Why Does My Dishwasher Drain Hose Smell & How To Stop It

Dishwashers ease how we clean dirty dishes, but when they aren’t installed properly or get clogged, they easily become a stinky spot in the kitchen. In most cases, food trapped in the drain hose is responsible for the bad smells that might seem difficult to clean at first sight, but in fact, it isn’t. In this article, I will explain to you how to clean a smelly dishwasher drain hose so you can get rid of unpleasant odors.

Why Does My Dishwasher Hose Smell?

When you experience a bad smell in the dishwasher even if it is spotlessly clean inside, most probably the odor is coming from the pipe that carries the wastewater out of the machine. To solve the problem, you need to investigate what causes a bad odor in the dishwasher’s drain hose which usually happens due to two reasons.

Firstly, this pipe may have an unpleasant odor because food particles are trapped in it that act as breeding grounds for bacteria. Over time, the decomposing particles and the bacteria begin to emit a foul smell.

dishwasher next to kitchen sink

On the other hand, the odor in the dishwasher can result from water flow back. If the hose is installed faulty, the dirty water can flow back allowing smells to emerge. More so, the backflow can contaminate the machine and the dishes. That’s why a clogged drain hose should be cleaned or replaced to fix the bad odor problem and prevent infections.

How to Install a Dishwasher Drain Pipe

The best way to install the drain hose is to ensure there is a high loop. It can also be fitted to the air gap (that is a fixture to be mounted two inches above the sink). The loop and the air gap are essential to prevent contaminated water from re-entering the dishwasher.

But why does the dishwasher drain hose need a loop? It ensures that dirty water from the sink drain will not be siphoned back into the machine and there is no backflow. Notably, proper installation will control clogging, stop bad smells in the kitchen as well as save costs and time on replacing or cleaning the drain hose.

Tips on How to Clean Smelly Dishwasher Drain Hose

When you feel a foul smell emanating from the machine that remains even after running a full cycle, these steps will sure help to solve the odor problem. I suggest trying strategies first that allow you to clean the dishwasher hose without removing it since an improper removal can damage the appliance, but if the irritating smell remains, you may need to remove or even replace it.

Clean the Dishwasher Drain Filter

Blockage in the drain filter is the common cause of the foul odors, so when you experience that your dishwasher stinks, this is the first thing to check. This filter is mainly located at the bottommost part of the tub. Its primary function there is to prevent food debris from clogging your drainage system. Taking good care of the drain filter can also prevent the drainage hose from blocking.

Dishwasher Cleaner

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  • breaks down and removes lime scale and grease build-up
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Removing the filter is simple because it has a twist-lock mechanism. The guidance on how to remove it is usually printed on the machine’s inner surfaces. In case of any uncertainty, consult the owner’s manual. Wash it in your kitchen sink with cleaning solutions like water and white vinegar or dish soap, place it back then run a heavy wash cycle without dishes at the highest temperature by adding a dishwasher cleaner (I love Finish Dual Action).

Run Empty Dishwasher with Vinegar and Baking Soda

White vinegar is a natural odor-fighting agent and is safe to use on your houseware. In addition, sodium bicarbonate is a fantastic smell-neutralizer. Thus, baking soda and vinegar are ideal to fight foul odors. They are used in two separate cycles as follows:

For the first cycle, place a cup of distilled white vinegar on the top rack. Run a regular wash cycle and let the vinegar spread evenly. Its acidity will break down all the deposits found in the appliance’s interior and leave it smelling fresh.

baking soda to remove smell from dishwasher drain hose

Once the cycle is complete, pour a cup of baking soda at the bottom of your machine. Run a full rotation at the hottest temperature available to ensure all the baking soda dissolves. This cycle should remove any remaining foul smell inside the machine and in the drain hose.

Note: don’t use chemical-containing cleaners such as Drano for flushing the drain hose. It has strong sodium hydroxide that may damage the plastic pipe and existing plumbing.

Remove and Replace the Drain Hose

In case the above methods haven’t solved your stinky and clogged dishwasher drain hose, removing it may be the best option to see what is exactly causing the smell. Use the right plumbing tools and refer to the owner’s manual when taking it off and reinstalling it to avoid damage.

Check for any kinks or cracks that may cause blockage. If there are damages on it, you will need to replace it (you can buy a universal dishwasher drain hose online). If it is still in good condition, just flush it. This is achieved by running water at high pressure through the pipe to dislodge any solid blockages and remove smell-causing residue.

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