You look around your home and you think it looks clean. The countertops are clear, you’ve vacuumed the floors, and all the dishes are in the dishwasher. Little do you know that in that dishwasher, your dishes are in the company of microbes.
It seems like every day we’re hearing about a new area of our homes that’s nastier than we thought. Today it’s the dishwasher, as we’ve learned from researchers at a university in Slovenia.
Here’s what you need to know about your kitchen stowaways and how to protect yourself from even the best dishwasher.
What Could Be Living in My Dishwasher?
Last year, researchers from the University of Ljubljana published a study. During the study, they’d swabbed the rubber seals from many dishwashers. They took a close look at these seal swabs to see what microbes were making their homes.
As it turns out, there were quite a few of them.
The team found a large group of fungi and bacteria on the seals. Some specific types were more common than others, including the bacterium Pseudomonas and the fungus Candida.
It’s actually surprising to know how many microbes are in a typical dishwasher when you think about the environment. The temperatures, moisture levels, and acidity levels are always shifting.
These factors make a dishwasher an environment that isn’t usually microbe-friendly. As a result, only certain microbes can survive in the environment.
The research team believes that most often, those microbes are coming in through your tap water that supplies your dishwasher.
Will My Dishwasher Make Me Sick?
The idea of fungus and bacteria on your dishes is enough to take away anyone’s appetite. Are they dangerous, though?
In most cases, no. The most common microbes that the Slovenian researchers found are known as opportunistic pathogens. This means that they only tend to cause infections in people with poor immune systems.
We aren’t talking about people who pick up every flu or cold that comes through their workplace. We’re talking about people with medical conditions that tank their immune systems. This includes people with immune disorders and people who are taking immunosuppressant medications due to an organ transplant.
In particular, the researchers think dishwasher microbes may be linked to a certain type of infection in immune-compromised people called a mycoses infection. Mycoses infections are caused by a specific fungus that’s rare in nature but prevalent in dishwashers.
Still, this is a theory and there is no direct evidence of a link.
Do I Need the Best Dishwasher on the Market to Keep Me Safe?
After reading this, you may decide that you don’t want to take risks with your help. What can you do? Do you need the best dishwasher on the market to keep you safe?
Your dishwasher itself has little to do with the microbes. You probably didn’t know your dishwasher harbored microbes until today, and most other people don’t either.
As a result, dishwasher designers don’t tend to worry about making dishwashers more sterile because their customers aren’t asking for it.
This doesn’t mean you have to be a sitting duck, though. There are several steps you can take toward cleaner, safer dishes.
Keep Your Immune System at Its Best
Medical factors play a large role in your immune system. There are plenty of lifestyle factors that will have an impact too, though.
Stress and a lack of sleep can both reduce your immune system, so find ways to manage your stress and work sleep into your schedule.
Poor nutrition can weaken your immune system too, so make sure you maintain a balanced diet.
Clean Your Dishwasher
Chances are that you haven’t thought much about cleaning your dishwasher until today. It’s easier than you think, though.
Learn about this product that cleans your dishwasher with a simple monthly routine. While fighting microbes, it also improves your dishwasher’s scent and helps it perform better.
Another way to keep your dishwasher microbes to a minimum is to wipe the rubber seal in the dishwasher. This is where microbes tend to accumulate the most. If you wipe it down after each cycle, microbes won’t have as much of a chance to thrive.
Hold Your Horses
Staying safe from dishwasher microbes it’s just a matter of reducing the number of microbes. You can also protect yourself by keeping the microbes contained.
When you open your dishwasher soon after the cycle finishes, you release hot air full of microbes into your home. The more places those microbes reach, the more likely they are to get into your body.
To keep them under control, wait to open your dishwasher until it’s had time to cool down after a cycle.
Invest in a Filtering System
As we mentioned above, researchers believe that dishwasher microbes get in from your tap water. That means you can keep the microbes at bay by blocking them from getting in.
The best way to do this is with a point of entry filtration system. This is a water filter you install at your water source. It filters all the water before it reaches your appliances like your dishwasher as well as your faucets.
Keep in mind that buying and installing these systems can be pricey. The cost may not be worth the payoff unless you or someone in your family has a compromised immune system or you live in an area with extensive water contamination.
Evicting Your Microbe Tenants
Like it or not, we live in an ecosystem and we aren’t the only creatures who live in it. The reality is that there are microbes all over your home no matter how well you clean. Unless you live in a clinical clean room, that isn’t likely to change.
There are, however, ways you can keep them to a minimum. The tips above can make sure you have the cleanest, best dishwasher possible.
For more ways to protect your health at home and elsewhere, check out more of our health blog articles.