5 Tiny Bugs In Dishwashers – Identify And Eliminate Them

This is the most in-depth guide on how to get rid of tiny bugs in dishwashers. 

In this guide, you’ll learn what types of bugs infest your dishwasher and why.

The best part?

You don’t need to use any insecticide sprays or even call a pest controller to eliminate those critters in the dishwasher. 

Let’s dive in.

Why Do You See Tiny Bugs In Dishwashers?

Tiny bugs in dishwashers

A bug-infested kitchen and a dirty dishwasher with food wastes and drainage issues cause bugs in dishwashers.

Your dishwasher provides the bugs with a ton of food sources and living space where they can breed. 

The moist interiors, which become more damp because of clogged dishwasher drain and drain filter, also attract bugs inside the dishwasher.

It’s because all pests that invade kitchen appliances such as dishwashers, coffeemakers, and refrigerators are moisture bugs that thrive in damp conditions.

You’ll find out what types of bugs cause infestation in dishwashers in a minute.

For now, let’s find out how bugs enter dishwashers. 

Sources Of Bugs In Dishwashers

Dishwasher drain and dishwasher air gap are the major entry points for bugs in dishwashers.

But, bugs can also sneak into dishwashers from underneath and from the open dishwasher door.

Later in the post, you’ll find out how to stop the tiny bugs from getting into your dishwasher.

But the thing to keep in mind is that if your drains are clogged, and your kitchen has bugs, then it’s only a matter of time before bugs get into your dishwasher.

But what attracts bugs in the dishwasher?

Well, if you think about it, your dishwasher has everything the bugs need.

Food waste, dark inside, dampness, and cooler temperatures make your dishwasher an ideal hiding place for the bugs that prefer these conditions.

You can’t change these conditions inside the dishwasher because, after all, it’s a dishwasher that washes dirty dishes and utensils.

But you can certainly get rid of these tiny bugs in dishwashers and prevent them from entering into your dishwasher.

Types Of Tiny Bugs In Dishwashers

You won’t believe the variety of bugs that can be in your dishwasher. From cockroaches to maggots, and many more can infest your dishwasher.

In this section, you’ll find out all the bugs that can take refuge in your dishwasher. Plus, you’ll also find out how they get into your dishwasher.

Tiny Black Bugs In Dishwashers

tiny black bugs in dishwashers drain flies

The tiny black bugs in dishwashers are flies. These flies are drain flies, fungus gnats, and fruit flies.

Food debris, moist areas, and ripe fruits in the house draw these flies indoors, making them fly in through open windows and through cracks on the window sills. 

Potted plants can be a magnet for fungus gnats because they lay eggs in the potting soil of indoor plants.

The food wastes and dampness in the dishwashers draw these flies. They feed on the molds and wastes inside the dishwasher and lay eggs in the wastes.

The point of entry is the clogged dishwasher drain. They can also fly inside the dishwasher when the dishwasher doors are open.

All these flies are infamous for laying their eggs in the clogged kitchen sink drains, and bathroom drains. 

And they’ll not shy away from entering the dishwasher through the drains either.

These flies are quite a nuisance in the house. And they can be difficult to identify because many people confuse these small flies in the house with one another.

Appliances like coffeemakers and refrigerators are also susceptible to invasion from these tiny black flies.

Tiny White Bugs In Dishwashers

Grain mites mold mites tiny white bugs in dishwashers

The tiny white bugs in dishwashers are mold mites. These mites feed on the molds that form on the damp surfaces.

They are clear white and have a glittery appearance. But their colors can change into dark colors if they’ve been feeding on black molds.

Not cleaning the dishwasher regularly leads to the formation of molds and fungi inside the dishwasher. These molds are food sources of mold mites.

Mold mites will profusely breed, and their numbers will overshoot because of abundant molds and moisture inside the dishwasher.

Mold mites in the dishwasher also show that there are mold mites in your kitchen.

These mites can also infest grains and cereals that you store in the kitchen pantry.

The presence of mold mites inside the kitchen and in other areas of your home is a clear sign that your home has leaking pipes problem.

Leaky pipes increase the dampness levels of the home. High dampness leads to mold formation, and they attract moisture bugs that feed on the molds and breed in the moist areas.

You can find mold mites in other areas such as kitchen counters, bathroom floor, especially in shower grouts.

Molds mites, like dust mites, can trigger allergic reactions such as itching and running nose.

