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

In other words, how these small bugs get inside your dishwasher. 

Do they sneak in from somewhere? Or is there something inside the dishwasher that attracts these tiny bugs?

Well, both are sound reasons. 

The tiny bugs are sneaking into your dishwasher. And your dishwasher is certainly attracting them.

But the overarching reason for bugs in the dishwasher is that your kitchen and your entire home have bugs.

You’ll find out what types of bugs can infest your dishwasher in a minute. 

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

Knowing it is essential. It’ll help you to zero into the bug source and get rid of them fast. 

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

You’re no stranger to tiny black bugs inside the dishwasher if the dishwasher drains and dishwasher air gap are unclean and clogged. 

And these tiny bugs have wings. 

These tiny flying black bugs that you see in the dishwasher are drain flies.

Drain flies have a habit of infesting household electrical items like refrigerators and dishwashers. 

They rise from the clogged drains, and they sneak inside the dishwasher through the dishwasher drain. 

If there are drain flies in your home, then an unclean dishwasher air gap also attracts them. That makes them enter the dishwasher through the dishwasher air gap. 

Other small black bugs can infest your dishwasher. 

Silverfish, beetles, fungus gnats, and houseflies are to name a few. 

But their primary source of entry is an open dishwasher door. 

They can easily hop into the dishwasher your home has them and if you keep your dishwasher door open for long.

Tiny White Bugs In Dishwashers

Grain mites mold mites tiny white bugs in dishwashers

Mold mites, also known as grain mites, are white tiny bugs, and you’d find them in dishwashers too.

The presence of mold mites is an indication of molds growing inside your dishwasher. That happens when you haven’t cleaned your dishwasher for ages. 

Molds grow on damp surfaces that don’t receive little to no natural light. 

Mold mites feed on these molds. Once inside the dishwasher, the mold mites will breed and grow in numbers rapidly. 

Mold mites in a dishwasher are also a clear indication of mold mites’ presence in the kitchen. 

And that means that your kitchen has leaking pipes and an excessively wet home foundation. 

Excessive dampness and leaking pipes create molds in your home, which in turn are attracting mold mites to your home and kitchen.

But mold mites are incredibly tiny. To the naked eye, they look like a grain of salt or sugar. 

So, if you see tiny white particles inside the dishwasher, then chances are those are mold mites.

Apart from your dishwasher, you can find mold mites in refrigerators, kitchen counters, bathroom floors, shower grouts, and at times, you’ll see them even crawling on your computer. 

Mold mites are kind of dust mites. They don’t bite you, but they can cause allergic reactions to some people. 

Ants In Dishwashers

Pharaoh ants in dishwasher

Ants love dishwashers, especially the carpenter ants and pharaoh ants.

But how do ants enter the dishwasher? They don’t sneak in the dishwasher through the drains as the drain flies do. 

Ants sneak inside the dishwasher when the dishwasher door is open. 

Pharaoh ants hide behind and underneath the dishwashers.

Pharaoh ants are tiny and reddish, build nests in void space. They don’t need mud to build a nest as most other ants need. 

Underneath the dishwasher, there are enough tight spaces for pharaoh ants to build nests. And once they find the dishwasher door open, they will sneak inside the dishwasher.


It’s because the smell and stains of the food inside the dishwasher attract pharaoh ants. 

Carpenter ants, which are black, also invade dishwashers for the same reasons and through the open doors. 

But carpenter ants don’t nest and hide underneath or behind the dishwasher that pharaoh ants do unless the floor is wooden and there are gaps and cracks on it.

If you see ants inside the dishwasher, then that’s for sure that there are ants in your kitchen and home. 

So, you’d need to get rid of ants from your entire home after you’ve gotten rid of them from your dishwasher.

Maggots In Dishwashers

how to get rid of maggots in car

Maggots are a very disgusting sight. It happens in extreme cases when the dishwasher is lying idle and dirty for months. 

These white worms don’t magically appear in the dishwasher.

House flies get inside the dishwasher, and they lay eggs. The maggots, which are larvae of house flies, come out on hatching, which then feeds on the filth and the mold that develops inside the dishwasher. 

But thankfully, maggots in the dishwasher are not a regular occurrence if you’ve been using your dishwasher regularly. 

If you’re buying a second-hand dishwasher, then it can have maggots, too, if it’s dirty for months.

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 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.