Why You Should Leave Your Dishwasher Cracked Open After A Cycle

Dishwashers are major household and kitchen conveniences, significantly cutting down on how much time you spend cleaning your dishes. They also happen to be the more environmentally and economically sound option. As Treehugger explains, an Energy Star-certified dishwasher could save as much as $25 a year, as well as being better for the environment. Most modern dishwashers use significantly less water, energy, and soap when compared to hand-washing.

For as convenient and beneficial as dishwashers are, though, they're also machinery that needs proper maintenance and care. This includes a variety of tasks, from cleaning the machine and all its parts regularly, using the proper soaps and cleaners, and preventing potential issues. With all the hot water, soap, and food bits flying around inside your dishwasher, there are any number of potential issues that could arise.

While properly loading your machine and scheduling routine maintenance solves a lot of these issues, it doesn't account for every potential issue, especially the smaller ones. In fact, something as simple as cracking open your dishwasher after each cycle is done can do wonders to preserving the integrity of the machine.

Prevents mold in the dishwasher

On a practical note, opening your dishwasher before the dry cycle saves you some money on your electricity bill by letting your dishes air dry. However, it can also prevent the growth of mold, according to Domestic & General.

This is by no means an indicator of your kitchen's cleanliness, but rather a byproduct of the machine's design. As Ultra Fresh explains, mold grows best in very hot, moist, and dark environments. While that alone is enough for mold to take hold of your dishwasher, when you add in food scraps, that gives mold something to latch onto and sprout from.

Along with (as well as separately from) the mold, the damp environment is a breeding ground for unpleasant smells. The fix for this problem is incredibly simple: Crack your dishwasher open once the cycle is done. You can do this before the dry cycle to save some money, but definitely do so after the drying cycle is complete, as that's when the inside of the dishwasher will be at its hottest.

Getting rid of mold and smells

While cracking open your dishwasher is a great way to prevent mold from forming,  it won't get rid of any that's already taken hold. Luckily, getting rid of mold isn't too difficult, as long as you catch it early. While bleach is one of the more common ways to fight it off, be wary of using it in your dishwasher. As Daniel Appliance warns, bleach can ruin heating components of the machine.

Instead, stick to the tried-and-true combination of baking soda and vinegar. Begin by cleaning out the inside of the dishwasher by hand with a combination of water, white distilled vinegar, and baking soda in a spray bottle. Then, add a bit of vinegar to a small bowl and place it in the top rack. Finally, sprinkle baking soda around the bottom of the dishwasher and then run a cycle. If there's a substantial amount of mold, take out the racks and soak them while the cycle runs. The vinegar will also deodorize the dishwasher.