How to Get Rid of Bugs in a Dishwasher

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
To get bugs out of your dishwasher, remove any dishes, place a bowl of vinegar on the top rack and run the appliance on its hottest setting.
Image Credit: monkeybusinessimages/iStock/GettyImages

It's admittedly gross to think about, but the odds of finding roaches in your dishwasher are relatively high. Roaches and many other insects love small, dark spaces that contain both water and food. Your dishwasher fits the bill perfectly, creating a paradise for a wide assortment of six-legged creatures.


Video of the Day

Getting rid of the bugs in your dishwasher is easy to do, but you must do so safely. Don't freak out and start spraying Raid in the dishwasher as this and other pesticides use toxins to kill insects that aren't safe to use around your dishes. Instead, execute a plan to get rid of the bugs and keep them away.


To get bugs out of your dishwasher, remove any dishes, place a bowl of vinegar on the top rack and run the appliance on its hottest setting.

Removing Bugs in the Dishwasher

If you find bugs in your dishwasher, remove all of the dishes in the appliance and set them aside. Then, remove the bottom rack and look for the drain filter on the bottom of the unit. Take it out and give it a thorough cleaning before you do anything else. Most filters pop out easily with a simple twist, but every manufacturer is different. Consult the dishwasher's manual if you get stuck.


After cleaning the drain filter, put it back in the dishwasher along with the bottom rack. Fill a cup or bowl with vinegar and place it on the top rack of the empty dishwasher before running the unit on the highest possible temperature setting. The hot water will kill any lingering insects and the vinegar will help sanitize the dishwasher.

Now that you've cleaned the dishwasher, load it back up with the dishes you set aside earlier and wash them. Do this even if your dishes were clean when you discovered the bugs in the dishwasher. Some insects carry disease, so it's best to wash any dishes they may have crawled across.


Read more: How to Naturally Clean Your Dishwasher (And How Often You Need to Clean It)

Ongoing Dishwasher Maintenance

Once you've gotten rid of the bugs in your dishwasher, take steps to keep future visitors out. Put away your clean dishes and then take a careful look around the inside of the appliance. If you see any small holes or cracks that don't serve to let water in or out, seal them with caulk.

The Canadian company known as The Exterminators recommends "mixing one part boric acid, two parts flour, two parts cocoa and sprinkling them around areas in your kitchen" to kill any remaining insects. Make sure you apply this dust under your dishwasher.


To keep your dishwasher clean and bug-free, clean it every other week by running it empty save for a cup of vinegar. Always remember to thoroughly clean the drain filter when you do, as this is where the tasty food particles that attract insects are most likely to get trapped.

Make the Kitchen Off Limits

To get to your dishwasher, bugs first need to find their way into your kitchen. You can greatly reduce the number of insects your kitchen harbors by making it less attractive to them. First, always do your dishes and clean up promptly after meals and snacks. Wipe down your tabletops and counters often and avoid leaving dirty dishes in the sink or dishwasher too long, even if you've rinsed them.


Take out the trash daily rather than letting it pile up in the trashcan. Seal your food tightly before storing it, opting for airtight containers or food storage bags. Stash leftovers in the fridge right away and wipe down syrup bottles and other containers that get sticky before putting them back in the cupboard. Rinse your recyclables before tossing them in your recycling bin, too, especially if you keep your bin indoors or close to your home.

Read more: Smart Ways to Naturally Keep Pesky Bugs Out of Your Kitchen and Pantry Closet

Sweep and mop your floors regularly to remove any dropped food and keep all of your appliances clean. Ovens, toasters, coffee pots and other common kitchen appliances can tempt roaches and other insects just as quickly as a dirty dishwasher.