Ants In Dishwashers

Pharaoh ants in dishwasher

Ants love a dirty dishwasher. The food scraps stuck inside the dishwasher are open buffet for these insects.

But there are two types of ants that are infamous for invading dishwashers – carpenter ants and pharaoh ants.

Pharaoh ants are tiny ants in kitchen that are always on the look out for tiny bits of food wastes to feed. They’re light yellow to reddish in color with almost translucent bodies.

Carpenter ants are big and black. And they too rely on food wastes and beverage stains to survive. 

These ants exploit any tight gap in the dishwasher to sneak inside it. They can also act opportunistically by sneaking inside the dishwasher when it’s door is open.

But ants don’t nest inside the dishwasher. 

Pharaoh ants will build their nests inside the wall voids or in the cracks on the floor in the kitchen. 

Carpenter ants will nest in the cracks on the wooden floor or in damp kitchen furniture. 

The presence of ants in the dishwasher and other electrical appliances is a clear indication that there’s an ant infestation in the kitchen which you need to eliminate.

Maggots In Dishwashers

how to get rid of maggots in car

Maggots are a disgusting sight no matter where you see them. You see them often in garbage disposals that have accumulated organic and food debris.

Remember, I talked about flies getting inside the dishwasher to lay eggs? Those eggs hatch and produce maggots. 

Maggots are legless white worms that are larvae of these flies. They feed on the wastes in the dishwashers. 

These maggots are also common inside the drains. Flies lay eggs in the sludge blocking the drains.

When these maggots mature into adult flies, you suddenly notice flies in the house. 

An unclean and dirty dishwasher with it’s drain choked will always have maggots.

And the worst part is that your dishwasher can be one of the sources of fly infestation in the house.

Cockroaches In Dishwashers

cockroaches in dishwasher

And finally, if there’s any bug that likes to live inside your dishwasher forever, it’s the cockroach.

Dishwashers are cockroaches’ favorite hiding place in the kitchen. 

It’s wet from the inside, it’s dark, and it has food residue inside that is the source of food for the roaches.

Cockroaches can get inside the dishwasher from the drains or sneak in through an open dishwasher door. 

Cockroaches can squeeze their body tight. That enables them to sneak through any gap which is less than one-sixteenth of an inch. 

So, finding them inside is not surprising.

Two types of roaches can get inside a dishwasher. These are sewer roaches and German roaches.

Sewer roaches or American roaches sneak inside a dishwasher through the drains. 

Clogged drains are a perfect hiding and breeding place for sewer roaches. They lay eggs there, and the filth in the drain houses roach eggs and baby roaches. 

The drain connected to the dishwasher acts as a conduit for the sewer roaches to reach your dishwasher searching for food.

And once they’re in there, they’re not likely to come out.

On the other hand, heat from the dishwasher attracts German roaches. 

German roaches don’t typically like to be in excessively wet places. Instead, they prefer warm and dry areas. 

That’s why electrical appliances are their favorite hiding places because the heat from the appliances attracts them. 

German roaches can get inside the dishwasher. But most of the time, they would be nesting behind or underneath the dishwasher. 

In these places, they’ll get ample heat and warmth. Plus, there are gaps behind and underneath the electrical appliances for the German roaches to build nests.

Suppose you’re seeing tiny black bugs inside the dishwasher that is crawling fast and has a pair of antennae. In that case, they’re baby roaches of either American or German roaches.

How To Get Rid Of Tiny Bugs In Dishwashers

How to get rid of tiny bugs in dishwashers

Now that you know all the types of bugs and tiny bugs that can infest your dishwasher, it’s time to find out how to get rid of them in 4 easy steps.

In this section, you’d find out the same.

Plus, you’ll find out some tips that will make your dishwasher impregnable to bugs. 

Let’s check it out. 

Step#1 – Clean The Dishwasher Drain

As you know by now, dishwasher drains are the primary source of the two most common bugs that infest dishwashers – drain flies and sewer roaches. 

All your efforts of getting rid of tiny bugs in the dishwasher will be in vain if you don’t clean or unclog the dishwasher drains.

Dishwasher drains can get easily clogged with food wastes. 

