Mold Be Gone! How I Eliminated Every Last Ounce From My Dishwasher

Opening up my dishwasher to unload the clean dishes only to be hit with a strong musty odor was not how I wanted to start my morning. I looked closer and noticed black slimy spots dotting the interior and traces of gray growth around the rubber gasket. A mold problem was very clearly developing inside my dishwasher despite having run a cycle just the night before.

Mold can happen to anyone but the health implications scared me into immediate action. Prolonged mold exposure has been linked to respiratory issues and allergic reactions. Not to mention it’s simply gross and can indicate larger appliance issues if unchecked. I knew I needed to get rid of it fast and properly before it could spread further or release spores into the kitchen air.

In this post, I’ll cover my effective process for eliminating every last bit of dishwasher mold through natural cleaning methods. We’ll also discuss preventative steps to banish mold for good in any dishwasher. Read on to get mold gone and keep it away!

Identifying Dishwasher Mold

Detecting mold infestations early is key before they get out of hand. Look inside your dishwasher for the following telltale signs of mold:

  • Visible discoloration – Black, green, white, or gray spots
  • Slimy residues or growth on surfaces
  • Musty, earthy, unpleasant smell
  • Growth around rubber gaskets and corners

If you spot mold, quickly take safety precautions before inspection or removal. Wear protective gloves and goggles when working near mold. Limit exposure when possible and keep kids and pets away from the affected area.

Potential Health Hazards

Why such caution around mold? Inhaling or touching mold spores can cause allergic reactions with symptoms like:

how to get rid of mold in dishwasher
  • Skin irritation
  • Eye irritation
  • Nasal stuffiness
  • Wheezing and breathing issues
  • Aggravated asthma

For vulnerable groups like children and elderly, mold exposure poses an even higher health risk. Extended exposure has also been linked more severely with lung inflammation and infections.

Gathering Cleaning Materials and Supplies

Eliminating stubborn dishwasher mold requires some key ingredients. Before starting the removal process, gather the following supplies:

  • Protective goggles and rubber gloves
  • Vinegar – For a chemical-free cleaning solution
  • Baking soda – Slight abrasive properties to lift mold
  • Old toothbrushes or scrub pads – For scrubbing in small spaces
  • Bucket – For mixing cleaning solutions

Safety First When Handling Mold

Although common in households, mold spores pose respiratory risks. Take proper safety steps when cleaning an affected area:

  • Work in well-ventilated spaces
  • Cover skin completely including arms and legs
  • Wear an N95 face mask for lung protection
  • Discard sponges after each use to limit spread

Clearing Out the Dishwasher’s Interior

Before treating set-in mold, we’ll want full access to all dishwasher surfaces. Take the following preparatory steps:

  1. Remove bottom rack, silverware basket, and any detachable parts within the tub.
  2. Check instruction manual on properly removing any fixed interior parts.
  3. Place parts in sink or tub for individual deep cleaning.
  4. Use a plastic scraper to gently loosen any mold on interior walls and corners.
  5. Discard any irreparably moldy parts like hoses or fittings.

Cleaning Removable Dishwasher Parts

Tackling removable dishwasher pieces first helps prevent recontamination later. Follow this process:

  1. Mix warm water and mild detergent in a sink or tub.
  2. Use a specialized dishwasher cleaning brush to scrub pieces.
  3. Rinse soap residue until water runs clear.
  4. Allow parts to fully air dry before replacing in the dishwasher.

Treating Set-In Mold with Vinegar

For stuck-on mold inside the appliance itself, let vinegar work its magic. Known for antiseptic abilities, vinegar dissolves mold growth through contact.

Mixing the Vinegar Solution

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • Dishwasher safe container for top rack
  1. Pour vinegar into container and place on top rack.
  2. Remove other top rack parts to allow vinegar to flow freely.

Running a Vinegar Cycle

  1. Select the HOTTEST wash and dry setting.
  2. Run a full cycle allowing vinegar to penetrate all areas.
  3. Check for remaining mold and repeat as needed.

The heated vinegar steam permeates the dishwasher killing bacteria and loosening mold. For more cleaning power, add 1/2 cup baking soda in the main compartment before starting the cycle.

Scrubbing Hard to Reach Spots

Lingering mold may remain in hidden crevices even after the vinegar treatment. Use the following steps to ensure FULL removal from your dishwasher:

Toothbrush Technique

It may seem tedious but scrubbing with an old toothbrush reaches where sponges can’t:

  • Under silverware baskets
  • In detergent compartment corners
  • Around the rim of the tub
  • Within microscopic crevices

Dip the toothbrush in vinegar first then scrub affected nooks and crannies until mold disappears. This hand-brush agitation knocks off even microscopic mold remnants.

Special Attention to Gaskets

The rubber gasket around the door perimeter especially requires meticulous mold removal. Follow these gasket cleaning tips:

  • Grab a new toothbrush and baking soda paste.
  • Gently scrub the entire gasket surface area.
  • Rinse until zero slimy residue remains.
  • Remove gasket completely if scrubbing doesn’t eliminate mold.

Allow the gasket to completely air dry before reattaching and testing dishwasher function.

Preventing Repeat Mold Outbreaks

Now that existing mold was banished, let’s discuss key steps to stop colonization for good. Without prevention efforts, mold will likely return over time.

Monthly Maintenance Cleans

Regular deep cleaning is vital for an environment prone to mold growth.

Prevent mold between deep cleans by:

  • Frequently Running Hot Cycles
  • Not Overloading the Dishwasher
  • Proper Detergent Use
  • Allow Complete Drying Between Loads

Also consider installing a smart humidity sensor to monitor moisture levels.

When To Replace a Moldy Dishwasher

Before replacing your dishwasher completely, try these troubleshooting tips:

Adjust Existing Parts

  • Readjust or replace detachable parts like racks, hoses, jets etc.
  • Level the unit if leaning and causing water drainage issues.
  • Ensure proper ventilation around the unit.

Repairs and Upgrades

  • Replace faulty door gaskets or seals.
  • Install new filters or jets if clogged.
  • Update insulation around the tub.

If mold persists after part replacements and deep cleans, dishwasher installation may be the root cause. Seek professional assistance at that stage.

As evidenced by my mold removal journey, dishwasher gunk can happen unexpectedly but doesn’t have to cause permanent damage. Through vigilant upkeep and moisture control, mold can not only be eliminated but also prevented from returning.

Don’t live with lingering mildew smells or risk health side effects from spore exposure. Utilize cleaning methods like vinegar soaks for chemical-free treatment plus monthly maintenance regimens. With some elbow grease and prevention strategies, say goodbye to mold in your dishwasher once and for all!

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