Leave the door open for a few hours after cycles to air it out. Regularly inspect and clean the dishwasher’s filter to remove food particles, moisture, and debris, which can serve as a breeding ground for mold.

Load Management and Pre-Cleaning

Avoid overloading the dishwasher, as this can trap moisture and promote mold development. Always scrape off excess food from dishes before loading them. This reduces the likelihood of mold and improves cleaning efficiency.

Focus on High-Risk Areas

Establish a regular cleaning regimen using a dishwasher-safe cleaning solution or a simple mixture of vinegar and baking soda, which are effective against mold. Special attention should be paid to corners, crevices, and rubber seals—areas that are particularly vulnerable to mold accumulation. Additionally, ensure the exterior of the dishwasher is also wiped down regularly.

Importance of Professional Maintenance

Scheduling annual professional maintenance for your dishwasher is vital. A qualified technician can thoroughly inspect your appliance, identify early signs of potential issues, and perform necessary repairs or adjustments that may not be apparent to the untrained eye. This professional oversight can extend the lifespan of your dishwasher, improve its performance, and help prevent costly repairs in the future by catching issues before they escalate.

By adopting these strategies and maintaining a consistent cleaning routine, you'll help your dishwasher remain mold-free and continue to deliver clean, sanitized dishes for your family. To further improve your dishwasher's performance and extend its lifespan, consider scheduling annual maintenance. Trust the experts at Sears Home Services to provide professional care and make sure your appliance operates at its best. Schedule your dishwasher maintenance today and enjoy peace of mind knowing your kitchen is in top condition.

Schedule your dishwasher maintenance now!

Regular dishwasher maintenance can help prevent costly breakdowns, reduce energy costs and extend the life of your appliance.

Call (213) 596-2538 or schedule online now.

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