Why Does Your Dishwasher Smell?

It is easy to assume that since your dishwasher only washes dishes, it should be basically clean. Unfortunately, this can make it an unpleasant surprise, when you open up the door to be greeted by a nasty reek. A bad smell is a sure sign that there is something wrong, so here we’ll explore some of the common reasons why your dishwasher may have developed a bad odor and what you can do to correct the problem.

Close up image of a dishwasher

A Gunked Up Filter

Every model of dishwasher has a filter that is designed to catch all of those particles of food debris that are washed from your dishes, pots, and pans. Unfortunately, when you don’t clean the filter frequently, these particles can gunk up the filter and start to cause nasty smells. If you notice a bad smell when you open up your dishwasher, your first step should be to check your filter. This is likely to be found in the floor of your dishwasher and should be easy to twist or pull out. You’re likely to notice a film of sticky gunk clogging up the filter that will need to be cleaned. Use paper towels to wipe away any gunk and ensure that it is thrown in the trash to avoid it clogging up your drain. If there is a stubborn, sticky residue, you may need to soak the filter in warm water for ten minutes before it can be gently cleaned using a small brush, such as a toothbrush.

Lurking Mold

If you don’t have a busy household and your dishwasher is not frequently used, it can be vulnerable to mold. When a dishwasher is closed for a prolonged period, it creates ideal conditions for mold to develop. Unfortunately, mold can compromise your dishes, and you’ll need to ensure that it is addressed, so you can continue to use your dishwasher safely.

If you suspect you may have mold lurking inside your dishwasher and causing that musty, unpleasant smell, you’ll need to get cleaning. Fortunately, you can tackle mold and mildew using basic household items, such as white vinegar. Simply place a dishwasher safe cup filled with white vinegar on the top rack and set your dishwasher running on a hot program. The vinegar will disperse throughout the dishwasher while the cycle is running, and while your kitchen may have a slight vinegary smell for a day or so, it will freshen up your dishwasher.

Once your dishwasher is clean, you can prevent the issue redeveloping by running your dishwasher more often and ensuring that your dishwasher dries out after a cycle, so you could allow it to sit open a crack after you’ve finished unloading.

Hidden Depths

If you’ve cleaned your dishwasher and the filter trap is sparkling fresh, yet there is still a lingering, nasty odor, you may have a hidden problem. It is worth checking behind and underneath your dishwasher. It is amazing how much debris can accumulate around an appliance and you may be startled to find food debris or even a dead rodent that is causing a smell.

If you have gone through all of these points and still have a dishwasher odor problem, it may be time to call in a professional appliance repair specialist. There are a number of other issues that could be causing unpleasant odors, and an experienced technician will be able to assess your appliance to determine the underlying issue.

For help with all your appliance repair issues, be sure to speak to a professional appliance repair service. You can rely on a professional technician for practical advice and guidance for all your appliance issues.