Why does my dishwasher smell bad? And how to fix it

“Why does my dishwasher smell bad? Is a question no one wants to ask, given how essential a dishwasher is in any kitchen. A smelly dishwasher will deter you from spending time in the kitchen, and even worse, it will often make your dishes smelly, which means you’ll have to do it by hand.

Even the best dishwasher can get smelly if you don’t take care of it properly, although there are also situations where a dishwasher starts to smell bad without the owner being responsible for it. Here are the most likely reasons a dishwasher can smell bad and how to fix the problem, according to a home appliance expert.

1. Does the dishwasher smell bad? Your filter may be dirty

This is by far the most common reason for a smelly dishwasher. Elyse Moody, Appliance Expert and Content Manager at Designer Appliances, puts it simply: “A smelly dishwasher usually needs cleaning. It might be a bit too long since you last removed the filter and cleaned it.

Elyse acknowledges that some people may not even know there is a removable filter in their dishwasher, because “dishwashers had hard food grinders in the bottom that crushed chunks of food.” Newer machines, on the other hand, “have filters that catch it instead.” That’s why you don’t remember your mom ever cleaning the filter.

If you’re not sure where the filter is or how to remove it for cleaning, “Just check your owner’s manual for exactly how to remove it; usually it’s at the bottom of the tub and you turn it and it slides. You can also check out our guide on how to clean a dishwasher filter for more help.

Elyse has a warning for anyone who didn’t know there was a filter to clean: “that could be really disgusting”. Make sure you wear gloves.

Man removing filter from dishwasher

(Image credit: Volodymyr Bushmelov / Getty)

2. Food has stuck to other parts of the machine

Also disgusting, but it does happen: “Pieces of food can also clog the utensil basket and the spray nozzles on the spray arms,” ​​says Elyse. “You can use a brush to clean them.”

This is where the good old argument of pre-rinse comes in. A lot of people don’t like the idea of ​​pre-rinsing their dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, because that’s extra work the dishwasher should be doing. However, even the best modern dishwashers won’t be able to cope with a constant build-up of food bits. If you can’t bother to rinse the dishes, at least be sure to scrape all food off the plates before putting them on.

Learning how to clean a dishwasher regularly is also important. Even if you are very careful, small particles of food will build up inside your machine over time.

3. The water filtration system of your dishwasher is defective.

The dishwasher does not clean properly? If your dishwasher is generally clean and you take care of it, and it has started to smell, Elyse points out that one potential reason is that “your dishwasher’s internal water filter system is not. very good or not performing as well as before. ‘

Not all dishwashers have water filters, but if yours does and it’s been there for a while, it may no longer filter the minerals in the hard water that form. scale and clog hoses and other parts of your machine, including pumps, valves, and the paddle wheel.

And yes, a dishwasher with items clogged with lime can smell bad. Fortunately, a dishwasher water filter can be replaced.

Dishwasher in the bright kitchen

(Image credit: gerenme / Getty)

4. Your dishwasher has not been installed correctly

Installation errors do occur and, as Elyse explains, “Sometimes if the drain hose is not properly connected, dirty wash water can flow back into your dishwasher. He could stay in the bottom of the tub and stink.

If your dishwasher is relatively new and smells bad, this could be the reason. If you are unsure which hose goes where, call your dishwasher supplier and have them send someone to verify that it has been installed correctly.

A dishwasher loaded with plates and cutlery

(Image credit: Uwe Winkler / Alamy Stock Photo)

5. You have a leak

If nothing seems wrong with your dishwasher but it still smells, you might have a more serious problem, which is a leak. If your dishwasher is leaking, it will often go unnoticed until the leaking water has seeped under the dishwasher. You may notice that the area around the dishwasher, such as the bottom of a cabinet, is wet.

A common cause of dishwasher leaks is partial clogging. Charles Leduc, Director of Operations at Mold Busters, explains that “We have had to remove mold from a lot of kitchens because homeowners continue to run clogged dishwashers because they didn’t know they were partially clogged and that ‘they were fleeing “.

If you think this is your problem, you will need to seek professional help.

Why does a dishwasher smell like rotten eggs?

Besides the pervasive problem of a clogged filter, a dishwasher that smells of rotten eggs (sulfur) can have a clogged waste disposal hose. You would have to disconnect your machine to see what’s inside.

Also, sometimes the smell of rotten eggs is actually the door seal – that is, the black rubber gasket that holds the dishwasher door tight while washing dishes. Food particles can build up on the seal over time, causing a foul odor. Sears recommends wiping the gasket “periodically with lukewarm water”.

Why do my dishes smell bad after a dishwasher cycle?

This is a very unpleasant problem that usually stems from a drainage problem and / or partial clogging. A dishwasher that doesn’t drain properly will have standing water that is recycled by the dishwasher while you are running it, giving off a musty smell that many people describe as a wet dog smell. Unclog the dishwasher, run it on a maintenance cycle with a little vinegar / bleach and the smell will go away.

Comments are closed.