Dishwashers are a staple appliance in most kitchens, and they help make cleanup a breeze. They are significantly more efficient than hand washing dishes, and they can save you a lot of time and hassle. However, one common complaint about dishwashers is that they start to smell bad between washes. Unfortunately, a dishwasher is also susceptible to smells, and these odors can become quite strong over time.
It can be due to various factors, such as food particles or grease build-up. If your dishwasher starts to smell bad, you can do a few things to clean it and eliminate the odor.
How to Clean A Smelly Dishwasher
If your dishwasher is starting to smell bad, there are a few things you can do to clean it and eliminate the odor. With a little effort, you can have your dishwasher smelling fresh and clean in no time.
🍽Check for food residue.
One of the best ways to prevent dishwasher smells is to ensure you won’t leave any food residue on your dishes. Check the bottom of the machine for any food or grime. Remove any visible food particles with a sponge or brush. Before putting them in the dishwasher, give them a good rinse under running water. It will help remove any food particles that might be left behind.
If you find that food particles are still causing your dishwasher to smell bad, you can try using a dishwasher cleaner. These cleaners specifically help dissolve food residue and help clean your dishwasher’s inside.
🍽Clean the dishwasher’s drain filter.
You can find the drain filter at the bottom of the dishwasher, and it collects food particles and other debris. If this filter becomes clogged, it can cause dishwashers to smell bad. Make sure to pull out the rack first to have access to the filter.
To clean the drain filter, remove it from the dishwasher and rinse it with hot water and dish soap. You can also use a brush to clean it off. If there is a lot of food build-up, you can soak the filter in a vinegar or bleach solution. Cleaning the filter will remove disgusting food waste and any trapped grease or oil.
Once the filter is clean, put it back in place and ensure it’s firmly secured.
🍽Clean the spray arm.
The spray arm is at the dishwasher’s top, and it sprays water onto the dishes during the wash cycle. If this component becomes clogged, it can cause dishwashers to smell bad.
Remove it from the dishwasher and hold them over the kitchen sink to clean the spray arm. Rinse the arm with hot water to remove any food particles or grease. Use a piece of wire or a toothpick to clear any holes of any hard deposits. Repeat the process with the other spray arm. Once the spray arm is clean, put it back in place and ensure it’s firmly secured.
🍽Check the drain hose for clogs.
You can access the drain hose at the back of the dishwashers, and it drains water from the tub. If this hose becomes clogged, it can cause dishwashers to produce a bad odor.
To clean the drain hose, disconnect it from the dishwasher and check for any clogs o restrictions. It may lead to limited flow and standing water inside the dishwashers. Use a plunger to clear any blockages. If there are any stubborn clogs, you can use a plumbing snake to remove them. Once the hose is clear, reconnect it to the dishwasher and make sure it’s securely fastened.
🍽Clean the dishwasher’s interior.
If your dishwasher is still emitting a bad smell, you might need to clean the interior. Over time, grime and molds form on the dishwashers’ walls, causing dishwashers to smell bad.
Wipe down the inside of its walls with a soapy cloth or rag. Focus on removing food scraps on the interior door and the door lip itself. Pay special attention to the areas around the drain and door gasket. If there is any visible mold o stuck-on debris, use white vinegar and a sponge to get rid of it. Make sure to get rid of the odor from the sponge as well.
Once the interior is clean, rinse it with hot water.
🍽Eliminate odor with vinegar or baking soda.
If your dishwasher is still emitting a bad smell, you can try using vinegar or baking soda. Both of these ingredients help to eliminate odor-causing bacteria. However, make sure not to use vinegar and baking soda together. White vinegar is an ideal solution for cleaning dishwashers because it eliminates grease, removes the build-up of old detergent, and neutralizes food smell. You can also use baking soda to absorb any lingering smells.
Pour one cup of white vinegar into a bowl or glass cup, and place it well on the dishwasher rack between the prongs. Run the dishwasher on its hottest setting for one cycle. The vinegar will help clean the machine and get rid of any bad smells. After a single cycle, let the dishwasher door open so that it can air out.
If vinegar doesn’t work, you can try using baking soda. Sprinkle one cup of baking soda on the dishwasher’s floor, and run the dishwasher on its hottest setting for a short cycle. The baking soda will help to absorb any lingering smells. After a single cycle, let the dishwasher door open so that it can air out.
