A dishwasher is a potential harbor for germ build-up as the various microorganisms of grease, food, oil, etc. gather together to set up camp in the crevices of the dishwasher’s parts.
When this happens, dishes are not effectively cleaned because that build-up prevents the dishwasher pump from exerting the required pressure for the water to do its job.
Dishes that have not been thoroughly cleaned spell bacteria and bacteria translate into infections and diseases. Take out the dishwasher disinfectant and do some preventive action now. Preferably, use one that is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and has very strong disinfecting properties to kill salmonella, gram negative bacteria and e-coli, common types of bacteria that can turn into deadly infections.
Cleaning The Dishwasher Before Disinfecting
First you clean the dishwasher’s door by wiping it a soft cloth dipped in ¼ cup of baking soda mixed with 1 quart of water. Don’t use scouring pads as they will scratch the door surface. Wipe it dry after it has been thoroughly cleaned. Get at its top and sides by using a toothbrush dipped in hot water with some detergent and scrub gently in and around these areas.
Brush well into the crevices and the rubber seal’s grooves as well as the hinges. Wipe up whatever grime results with a sponge dipped in hot sudsy water.
Remember to wipe off any left solution with a clean wet sponge. Repeat the procedure if some dirt still remain. There will be debris in and around the drain area so use paper towels to catch any from the dishwasher’s base.
After removing the debris, run the dishwasher on a full cycle after setting up one cup of white vinegar on the top rack. Make sure that the water is on its highest possible temperature to give off enough heat to melt any left over grease or oil. Wipe the dishwasher’s inside after the cycle run with a dry cloth.
If you prefer your dishwasher to have a “clean” scent, use a cup of baking soda on the tub’s bottom. Next, take out the holders for the utensils as well as the racks and wash away any leftover particles or debris that may have remained on them. Remove any clogs in the spray arm by scrubbing it with a used toothbrush.
Remember to allow disinfection to set in before rinsing off any solution. Dry them thoroughly, making sure that no disinfectant has left any residue.
Clean, Sanitize and Disinfect are Three Different Matters
Choosing dishwasher cleaning products for your dishwasher is not as hard as you think. Simply put, read the label and take note of what it says. Remember that “clean” is not “sanitize” which is not “disinfect.”
The first merely gets rid of all surface dirt and debris while the second eliminates 99.9% of germs and the third kills “nearly 100%” of germs. All three descriptions are in compliance with the EPA.
Look for the EPA registration number on the bottle or packaging of the disinfectant, as well as the words “warning” and “caution” and any information about its safe use on surfaces that come into contact with food (to be on the safe side, parts of your dishwasher like utensil holders should be washed after disinfection has been established).
If your household has very young children, dishwasher disinfectant that contains high amounts of chlorine, phenol, quaternary ammonium or alcohol that may cause irritation to young children’s mucous membranes, eyes and skin should not be used.