Here are the 10 steps to clean the dishwasher drain –

Clean the dishwasher filter
  1. Remove the bottom rack of the dishwasher.
  2. Spot the dishwasher drain filter over the dishwasher drain and wipe off any debris on the dishwasher filter with a cloth wet with a disinfectant
  3. Unscrew the dishwasher filter. Refer to your dishwasher’s user manual to find out how to unscrew and remove the dishwasher filter.
  4. Wash the dishwasher filter and clean it off of any debris and waste stuck on it. 
  5. Make a mixture with equal parts of baking soda and white vinegar.
  6. Add one cup of hot water to the mixture.
  7. Mix well the mixture of hot water and baking soda with the hot water.
  8. Pour the mixture into the drain. 
  9. Wait for 10-15 minutes. Let the mixture settle inside the drain.
  10. Run the dishwasher on a regular cycle. It’ll flush out the water stuck in the drain.

Baking soda and white vinegar will kill any bugs like drain flies and roaches nesting and hiding inside your drain. 

Alternatively, you can use a drain cleaner like Thrift Drain Cleaner that clears drains within one minute.

Bleach mixed with hot water is also an efficient drain cleaner and instant bug killer hiding in your drains.

But the problem with bleach is that it’s highly corrosive and can damage the drains if you use it often. 

So, do not use bleach to clean your drains often.

Step#2 – Clean The Dishwasher Air Gap

The dishwasher air gap prevents dirt from entering your dishwasher.

So, a dishwasher clogged with the debris is quite common. 

A clogged dishwasher air gap attracts drain flies, house flies, and even fungus gnats to your dishwasher.

A common sign of a clogged dishwasher air gap is water coming out of the vent holes. 

Cleaning the dishwasher air gap is easy. 

All you need is a 5-inch bottle brush and a disinfectant

Open the air gap cap and pour a bit of disinfectant on the air gap vent hole. 

Insert the bottle brush inside the vent hole and clean it well. 

That’s all. 

To know other ways of cleaning the dishwasher air gap, you can check the video below.

Step#3 – Clean The Dishwasher

Now that you’ve cleaned both dishwasher drains and dishwasher air gap, you’ve taken care of at least 80% of the bug problem in your dishwasher. 

You’ve killed the hidden bugs inside these places and made the drains uninhabitable for any bug.

Now it’s time to tackle the dishwasher.

There’s no better way to get rid of bugs in the dishwasher than thoroughly cleaning it. 

Clean the dishwasher by first taking all the racks out.

Then scrub the interiors of the dishwasher with soap, water, and disinfectant. Get rid of any food stains and debris inside the dishwasher. 

Check for any gaps or cracks inside the dishwasher. If there’s any, seal them with a dishwasher-friendly caulk. 

Also, don’t forget to clean the underside and the rear of the dishwasher. 

You know why. These are the places where roaches hide. 

These hidden roaches sneak inside the dishwasher when you keep the dishwasher door open, even for a second.

Also, clean the dishwasher door. 

Check if there’s any mold inside the dishwasher. 

If there’s any mold, use a mold and mildew remover to eliminate the molds. 

Step#4 – Clean Your Kitchen And Get Rid Of Any Hidden Pests And Bugs

A bugged kitchen is an overarching reason for roaches and bugs in all the electrical appliances in your kitchen, including the dishwasher and refrigerator.

If your kitchen isn’t bug-free, then bugs inside the dishwasher will be back. 

So, deep clean your kitchen with disinfectants. 

Look for any signs of ants, roaches, and pantry pests like moths, beetles, and booklice in your food pantry. 

Also, clean the kitchen furniture like the pantry tower and kitchen cabinets. These are the places where many moths, flies, and roaches hide. 

Keep ant baits and roach baits in the tight corners of your kitchen to lure the roaches and ants out of hiding. 

Check for any leakages in the plumbing areas of your sink and countertops

Water leakages increase the dampness in your kitchen, which in turn attracts bugs. 

If humidity levels are high in your kitchen, use a dehumidifier to control the moisture levels inside your kitchen.

That helps in making your kitchen and home uninhabitable to bugs. 

Word Of Caution – Please do not use any insecticide spray, bug bombs, or insecticide powders inside the dishwasher. It’s dangerous.


Your dishwasher can be a haven for many tiny bugs. 

There are five types of tiny bugs in dishwashers that you’d come across –

  1. Drain flies
  2. Mold mites
  3. Ants
  4. Maggots
  5. Cockroaches

Silverfish, fungus gnats, and beetles can also hide in dishwashers if they can get in. 

In this post, you’ve found out how to get rid of these tiny bugs in the dishwasher. 

You’ve also found out why a clean kitchen reduces bug infestation inside the dishwasher to zero. 

If you see bugs in your dishwasher, go ahead and implement the steps laid out in this post. 

You don’t need any pest controller to implement these steps. 

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