Can You Clean a Dishwasher with Bleach?

If you’re like most people, your dishwasher is one of the appliances in your home that you use daily. It’s essential to keep it clean to continue running effectively and efficiently. 

However, can you clean a dishwasher with bleach?

This blog post will discuss the best way to clean your dishwasher and what products you can use to do so.

Can You Clean a Dishwasher with Bleach?

How to clean dishwasher with bleach

Yes, you can clean a dishwasher with bleach.

However, it is not a safe method because the concentration of the bleach is too intense for the metal parts and tubes within your appliance, which could cause corrosion damage over time. 

The chemicals in bleach can also cause a hard smell to get rid of. It would be best to use dishwasher cleaners instead, which are made specifically for cleaning your appliance. 

Below we have provided some additional information on how you can clean a dishwasher with bleach, vinegar, or baking soda and why these products are the best choices when it comes time to give your dishwasher a good scrub.

Cleaning a Dishwasher Using Bleach

Despite being harmful, bleach is a powerful disinfectant that can kill bacteria and other microorganisms.

To wash your dishwasher using bleach:

  1. First, empty the dishwasher of all dishes and rinse it out well. 
  2. Next, mix one cup full of bleach with one gallon of water in a bucket or spray bottle. 
  3. Then, spray or pour the mixture onto every surface inside your dishwasher. 
  4. Let it sit for at least ten minutes, then rinse with warm water and dry thoroughly. 

After using bleach to clean your dishwasher, you should always make sure that everything is rinsed out of the appliance before use again because leftover residue could irritate sensitive skin or cause allergic reactions. 

Bleach is a powerful chemical, and you should use it with caution. Always read the label before using it and wear gloves when handling it.

How to Clean a Dishwasher with Bleach Alternative Products

If you want something not as harsh as bleach and still effective at cleaning your dishwasher, we recommend purchasing dishwasher cleaner pods or tablets instead of powdered cleaners.

These usually consist of natural ingredients and do not rust the metals in your dishwasher like bleach can.

To use a dishwasher cleaner pod or tablet:

  1. Add the product to your dishwasher’s detergent dispenser.
  2. Run the dishwasher on its hottest cycle.
  3. The great thing about these alternative cleaners is that they also help remove bad smells from your appliance, so you don’t have to worry about leaving a bleach smell behind.

Cleaning a Dishwasher Using Vinegar

Vinegar is one of the most popular and effective cleaners for dishwashers. It is biodegradable and non-toxic, making it a safe choice for your home and appliances.

To wash your dishwasher using vinegar:

  1. Pour a cup of vinegar into the dishwasher’s detergent dispenser.
  2. Run the dishwasher on its hottest cycle.
  3. After your dishwasher has finished running, let it sit for an additional hour to allow the vinegar to work its magic.

Cleaning a Dishwasher Using Baking Soda

Easy steps to clean the inside of a dishwasher

Baking soda is another popular and effective cleaner for dishwashers. It is a natural abrasive which helps to clean and deodorize your appliance.

To clean your dishwasher with baking soda:

  1. Sprinkle ½ cup of baking soda onto the bottom of the dishwasher before adding detergent or running it through any cycle. It will help to remove stains and odors.
  2. After sprinkling the baking soda onto the bottom of your dishwasher, run it on its hottest cycle to help remove any food particles or grease from within the appliance.
  3. If you still have issues with bad smells coming from your dishwasher, we recommend running it through a hot water rinse instead of a normal one.

What Does Bleach Do in a Dishwasher?

When you put bleach in a dishwasher; 

  • It can harm the rubber seal and allow water to seep into the dishwasher. If the leaking water isn’t noticed right away, it will be pulled back into the dishwasher during the drain cycle and will mix with your dishes, posing a health risk. 
  • Bleach is a powerful oxidizing agent and can cause the rubber gasket around the door to break down. Exposure to chlorine can make a dishwasher’s plastic parts brittle and lead it to become dull or yellow over time. 
  • Additionally, excess heat from bleach might warp the interior liner of the dishwasher and destroy its ability to clean the dishes. 
  • Bleach attacks the plastic parts of the dishwasher, causing them to become brittle or yellow, as well as damaging the rubber gasket at the door of your dishwasher.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Is My Dishwasher Smelly?

Your dishwasher may smell bad because particles have accumulated in the machine’s nooks and crannies, such as the drain area, filter, and other corners.

These deposits decompose, emitting a nasty odor, making you want to move the dishwasher out of the kitchen.

What Happens When You Mix Vinegar and Bleach?

When you mix vinegar and bleach, you will produce potentially dangerous chlorine gas.

If you notice a strong odor after mixing these household cleaners, get out of the area as soon as possible and try to breathe in some fresh air.

Are Chlorine and Bleach Similar?

Yes, chlorine and bleach are similar since they have nearly identical ingredients (calcium hypochlorite is the major component).

Bleach has roughly 5.25 percent chlorine per gallon, with the rest being water and a small amount of salt to keep the chlorine liquid.

Final Thoughts

Although it is possible to clean a dishwasher with bleach, we do not recommend it. Bleach can damage the dishwasher and may cause harmful fumes. 

As discussed above, there are many other products that you can use to clean a dishwasher safely and effectively.