dishwasher smells bad
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Do you have an unpleasant smell coming from your dishwasher? Is it causing you to feel embarrassed when having guests over? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. “Dishwasher smells bad” and “smelly dishwasher” are common search terms on Google.

There are many causes of dishwasher odors, and there are also many solutions to eliminate them.

In this article, we’ll explore what causes dishwasher smells, how to identify the source of the odor, cleaning and preventative measures, natural remedies for eliminating odors, and chemical solutions for killing odor-causing bacteria.

We’ll also discuss common causes of dishwasher smells, tips for maintaining a clean and odor-free dishwasher, and what to do if the odor persists.

“Dishwasher Smells Bad?” Causes

Various things can cause an unpleasant odor in your dishwasher, including food residue, mold, mildew, hard water deposits, or bacteria. It’s crucial to hone in on the source of the odor before attempting to eliminate it.

Once you know the source, you can determine the best method for eliminating the odor.

Identifying the Source of the Odor

The first step in eliminating an unpleasant odor from your dishwasher is identifying the source. If the odor comes from the dishwasher inside, it’s likely due to food residue, mold, or bacteria.

If the odor comes from outside the dishwasher, it might be due to hard water deposits, detergent residue, or mildew.

To identify the source of the odor, start by inspecting the inside of the dishwasher. If you see food particles, mold, or mildew, this is likely the source of the odor.

If you don’t see any of these, you may need to inspect the outside of the dishwasher. Look for signs of hard water deposits or detergent residue. If you’re unsure, you should contact a professional to help you diagnose the problem.

Cleaning and Preventative Measures

Once you’ve identified the source of the odor, it’s time to start cleaning and taking preventative measures to keep the odor from returning. For food residue, mold, and mildew, it’s important to clean the dishwasher and remove any build-up.

Use a cloth to wipe down the dishwasher’s interior and remove any residue. You should also run a cycle with a dishwasher cleaner to remove any further build-up.

You can use a vinegar solution to help remove the build-up of hard water deposits. Mix two parts water with one part white vinegar and pour it into the dishwasher.

Run a regular cycle; the vinegar solution should help remove the deposits. For detergent residue, use a dishwasher cleaner to remove the build-up.

Once you’ve finished cleaning, it’s important to take preventative measures to keep the odor from returning. Make sure to rinse dishes thoroughly before putting them in the dishwasher, and avoid using too much detergent.

Natural Remedies for Eliminating Odors

If cleaning and preventative measures aren’t enough to eliminate the odor, you can try some natural remedies.


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Good Old Baking Soda

For a little more abrasion to clean your dishwasher, try baking soda. Sprinkle a cup or so of baking soda on the bottom of your dishwasher. Then run your empty dishwasher on hot for a full cycle.

You may need to do this cycle twice to fight tough grime or smells. You can do this once a month for maximum efficacy.

Trusty White Vinegar

To clean your dishwasher with vinegar, add two cups of distilled white vinegar to a dishwasher-safe cup or glass measuring cup. Then place the cup on the top rack of the dishwasher.

Run the dishwasher on your normal cycle or hot if you want more steam. Make sure your dishwasher is empty when you do this.

The vinegar will absorb all the dishwasher odor and grimy build-up. If anything had been left before on the bottom of the dishwasher, it should now wipe down easily with your cleaning cloth.

This should also help with any hard water deposits.

Clean the Filter

The first step is to inspect the dishwasher filter. The filter collects any bits of food or grim left from your dirty dishes, silverware, and glasses. If you don’t clean it, the grim can circulate in your dishwasher and produce a foul smell.

To locate your dishwasher filter, look at the bottom of your dishwasher below the lower spray arms. You can also check your owner’s manual to locate it. While you’re at it, check out the drain hose and the spray arm as well.

Remove the dishwasher filter and rinse it under hot water for best results. This should get anything off but if you have hard stuck on food, use a small brush and hot soapy water to gently clean. Be careful not to press too hard with the brush.


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Chemical Solutions for Killing Odor-Causing Bacteria

If natural remedies don’t work, you may need a chemical solution to kill the odor-causing bacteria. Bleach is one of the most effective solutions for killing bacteria.

Fill the dishwasher with hot water and add one-half cup of bleach. Run a regular cycle, and the bleach should help eliminate any odors.

Another solution is to use a chlorine dioxide-based cleaner. This type of cleaner is designed specifically to eliminate odors in dishwashers. Follow the instructions on the package for the best results.

Common Causes of Dishwasher Odors

Now that you know how to eliminate odors, let’s discuss some common causes of dishwasher smells. Food residue is one of the most common causes. Make sure to rinse dishes thoroughly before loading them in the dishwasher.

This will help prevent food residue from building up and causing odors.

Mold and mildew can also cause odors. To prevent this, make sure to clean the interior of the dishwasher regularly.

Use a mildew remover to help eliminate any existing mold or mildew.

Hard water deposits can also cause odors. To prevent this, use a water softener and run a vinegar solution through the dishwasher regularly; this will help remove any existing deposits and prevent new ones from forming.

Detergent residue can also cause odors. To prevent this, use the correct amount of detergent for the load size. Too much detergent can leave residue in the dishwasher and cause odors.

Tips for Maintaining a Clean and Odor-Free Dishwasher

Once you’ve eliminated odors from your dishwasher, it’s important to take steps to keep it clean and odor-free. Here are some tips for maintaining a clean and odor-free dishwasher:

  • Rinse dishes thoroughly before loading them in the dishwasher.
  • Use the right amount of detergent for the size of the load.
  • Run a vinegar solution through the dishwasher regularly.
  • Clean the interior of the dishwasher regularly.
  • Use a mildew remover to help eliminate any existing mold or mildew.

Dishwasher Odor Aftercare

So you’ve done the work. You’ve cleaned the stinky dishwasher door and washed the dishwasher’s filter. You’ve run through the wash cycle, ensuring there are no food scraps or food particles trapped inside, and you’ve even made sure there’s no rotten food or soap scum.

But sometimes, leaving the dishwasher smelling fresh isn’t enough. We want our house to smell like a home, including our kitchen. For this, we want to use air fresheners.

Now there are a lot of air fresheners to choose from, from Febreze to Citrus Magic, but our hands-down favorite has to be The Crown Choice’s air fresheners.

The Crown Choice’s air fresheners come in a bevy of alluring and relaxing scents. They’re all-natural and made with essential oil, so you never have to worry about harmful chemicals.

After you clean a smelly dishwasher, spraying this around your kitchen guarantees no funky smell and that your house will continue to smell warm and inviting.

What to Do if the Odor Persists?

If you’ve tried all of the above solutions and the odor persists, it may be time to call a professional. A professional can help diagnose the source of the odor and provide the most effective solution for eliminating it.

Final Words

An unpleasant odor in your dishwasher can be embarrassing and annoying. Fortunately, there are many solutions for eliminating dishwasher smells.

Start by identifying the source of the odor, clean the dishwasher, and take preventative measures to keep the odor from returning.

If cleaning and preventative measures aren’t enough, you can try natural remedies or chemical solutions for killing odor-causing bacteria. Most dishwashers tend to have similar issues, so buying a new dishwasher is a stop-gap solution at best.

Lastly, remember to take steps to maintain a clean and odor-free dishwasher, and if the odor persists, contact a professional for help.


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