Dishwashers have fungi, study says
A new study confirms what some fear: Your kitchen could be little more than a decorated petri dish.
June 22nd, 2011
07:04 PM ET

Dishwashers have fungi, study says

The fungus is among us.

So says a new report published in the British Mycological Society journal Fungal Biology about gunk found in household appliances such as dishwashers.

Sixty-two percent of dishwashers were found to contain fungi, according to the study, which was conducted on six continents in nearly 200 homes, with more than half being in Slovenia.

The way the research's summary describes it, "Habitats in human households may accommodate microorganisms outside the common spectrum of ubiquitous saprobes."

That's  a fancy way of saying there's some feisty microbes around the underbelly of your kitchen.

Species such as CandidaPenicillium and Rhodotorula and - heavens! - the black yeasts Exophiala dermatitidis and Exophiala phaeomuriformis were consistently identified, the report said.

"This is such a new thing that we have few tips," Nina Gunde-Cimerman, a professor at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia and an author in the study, told CNET.

Think of your dishwasher:  Searing heat, vapors akin to Dante, how can anything survive - and thrive - in those conditions? And better yet, what can a homeowner do?

"A thorough heating at high temperatures would probably be beneficial, although it would not permanently remove or destroy them," Gunde-Cimerman said, according to CNET.

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Filed under: Nature • Science • World
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. J-Ex

    My mother always ran a 1/2 cup of bleach through her empty dishwasher, once a month. I do the same thing and it keeps it white inside and free from that odor.....which we now know what is causing that! ick!

    June 23, 2011 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Ev Kahn

      Good Idea. Bet it would be a good idea to do the same thing with a clothes washer too.

      June 23, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  2. RagingSemi

    That box in the kitchen thats warm and wet and has food go through it all the time grows fungus? Amazing!

    June 23, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  3. Johnny T.

    I'm really getting tired of reading about these ridiculous studies. Somebody, somewhere, is responsible for funding this study and needs to do a reality check and put their resources into something worthwhile instead of confirming what is pretty much common sense.

    June 23, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  4. Jazzzzzzzz

    That's for sure. He he.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bobcat2u

    Here is a really novel idea people !! I surprised no one has thought of it yet. Quit being so darn lazy and wash them yourselves. No worry of fungus or health issues. And the amazing thing is, it only takes a few minutes. Problem solved.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • U-Turn

      That's why I got married...probably the most expensive dishwasher anyone could buy. But hey, the bonus at night is a nice perk. DERP

      June 23, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Norm

    My wife says this stuff works well, too.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
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