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Why Is There Pink Mold in My Dishwasher? (Explained)

A dishwasher is the most convenient appliance in today’s modern home that makes life easier by saving you from washing dishes several times a day. Moreover, it provides cleaner and hygienic dishes than washing them by hand and also prevents germs. 

In fact, it can be a real pleasure to use but it must be maintained carefully otherwise it may adversely affect your efficiency.

Why is there pink mold in my dishwasher?

Pink mold can build up in the dishwasher if they get clogged food, air and moisture into it. Normally, an unclean and dirty dishwashing machine attracts pink mold. However, if the moisture is trapped in the door gasket and they find their optimal temperature, it may even cause their repeated growth.

The pink mold in the dishwasher is a sign of bacterial growth, primarily caused by the residue of the bacterium Serratia marcescens. It has an adhesive cell matrix and can remain as a colony form, appearing as pink slime. 

Typically, these fuzzy microorganisms can be found growing beneath any wet surface, and the dishwasher can be an ideal location for them to grow. 

The presence of moisture trapped in the door gasket if not adequately cleaned in a normal wash cycle is the main reason for their residue. Another reason for their continuous growth could be an inappropriate temperature like humid air that is optimal for their growth. 

If the gasket is not cleaned properly at least once a week after regular usage, or if it is left undried after each use, it can be a large reason for its recurrent regrowth. 

It will be tough to get rid of these infective fungi after the dishwasher has been affected. These pink molds are one of the causes of food poisoning, putting users’ lives in danger. If not properly maintained, it may induce diarrhea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal problems. 

Here are briefly discussed the reasons why pink mold can be find in dishwasher: 

An unclean and dirty dishwashing machine: 

Serattia marsicens is most commonly found in the presence of food particles. If any food debris gets into the dishwasher cabinet and isn’t cleaned correctly, it’ll be an ideal environment for these pink molds to thrive. 

Pink mold can sometimes move into the dishwasher cabinet due to a clogged internal filter. It should be advised to clean it every month.

Inappropriate temperature: 

Pink molds thrive in humid environments. If the dishwasher is put near a source of cold air, they will most likely thrive. If the humidity in the kitchen exceeds sixty percent, the pink molds will find a safe haven. 

Lack of proper ventilation: 

Dishwashers need proper ventilation so that the machine can run efficiently. When the dishwashing area has a lack of ventilation, it will increase the humidity in that area, making the bacteria stay for a long time.

Is pink mold in your dishwasher dangerous? 

Mold spores can always be found in the air and when they find a food and moisture source they start growing into colonies. Exposure to any type of mold isn’t safe for our health. Pink mold can also cause different health problems though they are not as serious as black molds. 

In fact, pink mold can cause a myriad of health concerns for anyone who is exposed to it, especially for kids, seniors, and people with weak immune systems.

Pink mold can cause persistent infections as well as allergic reactions and even more serious cases, it can lead to blood poisoning, bone infections, pneumonia, meningitis, gastrointestinal trouble, and even heart problems. 

S. marcescens can cause infections of the eye, respiratory tract, and urinary tract to the poor health. If A. pullulans exposed over the long term can lead to “ humidifier lung,” that causes fever, cough and even difficulty in breathing.

What causes pink mold in dishwashers?

Serratia marcescens, the pink mold commonly seen in dishwashers, is an airborne bacteria that thrive in high moisture and unclean environments. 

When the dishwasher lacks cleanliness, or fatty food particles remain in the cabinet of the dishwasher. 

Or when the temperature changes due to external factors such as rainy days when the air in that area is humidified to more than 60%, most pink molds find it easy to establish a residence.

Temperature change: 

Pink molds have a temperature-dependent growth curve. They thrive in temperatures ranging from 20 to 45 degrees Celsius. Pink molds are quickly infected if the dishwasher machine does not provide an appropriate temperature. 

Because commercial dishwashers wash at 55 ℃ and rinse at 85 ℃, any set of changes is likely to result in mold growth.

Clogged food and Fatty, greasy residues: 

Foods get frequently clogged in the rubber seal, water filters, gasket and the bottom of the dishwasher. Bacteria enjoy fat content stuff that plugs into the dishwasher when not cleaned properly. 

Additionally, because these greasy, fatty food particles are difficult to remove from the dishwasher, the pink mold has an easy time multiplying its numbers.

Stagnant water and stale air: 

Another problem is a dishwasher filter that is damaged or penetrated, providing an ideal breeding environment for pink molds as they thrive into stagnant water and stale air.

How to prevent pink mold in the dishwasher? 

If you’re concerned about pink mold in your dishwasher, follow these ideas to prevent them: 

Wash the dishwasher: 

It’s wise to clean your dishwasher once a month because regular cleaning will keep mold from building up in the dishwasher. You can use a chlorine-based detergent or rinse it with baking soda and white vinegar to clean the dishwasher more thoroughly.

Dry out the dishwasher:

After every wash cycle make sure your dishwasher is getting completely dry between cycles because there’s moisture inside it that helps mold to build up. 

Clean the filter: 

As it gets circulated around the wash tub during cycles, there are many food particles and debris inside it and it becomes pink mold infectious. So make sure to deeply clean the filter once a week. 


Sanitize your machine once a week by wiping down with a kitchen sanitiser and then leave it empty for two wash cycles to rinse it away.

Ensure the correct temperature: 

55c wash to allow detergents work effectively and an 85c rinse to terminate any bacteria or mold is recommended for any commercial dishwasher. 

Keep the door shut: 

Whenever it’s turned on make sure the door is shut and never load up with crockery while the door is open.

How do I get rid of pink mold in my dishwasher? 

To get rid of pink mold, your dishwasher needs proper deep cleaning. Follow these steps: 

Clean the filter: 

Filter is normally circular that is placed in the bottom of the dishwasher, rotate it and lightly pull, it’ll come out. The place is one of the pink mold infectious places, so it needs proper cleaning. 

Wash it by using dishwashing soap with a good scrub in warm water and then rinse it with hot water. If the dirt is stubborn, using a toothbrush will be easy to coax them out. But be careful while cleaning. It is quite delicate.

Clean the gasket: 

The gasket is another place where mold and bacteria collect. It has to be deep cleaning and sanitizing thoroughly with warm water or by using white vinegar otherwise it’ll not work. But be sure, before placing it in the dishwasher, it has to dry off thoroughly. 

Rinse with baking soda and White Vinegar: 

Make the dishwasher empty and then spray it with the mixture of vinegar, baking soda, and water and leave it overnight. After that, leave it on for a short hot water cycle. 

It’ll not only terminate the mold but also remove any remaining odors from the mold as well. 

What to do with pink mold in dishwasher pipes? 

Dishwasher pipes can get pink mold infectious If the dishes are not clean and food particles, grease, debris, etc. are clogged into it. Putting the unclean dishes with tiny particles in the dishwasher is not the appropriate way as it attracts mold. 

It may get clogged and face trouble while running and also cause water to come back into the dishwasher.

So it’s important to check the dishes before giving it for cleaning and clean it regularly so that the machine works properly. Baking soda, vinegar, auger etc. are very useful in abolishing grease, food residue, food debris. 

Use 1 cup of baking soda or place one cup of vinegar into the empty dishwasher rack and run the washer will break all the grease into the dishwasher pipes and also make it germ-free. And for, stuck particles moving out using auger will give the best result. 

Final Thoughts 

Because of oil, grease, food particles, proper moisture in the unclean dishwasher, pink molds build up and spread. If once they find their optimum environment there, they can have continuous growth. It’s concerning having pink molds in the dishwasher as it causes many health diseases.