How Do You Get Rid Of Bad Smell In Dishwasher

Dishwashers are the perfect way of efficiently cleaning dishes, but over time, food particles and residue accumulate within the machine providing breeding ground for bacteria and resulting in bad odors. Getting rid of such dirt buildups is essential in order to keep it hygienic and fresh, so here are some tips on how to stop your dishwasher from smelling.

Why Does My Dishwasher Smell Bad

If you notice that your dishwasher has unpleasant odors, it’s because of trapped food, grease buildup, or mold. These are the main reasons why it can smell, particularly if you don’t use the machine daily so accumulated particles may start stinking.

dirty dishes waiting to be washed

The odor has been often described as a rotten egg smell. Some people even go so far as saying, “my dishwasher smells like a wet dog.” If you experience such odors, don’t worry; in most cases, these are not caused by mechanical issues, you don’t have to buy a new appliance or call a technician (if the machine is installed correctly) since the musty smell can be eliminated with proper cleaning.

To stop a dishwasher from smelling, in the first step, run a cleaning cycle. Also don’t forget to scrub out and wipe down all dirt, residue and clean out accumulated particles trapped in the machines’ filters, parts, and other gaps.

How to Get Rid of Bad Smell in Dishwasher

The smell coming from your dishwasher is a sign that your machine may become a health hazard in your household. It’s important to address this problem as soon as possible since if ignored, then the dishwasher will continue to be a breeding ground for various bacteria such as Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas, and Escherichia that are normally harmless but can cause infections in people with a weak immune system. Eventually, even your glasses, plates, bowls, and utensils will look cloudy after washing and might smell, too.

plates and mugs above a dishwasher

When you’re in a rush or just don’t have the time to scrub down all the various parts of your dishwasher, you just need a powerful cleaning solution to freshen up your machine. Here is what I recommend:

  • An alternative option is to use vinegar. This all-natural substance will keep your dishwasher smelling fresh while avoiding chemicals. Spray vinegar on the inside walls and place a bowl filled with one cup of white vinegar on the top rack, then run a hot (empty) cycle.
  • Another chemical-free solution is to run a cycle with baking soda. It is an excellent product to use in your dishwasher to ensure a fresh-smelling kitchen. Just simply sprinkle one cup of baking soda on the bottom of the machine and set up a short cycle on the hottest setting. This will remove odor and kill 99% of the bacteria that cause that smell.

What to Do if Your Dishwasher Still Stinks?

It can happen that your dishwasher still smells after running a cleaning cycle because it still has undetected bacteria lurking in other parts, perhaps in the racks, the walls, on the floor, around the seals, in the hose, in the filters, or in the drain hole so you need manually check these areas and parts. If you don’t know how to stop your dishwasher from smelling, follow this simple step-by-step guide!

Clean the filters and drain holes

These various parts trap grease, oil, and hard water. This can lead to clogged drains and contribute to the build-up of food particles that make your dishwasher smell bad. Ideally, you should do a proper cleaning once a month using specially formulated cleaning solutions, and at least once every two-three months or whenever the machine stinks, you should check if there is any dirt that could clog the system.

Paying attention to regular cleaning is the best way of eliminating smells, but it also extends the life of your system and helps to avoid costly repairs. If you still experience a sewage-like odor after running a cleaning cycle, most probably the dishwasher’s drain hose smells so make sure the clean that too.

Sanitize the spray arm

The spray arm also needs to be cleaned once every three months to ensure that dishes get properly sprayed with water. This keeps food off of heating elements and makes sure that the dishwasher doesn’t get clogged up with soapy residue or bacteria.

mugs in the dishwasher

To properly clean the spray arm, remove it by following the instructions found in the machine’s manual. Fill the sink with hot water and one cup of vinegar and place the arm in it so the debris gets loosened. Use toothpicks or tweezers to remove residue from the small holes.

Wipe down the seals

Mold around the seals is a common problem that causes bad odors; therefore it needs to be checked and removed regularly. It is usually clearly visible if you look at the rubber seal on the door. The color of the mold is usually black, but it can also be brown or dark green and has a musty smell.

To wipe the gasket, use a damp cloth and warm soapy water. Don’t use bleach or harsh detergents since those can damage the rubber. If mold is present, combine 2 cups of hot water and half cup of white vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture on the affected areas and scrub with an old toothbrush. When ready, you can go over it with a dry cloth.

Final Thoughts

Dishwashers are often thought to be complicated kitchen appliances that require an expert technician to fix. This may be true when it comes to mechanical issues, but if the problem is a musty smell or you just want your machine to perform better, such issues can be fixed by removing accumulated food debris and slime from its various nooks and crannies and giving a deep clean to your appliance.

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