How to Get Rid of Dishwasher Slugs

If you think finding a slug in your garden is gross, imagine finding crawling slugs under your dishwasher. Yuck doesn't even begin to cover it. Fortunately, it's easy to get rid of slugs that find their way into the dishwasher, and there are steps you can take to prevent future slug gross-outs. You can also rest assured knowing that your dishwasher isn't the only one to have housed one of these slimy pests.

Midsection of woman using dishwasher while standing in kitchen
credit: Kentaroo Tryman/Maskot/GettyImages
Fortunately, it's easy to get rid of slugs that find their way into the dishwasher, and there are steps you can take to prevent future slug gross-outs.

Wash Them Away

After the surprise of finding a slug in your dishwasher, give your pulse a few minutes to recover and return to normal. When it has, reach for the bleach. Fill your dishwasher's soap dispenser with said bleach and run the machine empty. The bleach will help kill the slug and remove any slime trails he left behind.

A solution of bleach and water is often used to sanitize dishes, so running some bleach through your dishwasher is perfectly safe for you and your family. If you have any concerns, however, place your regular detergent in your dishwasher and run it once again without dishes to rinse away any residual chemicals.

Belly Up to the Bar

As fate would have it, slugs enjoy beer almost as much as frat boys. Many gardeners use this knowledge to set slug traps, but you can use a slug beer trap indoors as well. To do so, simply fill a shallow dish with some beer. According to Tree Hugger, it only takes about 1 inch of beer to get the job done. Place the beer container in the bottom of your dishwasher. Hopefully, the slug will stop by for a drink, fall into the beer dish and drown.

Give Slugs a Hand

If you're not the squeamish type, the easiest way to remove a slug from your dishwasher is to simply pick him up while wearing gloves or using a pair of tongs. You can then drop him into a bucket of water to drown him. Slugs are, however, living creatures, albeit disgusting ones. If you prefer a more humanitarian approach, take your collected slugs outside and release them in your yard or garden.

Not only does hand picking slugs provide a kinder approach, but it also helps you get rid of as many slugs as possible. If you have slugs under your dishwasher as well as in it, it's easy to reach under the appliance. Cleaning the appliance with bleach or setting traps inside it, however, won't eliminate slugs near the dishwasher who have yet to make their way inside.

Slugs in the Bathroom

If you have slugs in your dishwasher, chances are you have slugs in other parts of your home as well. Although you can deal with them one at a time, it's best to figure out where the slugs are coming in and seal the gap. The slugs will actually help you do this. Whenever you find a slug, turn off the lights and use a flashlight to find and follow their slime trail. By following the trail backward, you can find the hole that the slug crawled in and seal it with expanding foam or another barrier to keep future slugs out. Install sweeps under your doors and seal any cracks around your windows as well.

Take It Outside

Fewer slugs outside means fewer slugs inside, so take a look around the yard after sealing up your home. Reduce the presence of slugs in your garden by sprinkling diatomaceous earth around your house and landscaping with highly scented plants that slugs don't like. Rosemary, lavender and sage all repel these slimy critters. Avoid slug-attracting plants like marigolds, dahlias, hostas and lettuce.

You can also minimize slugs by removing their hiding places. Rake up fallen leaves and keep your mulch no more than 3 inches deep. Water your plants in the morning to give your garden time to dry out before slugs go looking for an evening meal. If the zoning regulations in your area allow it, consider getting some pet ducks. Ducks are voracious slug-eaters and can drastically reduce the slug population around your home.


Michelle Miley

Michelle Miley

Home is where the heart is, and Michelle frequently pens articles about ways to keep yours looking great and feeling cozy. Whether you want help organizing your closet, picking a paint color or finishing drywall, Michelle has you covered. If she's not puttering in the house, you'll find her in the garden playing in the dirt. Her garden articles provide tips and insight that anyone can use to turn a brown thumb green. You'll find her work on Modern Mom, The Nest and eHow as well as sprinkled throughout your other online home decor and improvement favorites.