When I moved into my new place several years ago, there was one thing I was so excited about -- a dishwasher! Finally! I had never had one before. Not that doing dishes by hand is the worst thing in the world, but it sure saves time when you can just load up all your dirty plates into the washer, flip a button, and forget about it for an hour while you do other things. Plus, you can cook dinner in one. Little did I know that when I bought a brand new dishwasher and paid some muscular dudes to install it that I was actually installing a death machine. According to one of those buzzkill studies, dishwashers contain a host of fungi and they can do some sick things like colonize in your lungs. Sponge, anyone?
The study looked at dishwashers from around the world and concluded that the "high-temperature, moist, alkaline environment" of the dishwasher makes it a perfect breeding ground for all kinds of gross stuff. "Yeast-like species" such as Exophiala (black yeasts), Rhodotorula (red yeasts), and Candida parapsilosis (white yeasts) were discovered in the majority of washers. I don't know what that crap is but it doesn't sound good.
Fungi sends spores out into the air -- and then you can breathe it in. The fungi then can colonize and cause infections in your lungs or on your skin. People with immune suppression diseases are especially vulnerable. However, also at risk are adults and children taking antibiotics or diabetics.
Fortunately, you can kill this stuff, but it takes a lot of work, and even then there's no guarantee it will work. You're advised to hand-wash the trays of your dishwasher once a month with vinegar. You should do this with a toothbrush (seriously?!), getting into all the little nooks and crannies, especially the rubber seals on the doors. Then you run the dishwasher with a small bowl of vinegar on the top tray. Then you sprinkle it with baking soda and run it again. Then you run it AGAIN with a commercial dishwasher cleaner. Then you hand clean all surfaces with bleach and hot water.
Dishwashers were supposed to make cleaning easier -- not more difficult!
So chalk this up to yet another supposed danger I will ignore because I actually want to spend my life living it and not obsessing about what is going to kill me. Because, trust me, it will be something eventually.
Will you superclean your dishwashers now?
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