How to Clean Mold Out of a Dishwasher

Mold is a common problem that can affect various areas of our homes, including appliances like dishwashers. If you’ve noticed a musty odor or black spots inside your dishwasher, it’s likely that mold has made itself at home. In this article, we will guide you through the process of effectively cleaning mold out of a dishwasher, ensuring a fresh and hygienic environment for your dishes.

Having a dishwasher is a convenient way to keep your kitchen clean and tidy. However, when mold starts to grow inside the dishwasher, it can become a health concern and impact the dishwasher’s performance. Cleaning mold out of a dishwasher requires a systematic approach and the right techniques.

Understanding Mold in Dishwashers

Types of Mold Found in Dishwashers

There are several types of mold that can thrive in the moist environment of a dishwasher. Some common types include Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Aspergillus. These molds can release spores into the air, leading to potential respiratory issues and allergies.

Causes of Mold Growth

Mold growth in dishwashers is primarily caused by moisture and food residue. When dishes with food particles are left inside the dishwasher for extended periods, it creates an ideal breeding ground for mold. Additionally, any leaks or standing water within the dishwasher can contribute to mold growth.

Signs of Mold Infestation

Identifying the presence of mold in your dishwasher is essential for timely action. Look out for the following signs:

  • Musty or unpleasant odor
  • Black or green spots on the interior walls, racks, or rubber seals
  • Discoloration of dishes or utensils after running a cycle

Steps to Clean Mold Out of a Dishwasher

To effectively clean mold out of your dishwasher, follow these step-by-step instructions:

Safety Precautions

Before you begin, ensure your safety by following these precautions:

  • Wear gloves to protect your hands.
  • Open windows or use ventilation to keep the area well-ventilated.
  • Avoid mixing cleaning agents, as this can produce toxic fumes.

Gather Necessary Supplies

To clean the mold from your dishwasher, gather the following supplies:

  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Dish soap
  • Soft brush or toothbrush
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Q-tips or cotton swabs

Cleaning the Interior

  1. Remove all dishes and utensils from the dishwasher.
  2. Inspect the interior for any loose food particles or debris. Wipe them away using a microfiber cloth.
  3. Fill a cup with distilled white vinegar and place it on the top rack of the dishwasher.
  4. Run a hot water cycle without any dishes, using the vinegar to help remove mold and disinfect the interior.
3 Best GE Dishwashers 1 How to Clean Mold Out of a Dishwasher

Cleaning the Filters and Spray Arms

  1. Locate the dishwasher’s filters and spray arms. These components can accumulate mold and debris over time.
  2. Remove the filters according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Rinse them under warm water to remove any loose particles.
  3. Inspect the spray arms for clogs or blockages. Use a toothpick or Q-tip to dislodge any debris.
  4. Fill a sink or basin with warm water and a tablespoon of dish soap.
  5. Submerge the filters and spray arms in the soapy water and let them soak for 15-20 minutes.
  6. After soaking, scrub the filters and spray arms gently with a soft brush to remove any remaining mold or residue.
  7. Rinse them thoroughly under warm water to ensure all soap and debris are removed.

Removing Mold from Rubber Seals

  1. The rubber seals around the dishwasher door are prone to mold growth. Inspect them carefully for any visible mold.
  2. Mix equal parts of distilled white vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
  3. Spray the solution onto the rubber seals, ensuring complete coverage.
  4. Let the vinegar solution sit for 10-15 minutes to allow it to penetrate the mold.
  5. Use a soft brush or toothbrush to scrub the rubber seals gently.
  6. Wipe away the loosened mold with a microfiber cloth.
  7. Rinse the seals with clean water and dry them thoroughly.

Prevention Tips

To prevent future mold growth in your dishwasher, consider the following tips:

  • Scrape and rinse dishes before loading them into the dishwasher to minimize food debris.
  • Run the dishwasher regularly to prevent standing water.
  • Leave the dishwasher door slightly ajar when not in use to allow for air circulation.
  • Periodically check for leaks and address them promptly.
  • Clean the dishwasher’s interior and rubber seals regularly to remove any potential mold spores.

Regular Maintenance for a Mold-Free Dishwasher

Maintaining a mold-free dishwasher requires consistent effort. Follow these maintenance tips:

  • Clean the dishwasher’s filters and spray arms every few months to prevent mold buildup.
  • Inspect the rubber seals regularly and clean them as needed.
  • Run a cleaning cycle with distilled white vinegar once a month to keep the dishwasher fresh.
  • Wipe down the interior with a damp cloth after each use to remove any excess moisture or residue.

Can I use bleach to clean mold in my dishwasher?

Bleach is a strong disinfectant, but it’s not recommended for cleaning dishwashers. The harsh chemicals can damage the dishwasher’s components and may leave behind harmful residues. Stick to using natural cleaning solutions like vinegar and baking soda.

Will cleaning the dishwasher remove the musty odor caused by mold?

Yes, thorough cleaning of the dishwasher, including the filters, spray arms, and rubber seals, will help eliminate the musty odor caused by mold. Regular maintenance and preventive measures can further ensure a fresh-smelling dishwasher.

Can I use a dishwasher cleaner instead of vinegar and baking soda?

Yes, there are commercial dishwasher cleaners available that can effectively remove mold and other residues. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer when using such products.

Is it safe to use the dishwasher after cleaning mold from it?

Once you have thoroughly cleaned the dishwasher and removed the mold, it is generally safe to use the dishwasher. However, it’s essential to ensure that all surfaces are completely dry before running a cycle. This helps prevent any remaining mold spores from thriving and causing further issues. Additionally, following regular maintenance practices and preventive measures will help keep your dishwasher clean and mold-free.

Can mold in the dishwasher cause health problems?

Yes, mold in the dishwasher can lead to health problems, especially for individuals with allergies or respiratory conditions. Mold spores released into the air can be inhaled, causing symptoms like coughing, sneezing, congestion, and throat irritation. It’s important to address mold growth promptly to maintain a healthy living environment.


Cleaning mold out of a dishwasher is crucial for maintaining a hygienic kitchen environment. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can effectively remove mold and prevent its recurrence. Remember to prioritize safety, gather the necessary supplies, and take preventive measures to keep your dishwasher mold-free in the long run.

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