Your dishwasher just might be a safe haven for mold. Think about it – what gets left behind in your machine on a regular basis? Food particles and moisture! After all, a dishwasher exists to clean leftover food off your plates and utensils, but what happens to the particles that are cleaned off? Where does the washed off food go? And don’t forget about moisture- especially if you choose to save energy and air dry. Luckily, there’s a whole bunch of quick and easy ways to protect your dishwasher from a mold problem that could stain the inside of your appliance, in addition to being ugly and all-around unhealthy.
Clean the filter
According to HomeGuides, the filter at the bottom of your dishwasher is particularly prone to mold thanks to the food particles that make their way in. To deal with this potential problem, they recommend removing the filter and cleaning it regularly. Of course, your machine may have a self-cleaning model, but Consumer Reports notes that most new machines (less than ten years old) have manual clean filters as they’re much quieter.
Run an Empty Wash and Always Check the Silverware Trays
It’s recommended that if you own a dishwasher, you should run an empty wash at least once a week. An empty load allows the machine to remove and wash off most of the leftover food particles that get stuck in areas inside the machine. However, one area an empty wash may not help is the silverware tray, which is where tons of gross food particles tend to collect. Your best bet is to clean it out manually after every wash.
Stock up on Vinegar and Baking Soda
To really clean out your dishwasher, OneGoodThing suggests a three-step wash. The first step is to check the drain and clean it out using an old toothbrush and some vinegar. Once this is done, put a bowl full of vinegar in the top rack of your washer (with the machine otherwise empty) and run a cycle with the hottest water possible (try running your facet for a few seconds before to eliminate cold water). Once this is done, repeat the process, but instead of a bowl of vinegar, sprinkle a handful of baking soda into the bottom of your washer. After this process, your dishwasher should be spic and span!
Let Your Machine Dry Out
Finally, make sure to air out the dishwasher and let it dry. Many people choose not to use the dry function on their machines in an effort to save time or energy, which is fine. However, if you’re going to do this make sure to leave the dishwasher door open so that there’s no build-up of moisture and mildew.