27 answers

How Do I Clean a Dish Washer?

This is an odd request but I'm having trouble with my dishwasher--at least I think that's the culprit. Over the last few weeks, after running the dishwasher, I've noticed that the valves and the lids to my son's sippy cups have black in all of the groves and lips. It's disgusting and very hard to get out--the only way I can get to it is with a q-tip and even with that there are some spots that I just can't reach. The black stuff is not there before the wash but is there after. Today i stuck my head in the dishwasher and saw that what looks like the same black stuff (it looks like mold!! that is so disgusting that I can't bear to think of it) is up under the bottom of the door. Our dishwasher is very old--20 years, original with the house but we've only lived here for 2 years. Unfortunately i finally convinced my husband to replace the old stove this summer for safety reasons and I'm sure there's no way I can convince him to buy a dishwasher also in this economy. Does anyone know how to clean a dishwasher? Are there products out there that you use and run the dishwasher? Has anyone ever had this experience with old dishwashers or with their sippy cups? I'm so grossed out!!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Jet Dry makes a dishwasher cleaner that you hang off the top racka nd run the dishwasher and it 'should' clean up everything. If it doesn't help, I clean the straw inserst to my son's cups with a pipe cleaner to get anything thats hard to reach. Good Luck!

Vinegar worked best for me. Just add a cup to you washer and start the cycle. My mother-in-law suggested I do it monthly and it has worked like a charm. The thought of rinsing all my dishes with vinegar makes me a little sick so I run it empty. Good luck! I'm interested about the tang response you got earlier...

There is a product you can buy and I cannot think of the name of it. It is in stores near the rinse aids (jet dry, etc.) and dishwasher detergents.I have used it because I often notice a musty smell coming from my dishwasher and it seems to help.

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RepairClinic.com. They have tips for every make and model of just about every appliance ever made. They have advice for caring for and cleaning them as well as replacement parts and repair info. If it turns out that there is something wrong with the dishwasher and causing the mold, this site is great for helping get it fixed without expensive maintenence men -- recommended by the Debt Proof Living lady - Mary something. :)

1 mom found this helpful

If you bought a Home Warrranty with your house- we did and keep it updated every year, they can send soemone to fix it or they pay to replace it. IF not, you could try Appliance Smart which has some scratch and dent - many are just fine or the scratch is on the side that is hidden by the cabinet, and you could getone really cheap - like maybe $200. If it is mold, you are just putting your whole family thru it on the dishes. Good Luck

1 mom found this helpful

My dish washer had started to smell. I used the cleaner made by Cascade and my dishwasher smell great and dishes are much cleaner. You may also want to check the drain at the back. Sometimes it can become clogged with food particles. Ewwww! Hope this helps.

just and update: The cleaner I used may have been the one made by Jetdry mentioned in another reply. I don't remember exactly.

I hope someone responds to this b/c the exact same thing is happening to me too. It just started happening in the past two weeks and it is to my daughter's sippy cups lids as well. I also noticed the black spots on the top of my dishwasher door. I had to use a toothpick to get the stuff off and it is grossing me out! I have had to start handwashing those things and that just sours my mood. I live in an apartment and I don't think my dishwasher is very old.

Just out of curiosity...what kind of dishwashing detergent are you using?

Could you stick you back up there and spray the area w/ bleach? bleach kills mold; especially good in bathroom around tub area

Jet Dry makes a dishwasher cleaner that you hang off the top racka nd run the dishwasher and it 'should' clean up everything. If it doesn't help, I clean the straw inserst to my son's cups with a pipe cleaner to get anything thats hard to reach. Good Luck!

Give this a try... in an empty dishwasher spray it with clorox clean-up which has bleach in it (which kills mold.) Let it sit for 10 minutes, run the dishwasher. Before the drying session, brush it out genly with a scrub brush. Then run a session to rinse it out!

