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By: Alison Jacobson
Posted on: Apr 6, 2016

Dishwasher Cleaning Tips to Prevent Mold and Mildew

Our guest blogger Alison Jacobson, The Safety Mom, is back again this week with dishwasher cleaning tips!

My kids are always great about pitching in to help with chores around the house. Unfortunately when it comes to loading the dishwasher they sometimes take short cuts and don’t rinse them first. The result is dishes with food stuck onto them after the dishwasher has been run – YUCK!

The annoyance of having to re-clean dishes is just a part of the problem. Food particles that collect in the dishwasher can lead to the growth of mold and mildew. In fact, a study conducted in 2013 found that 62% of household dishwashers contained disease-causing fungus.

Breathing in the spores of these fungi can cause persistent lung and skin infections, especially in people with compromised health, which includes adults and children taking antibiotics.

Scraping and rinsing plates thoroughly is just one step in making sure your dishwasher is as clean as your dishes.

Follow these dishwasher cleaning tips to keep mold, mildew and fungus away:

  • Frequently clean the areas of your dishwasher where food particles can collect – This includes the plastic filter at the bottom, the interior sides and door panel, the silverware baskets and dish racks. In some dishwashers you can completely pull out the screen on the bottom. If so clean it thoroughly and remove any food that’s gotten trapped underneath.
  • Clean the dishwasher seals - The rubber gaskets in the door and around the soap door get grimy. Make sure to frequently clean these areas with a mixture of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Thoroughly dry with a paper towel afterwards.
  • Dry the dishwasher – While not setting the heat-dry function might save energy, it allows the inside of the dishwasher to remain wet which leads to mold growth. If you don’t want to use the added heat-dry, keep the dishwasher door open after running it so that it dries out completely.
  • Do a monthly deep clean – Remove the racks and wash them in hot soapy water. Spray down the entire inside of the dishwasher with a combination of vinegar and water. Once you replace the racks place a bowl of vinegar in the top rack and sprinkle baking soda on the bottom. Run the dishwasher on the hottest setting and allow to dry completely.