How to Get Rid of Mold in a Dishwasher: Solutions that Work

A moldy dishwasher can be quite puzzling. After all, isn’t that the machine that runs using soapy water to clean dishes? How can a dishwasher not be squeaky clean?

It’s no secret that mold can be a real pain to deal with, especially when it manages to take root in your dishwasher.

But what if I told you that there was a simple and easy way to get rid of that pesky mold once and for all? All you need is a few basic cleaning supplies.

How to Get Rid of Mold in a Dishwasher

So if you’re looking to finally shed that unwanted dishwasher mold for good, continue with us on this journey as we unfold the ins and outs of dishwasher mold.

Recent research shows that invasive, disease-causing fungi lurk in 62% of household dishwashers on six continents, including North America.


How to Get Rid of Mold in a Dishwasher

If you have ever seen mold in your dishwasher, you know that it can be a major issue. Not only can it make your dishes dirty, but it can also make you and your family sick.

In this article, we will explore the different ways you can get rid of mold in your dishwasher. We will also discuss what causes mold in dishwashers, how to prevent it, and what to do if your dishwasher has a severe case of mold.

Dishwashers are one of the most commonly used appliances in many kitchens. Over time, however, they can become a breeding ground for mold and mildew.

If left untreated, these unwanted guests can cause your dishwasher to smell unpleasant and affect its ability to clean dishes properly.

Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take to get rid of mold in your dishwasher.

Step 1. Run the Dishwasher

Start by running a hot water cycle with no dishes in the machine. This will help to loosen any mold that is clinging to the walls or other surfaces.

Step 2. Time to Scrub

Use a toothbrush or other brush to scrub away any remaining mold. Be sure to pay special attention to areas where water typically collects, such as around the door seal and in the corners of the tub.

Step 3. Clean the Filter

Now it’s time to clean the dishwasher filter. Mold can often build up on this component, so it’s important to remove any debris that may be present.

Most filters can be removed by simply pulling on them; however, consult your dishwasher’s manual if you’re unsure of how to do this.

Manuals for nearly all models of almost any kind of product are provided online and can be found with a simple Google search.

Once the filter is clear, rinse it off with hot water before putting it back in place.

Step 4. Bring Out the Vinegar

Pour a cup of white vinegar into the bottom of the dishwasher and run another hot water cycle. The vinegar will help to kill any remaining mold spores and freshen up the machine at the same time.

Step 5. Final Cycle

Run a final cycle with just hot water to remove any traces of vinegar from the interior. With these simple steps, you can easily get rid of mold in your dishwasher and keep it running smoothly for years to come.

Step 6. Fix Leaks

Seal off any leaks in your dishwasher by repairing cracks or damaged seals, and ensure that your appliance is properly vented to prevent excess moisture buildup inside the machine.

What Causes Mold in a Dishwasher

There are a few common causes of moldy dishwashers. One is simply that the machine isn’t being used often enough. If dishes aren’t washed regularly, mold and mildew can start to grow. Another cause is food particles that are left on dishes after they’ve been washed.

These particles can provide a food source for mold, so it’s important to make sure that dishes are completely clean before putting them in the dishwasher. Which seems odd, I know.

We need to clean our dishes before we can put our dishes in the dishwasher…so it can clean our dishes. The best I can imagine is what the dishwasher is really doing is sterilizing our dishes.

Finally, dishwashers need to be cleaned themselves on a regular basis. If the seals or filters are dirty, mold can start to grow inside the machine.

Below are additional things that could possibly be causing mold in your dishwasher:

  • Poor maintenance and cleaning habits
  • Incorrect use of dishwasher detergent
  • Overloading the dishwasher with dishes
  • Water leaks or humidity in the dishwasher area
  • Hard water deposits and mineral buildup
  • Inadequate drying of dishes/dishwasher interior after use
  • Exposure to moisture-loving microorganisms like fungi and bacteria
  • High temperatures and humid conditions inside the dishwasher during the cleaning cycle
  • Poorly installed or defective dishwasher parts, such as seals, filters, and drainage systems
  • Improper use of hot water in the dishwasher can promote mold growth in damp environments

By taking a few simple steps, you can help prevent mold from growing in your dishwasher.

How to Prevent Mold in a Dishwasher

If you are looking for ways to prevent mold from growing in your dishwasher, there are things you can do. First, make sure that you are cleaning your dishwasher regularly. This includes cleaning the filters and the seals on the door. You should also run vinegar through the machine every month or so.

Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and will help to kill any bacteria or fungus that might be growing in your dishwasher.

It’s important to make sure that the dishes are dried completely before putting them away. Leaving wet dishes in the machine can create the perfect environment for mold to grow.

Identifying potential sources of moisture and humidity inside the dishwasher that can promote mold growth. If your home is excessively humid due to the climate in which you live, consider purchasing a humidifier.

Checking for visible signs of mold on dishes or dishwasher parts, as well as other areas within the kitchen or home where mold may be present.

Remediate any existing mold buildup in or around the dishwasher, including cleaning and sanitizing surfaces, using proper ventilation techniques, and taking steps to minimize future exposure to moisture and humidity in the dishwasher.

Can Mold in the Dishwasher Make You Sick?

It’s a common question asked by many homeowners. While most people think of mold as something that only grows in damp, dark places, the truth is that it can also thrive in your dishwasher.

Mold loves to grow on wet surfaces, and the warm, humid environment of your dishwasher provides the perfect breeding ground for mold spores.

If you don’t clean your dishwasher regularly, then these spores can build up and eventually be released into the air every time you run a cycle.

And when you breathe in these mold spores, they can cause a variety of health problems, including respiratory infections, allergic reactions, and even headaches.

So if you’re concerned about the possibility of getting sick from mold in your dishwasher, be sure to clean it regularly with a product that is designed to kill mold spores.

Symptoms of Mold Exposure from a Dishwasher

Signs and symptoms of mold exposure can range from allergic-type symptoms to more serious symptoms in those suffering from respiratory illnesses

Below is a list of some but not all symptoms of mold exposure:

  • Chronic fatigue or malaise
  • Breathing difficulties, such as coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath
  • Frequent headaches or migraines
  • Itchy, watery eyes or a runny nose
  • Skin rashes and irritated skin that does not improve with treatment
  • Recurring sinus infections or other respiratory infections that do not respond to treatment
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath

Preventing mold from growing in your dishwasher is key to making sure that your exposure to mold is limited.

Can I Run Bleach Through My Dishwasher?

You should not run bleach through your dishwasher. While bleach is an effective cleaning agent, it is also corrosive. Over time, the bleach can damage the inner components of your dishwasher, making it less effective and potentially even dangerous.

If you need to clean your dishwasher, there are a number of safe and effective cleaners on the market.

Use one of these cleaners according to the manufacturer’s instructions to safely clean your dishwasher.

Can I Run Vinegar in My Dishwasher?

Running vinegar through your dishwasher is a great way to clean and sanitize the appliance. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and will remove any lingering bacteria or food particles. In addition, vinegar can help to remove hard water stains and mineral deposits.

To run a vinegar cycle, simply add a cup of vinegar to the bottom of the dishwasher before starting a regular cycle.

You can also add a few drops of essential oil to the vinegar for a fresher scent. Just be sure not to use too much vinegar, as this can damage the dishwasher over time.

With regular cleaning, running vinegar through your dishwasher will help to keep it in top condition.

Mold in Dishwasher Vent

If you notice mold in your dishwasher vent, it’s important to clean it as soon as possible. Mold can cause a number of health problems, including respiratory issues, skin irritation, and headaches.

Dishwasher vents are a common breeding ground for fungal growth because they are often damp and humid.

To clean the mold, start by removing any loose mold with a dry cloth. Next, use a mixture of water and vinegar to wipe down the inside of the vent.

Be sure to wear gloves and a mask to protect yourself from mold spores. Finally, run the dishwasher on the hottest setting to help prevent future mold growth.


Getting rid of mold in a dishwasher can be done with a little time, hot water, and vinegar. The key to moving forward, however, is preventing the mold from wanting to come back.


How Do I Know if I Have Mold in My Kitchen?

Mold often appears as a dark stain or smudge on surfaces. It may also appear as fuzzy white, green, or black growth. If you see any mold in your kitchen, it is important to clean it up immediately.

How Do I Prevent Mold from Growing in My Kitchen?

The best way to prevent mold is to keep your kitchen clean and dry. Wipe up spills immediately, fix any leaks, and ventilate the room if it is humid. You should also clean appliances such as dishwashers and refrigerators regularly to prevent mold from growing.


Trina Greenfield, Author
SmackDown Media LLC

About the Author:
Trina Greenfield, the owner of SmackDown Media LLC, is passionate about providing information to those interested in the air quality in and around their homes. Trina writes content about things she’s passionate about, such as safe, in-home air, educational platforms for children and adults, as well as all things family-related.