I use a spray or 2 of clorox cleanup in every dishwashing load with my dishwashing detergent to assure there is no bacteria or staph germs just to be on the safe side, so I know it won't harm your appliance or your family! Good luck! L.

try leaving the door open to dry out after u wash. take the vaulves out asap and shake out the access water. some vaulves just dont come clean...i got new cups with easy to clean vaulves(playtex). and some of them i always use a q-tip. good luck

Take the things in the bottom and wash also there is something by jetdry to use to clean the dishwasher and the dishwasher has to be empty to run it

Vinegar worked best for me. Just add a cup to you washer and start the cycle. My mother-in-law suggested I do it monthly and it has worked like a charm. The thought of rinsing all my dishes with vinegar makes me a little sick so I run it empty. Good luck! I'm interested about the tang response you got earlier...

First, make sure you don't put dishes with food residue in the washer. Try running your washer with some white vinegar in the bottom of it, that always is a safe cleaner.You can also use it to scrub the moldy areas in your washer as well. I have found that black gunk on my sippy cups too, it's gross, but common if you don't clean them really well. I try to soak them in hot soapy water to clean them. The dishwasher really doesn't do a great job cleaning them in my opinion. Good luck!

Vinegar should work. Put a cup of vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher and run the wash cycle. It is less caustic than bleach. Be sure to run the dishwasher empty for a cycle after the vinegar or bleach so there won't be any residue for your next load of dishes.

There is a product on the market just for this purpose. I can't remember what it is called but it is normally located next to the dishwasher soaps at the store. Also, what I do is take some Lime A way or my general spray cleaner, and clean the bottom of the inside of the door and the bottom of the dishwasher where the door sits above it. You'd be amazed of the gunk that builds up there!! It's a dishwasher, you'd think it would stay clean inside right!!?? If that doesn't help, try finding your book or finding it online, on how to get to the pump and make sure that is cleaned out as well. Food and gunkie build up can get trapped there as well.

If all else fails, Sears has been having some great sales on Kenmore appliances, and don't forget the price mathc plus 10% at Lowes if you find it cheaper some place else!! Or you can buy a bottle brush with the detachable nipple brush and hand wash the sippy cups for now.

Good luck!
S.

run it with hot water, but put vinegar instead of dishwashing soap

K.,

I think you should do the vinegar thing and then the baking soda. Also in the area where you see the black stuff, clean it with a bleach solution (wearing gloves) then throw the gloves and sponge away. I would actually do this prior to the vinegar. However, with that said, I have a brand new, stainless steele inside diswasher we just purchased this summer, and I find black spots on things every now and then. Is it possible that you have washed a cup or something that had a logo painted on it? I suspect with mine, that may be the problem.

Even if it is something besides paint, I suspect that with yours it is probably mildew that grows due to the steam and water--my guess is that since it is older, the seal is bad. Don't go overboard until you find out. I would check online. I bet the EPA or some other organization offers testing kits for free or very inexpensive.

Good luck!

I have had the same problem with my dishwasher..it's over 10 years old. I thought I was the only one that uses q-tips to clean out the sippy cup lids. Anyways there is a cleaner you can buy to clean the dishwasher I can't remember the name. It's in the dish soap isle. Is your jet dry low or out? Sometimes when my dishwasher is not doing it's job I fill up with jet dry. Hope this helps.

There is a product you can buy and I cannot think of the name of it. It is in stores near the rinse aids (jet dry, etc.) and dishwasher detergents.I have used it because I often notice a musty smell coming from my dishwasher and it seems to help.

If none of the great tips given work absolutely, if your personal household income is good, do not worry about the overall economy and purchase a new dichwasher - you will be helping the economy!

TANG, put TANG in where the detergent goes and run it through. Works great!

I am so glad that you and the other mom are reaching out for help.

If you really do have black mold, it could potentially be toxic and could cause illness and even death in children if they are drinking it or eating it.

Please stop using your dishwasher immediately and have it inspected. You should have a county extension office nearby that can look at a sample from your dishwasher if you take it in or mail it in. This should be free or very inexpensive. I live in Clayton County and the extension website can link you into the site for your own county:
http://www.co.clayton.ga.us/extension_svc/

Also, go read information on mold at the EPA.gov website:
http://www.epa.gov/mold/

I pray that you all get your help soon and get this taken care of ASAP.

