Can You Put Bleach in a Dishwasher – Possibly Dangerous?

Many people ask the question of whether it is safe to use bleach in the dishwasher for better results and to get the dishes cleaner. Bleach is always a good choice to get better results when it comes to hygiene and to have cleaner dishes.

There are those out there who believe it is safe to use bleach in your dishwasher, but we will investigate to see for ourselves. Some dishwasher manufacturers warn you not to use bleach with their dishwashers so we will find out why you may not.

Read on to find out if it is safe to use bleach in your dishwasher and if not, why is it not safe.

What Causes Mould And Odours?

Food particles that get stuck inside the dishwasher may cause the build-up of bacteria and eventually odors inside the dishwasher. These pieces of food can also get stuck in the racks and will cause mold growth and mildew inside the dishwasher.

By regularly rinsing the dishwasher with hot water you can get rid of most of these food particles that get stuck. It is a good idea to use soapy water to wash out the dishwasher on a regular basis to get rid of pieces of food.

Built-up grime caused by fatty foods may also cause the drain of the dishwasher to clog and cause odors inside the dishwasher. Soap scum that is left inside the dishwasher may also cause the drain to clog and cause mold growth inside the dishwasher.

Dish soap may be good for cleaning your dishes but it can also cause scum build-up that may cause bacteria to grow.

Can You Use Bleach In the Dishwasher?

Dishwashers are breeding places for bacteria and might also be a source for mold growth and even odours in your home. That is why you need to use something to get rid of the mold and odour-causing bacteria inside the dishwasher.

The most common way to get rid of all those things is by using bleach which is affordable and every household has it. But can you use bleach inside the dishwasher to get rid of odours and bacteria that may grow inside them?

Regular bleach used in the house is a great way to get rid of all pesticides on surfaces due to its antibacterial properties. It will also work very well inside the dishwasher if your dishwasher has a plastic finish on the inside of the washing area.

You can also use bleach inside your dishwasher if it is labelled by the manufacturer to be bleach safe, to get rid of odours. You can add one cup of bleach to your dishwasher when you wash dishes, but use rubber gloves when you do.

It is also safe to use regular bleach in your dishwasher during the washing cycle to get rid of mold growth and mildew.

Close-up of beach bottle

Can You Use Bleach In a Stainless Steel Dishwasher?

Do not use bleach in a stainless steel dishwasher because it will damage the stainless steel and it may stain it. You should also not use any solutions and cleaning sprays that contain any type of bleach with a stainless steel dishwasher.

Steps To Clean a Stainless Steel Dishwasher

Follow these steps to get rid of mold and mildew and any odours that may occur inside your stainless steel dishwasher.

  1. Remove all dishes from the dishwasher.
  2. Wash all build-up of food residue with a warm and soapy sponge, make sure all food deposits are removed.
  3. Place one cup of white vinegar in a bowl on the top shelf of the dishwasher.
  4. You should now run the dishwasher on the hottest cycle available for the dishwasher.
  5. When the cycle is complete, remove the bowl of vinegar from the dishwasher.
  6. Use baking soda to remove the acid of the vinegar from the dishwasher and balance the PH of the dishwasher.
  7. Be careful not to use vinegar on its own because of the high level of acidity which may damage your dishwasher after some time.
  8. The baking soda and vinegar mixture can also help clean clogged drains, by leaving it in for 10 to 15 minutes.
  9. The vinegar and baking soda mixture will also help to remove odors that may occur inside the dishwasher.
  10. A soda bomb is always a good way to clean up a clogged drain and a baking soda paste will help to clean the grime.

Safety Precautions

It is important that you use thick rubber gloves and a face mask when you use bleach to clean the dishwasher. Bleach can easily damage your skin, eyes, nose, and mouth so you need to keep it away from your face

You can also not use bleach when you use baking soda and or vinegar because they will react with the bleach. You can also use the dishwasher with the hottest cycle on without putting dishes inside it to kill off any germs and bacteria.

With the first sign of mold inside the dishwasher, you should use the right treatments to clean it.

Other Tips To Clean Your Dishwasher

You do not need to use bleach all the time; you can also use a soapy water solution to rinse your dishwasher daily. A spray bottle can also be used on a regular basis with only water or even a baking soda and vinegar solution.

Some dishwashers are made with a self-cleaning filter included helping get rid of the dirt that may cause odours and mold. Your standard chlorine bleach can be used in dishwashers with plastic interiors on a weekly basis to get rid of unpleasant odours.

If you leave dishes in the dirty dishwasher overnight there will be a good chance that there will be odours and mold very soon. Leaving a clean dishwasher overnight is always the best precaution to not have mold and odours inside it.

Dishwasher detergents may help to clean the dishes but they may clog the dishwasher so rinse it after every use. You should also wash the exterior and the interior of the dishwasher regularly to prevent bacteria growth on the inside and outside.

Easy tips anyone can follow right now

Warm water and a cup of vinegar in a bowl on the hottest cycle is the best way to get rid of unpleasant odours. Never allow any dirt or pieces of food to build up at any point inside the dishwasher to prevent bacteria to grow.

Most modern dishwashers come with a very hot cycle to help kill off any bacteria on the inside. If your dishwasher is always damp inside it may cause funny smells so a heated drying cycle without dishes can help with that.

The best way to be sure that you always have a clean dishwasher is to clean the gunk out by your hand first. This will help to make sure you have a safe dishwasher every time you use it to clean the dishes.

It will also prevent a dirty and smelly dishwasher that may not be very healthy for your loved ones. Also, always make sure that you use a rinse cycle in your dishwasher after even a short cycle that is followed by the hottest cycle.


It is possible to use standard chloride bleach in a dishwasher that has a plastic interior to clean away the bacteria. Stainless steel dishwashers are another case where you can use vinegar and baking soda to get rid of unpleasant smells.

Use this information to your advantage and keep that mold and bacteria away from your dishwasher.

Related Articles:

Leave a comment