God bless!

P.S.
I was a victim of mold in an apartment that I lived in before purchasing my home. It caused me to choose throwing 80% of my stuff away or risk keeping it and contaminating my new home. In addition, me and the kids were sick all of the time while we were there, and I had a miscarriage after we moved. It took me about 3 years or so to get over the effects on my own health. I am still having issues with my memory from the time period when I lived there.
So, please take it seriously and get help now.

Here are a few DIY tips for you...add one tbsp of bleach to an empty dishwasher and run a full cycle, that will get rid of any mold. Also if there is hard water stains, pour in 1/2 a container of Tang drink mix....I know it sounds silly, but it says it works, this one I haven't tried. The final suggestion, which I have done myself, put a cup of vinegar in the cup rack of your of your dishwasher and run a cycle. It will take away any smells...if you don't have vinegar use baking soda. My mom also gave me a tip, if the drain in your kitchen sinks start to not smell so fresh, sprinkle in a nice amount of baking soda in the sink and down the drain and pour vinegar on it. I hope some of these ideas work for you...Good Luck, I understand your pain, I have a very sensitive nose and must have everything clean!!!

Seems that vinegar in the dishwasher would do it. pour it in a cup set it on the top shelf and turn it on. You can also put baking soda in there and run it...DO NOT do it in the same cycle...according to the site I was just on, it cancels each other out. The site also says you can put in sugar free lemonade powder mix and run it or baking soda. Sites say you should clean you dishwasher once a month- run it with nothing but a cup of vinegar, or one of the powders in it. I would stay away from the muratic acid the site talkes about. YUCK and how would you know the stuff is 'really' gone??

Try googleing 'clean dishwasher' and see what you get. BUT, after 20 years? I think you should pat the dishwasher door and say 'job well done' and hed to Sears for a new one.

So easy. Actually, just Google it. That's what I did. I don't know your family's personal economic situation and, if it's really tight, I understand the hesitation to spend hundreds of dollars -- but, with what I just read, I cannot imagine your husband would say no to keeping your child safe... Posed that way, and assuming it's within your budget, and knowing figuring the water efficiency... maybe going to a scratch and dent place -- getting one that's a year or two old for a lot less than retail -- why don't you personally check it out (yellow pages) and price it? They usually offer to haul away the old one and deliver the new one -- or you can haggle that into the price... I think I'd be proactive there... It'll be quieter, roomier, clean better, look better, etc.

In the meantime, just Google or Ask.com how to clean a dishwasher.

hi! We have a funky dish washer, it sprays some type of sandy residue back on the dishes and also came w/ the house!I know there is a product that you can use to clean the dw simply by running it through (empty) on a hot cycle...but I can not place it! I've had the best result by taking the valves out or cups that have them, which does not alter the flow much and switching to "nuby" brand cups that do not have a valve at all, they also have a soft/natural top...good luck!

Hi K.

Bad news...it is not your dishwasher!! The plugs for the cups mold if you do not get the water and milk out of the smallest area. I stopped buying the typical sippy cup from Gerber or whoever. Target sells one from Munchkin (I think that is how they spell it) that is either orange or green with pink and purple tops. The plug in it is a lot different than the others. I have resorted to only buying this cup. They are the only true spill proof I can find. They have survived my kids throwing them, kicking them, and whatever else that the others did not. And the best news...I have never had mold in the plug. I throw them in the dishwasher and they are fine. It gets better...one cup is only $0.99. So, I have stopped buying any other cup but this one. I hope this helps! I too went crazy trying to figure out what the black yuck was until my sister, with two older kids, told me. Good luck!!

I was told by a dishwasher repairman to use tang in my detergent dispenser and run an empty dishwasher through the full cycle with it. He said that if you don't have tang that you can use vitamin c tablets. I have done it and it did work.

i have had the same problem, and my dishwasher is about ten years old...i'd love to know what responses you get! i've just tried cleaning it while it's turned off...with cleaners and a sponge...but if you can put something in there and run it to clean it good...that would be better..

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