🍽Add some natural scent.
If you want your dishwasher to have a pleasant smell, you can add some essential oils. You can add a few drops of lavender oil, lemon oil, or tea tree oil onto a cloth or paper towel. Wipe down the inside of the dishwasher with a cloth or paper towel. The essential oils will help freshen up the machine and get rid of any bad smells.
You can also use a cup of lemon citrus or peels and run a shot cycle. Lemon is a natural disinfectant, and it will help freshen up dishwashers. Just be mindful of the peels and make sure not to leave any residue behind.
🍽Make sure to let it air dry.
Of course, dishwashers need to breathe a little. Since it contains a really solid seal, it’s possible to trap residual water and moisture inside, so it won’t have enough space to dry. It can lead to the growth of mildew or mold, which can cause bad smells.
After you’ve finished cleaning the dishwasher, leave the door open for a little while so that it can dry out. If possible, try to place it in a well-ventilated area so that the air circulates it. It will help to prevent bad odors from developing in the future.
Why Does The Dishwasher Smell Between Washes?
If your dishwasher takes on a specific unpleasant smell, it is usually because of several things, including:
1. Food Particles
2. Grease Build-up
The most common cause of dishwasher odor is food particles. Even if you rinse your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, there can still be small pieces of food left behind. These food particles can bake onto the inside of the dishwasher and create a bad smell.
Another common culprit is grease build-up. If you don’t regularly clean your dishwasher, grease can accumulate and create a foul odor. Finally, bacteria can also cause dishwashers to smell bad. It is usually caused by not properly cleaning the dishwasher or not using it often enough.
Sometimes, you can also identify the reason for the bad smell in your dishwasher based on its odor. If it’s stinky like rotting flesh, it’s usually because of meat, fish, vegetable, or cheese scraps accumulating in the drain filter, drain hose, or spray arm. Another primary cause of dishwasher odor is mold. It usually grows when there’s too much moisture in the air, and it thrives in dark, warm places—the ideal conditions for dishwashers.
If your dishwasher smells like sewage, it’s because there might be a clog at the back of the drain line. It typically occurs when your dishwasher is directly connected with the kitchen sink’s pipes. When this happens, dishwashers can’t properly drain, and water accumulates in the bottom of the appliance. The stagnant water becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, emitting a sewage-like smell.
Why Does The Dishwasher Not Drying The Dishes?
If your dishwasher is not drying the dishes, there are a few possible reasons.
👉You wash more plastics.
Dishwashers have a drying agent that helps dry the dishes. If you are washing more plastics than dishes, there might not be enough moisture on the dishes to activate the drying agent.
Plastics also don’t dry quickly because of their density. As a result, they will hold more residual water and moisture. Also, during the wash cycle, plastics usually move around a lot, making them filled with water droplets.
👉Malfunctioning heating element.
If your dishwasher has a heating element, it might be malfunctioning. The heating element is responsible for helping the dishes to dry. If it’s not working properly, the dishes will not get dry.
To test if the heating element is working, you can use a multimeter to check if there is continuity between the two terminals. If there is continuity, the heating element is working. If there isn’t continuity, the heating element might malfunction, and you might need to replace it.
👉Check for more drying options.
Some dishwashers have a drying option that you can select. If your dishwasher doesn’t have this option, there might not be enough heat to dry the dishes.
Consult the user manual to check if your dishwasher has a drying option. If the dishwasher has a drying option, make sure it’s turned on.
Maintenance Tips for Your Dishwasher
Admit it, most of us don’t think about cleaning our dishwashers. After all, it’s not like it’s a part of our body, right? And we use it regularly to clean our dishes. So, it’s normal for us to think it cleans itself while washing our dishes. We don’t know that food scraps and other debris can accumulate after many uses.
Like any other appliance in your home, you need to clean the dishwasher once in a while. It will help keep it running smoothly, but it will also help get rid of any bad smells.
Here are a few tips on how to clean your dishwasher:
✅Wash and clean it regularly.
The best way to clean dishwashers is to wash and clean it regularly. It means that you should give it a good scrub once in a while. You can do this by using a cleaning agent or vinegar and baking soda.
✅Use it daily.
Using the dishwasher daily is one of the best ways to free it from excess dirt and grime. It is because the water that runs through it will help to flush out any accumulated debris. You can run an empty cycle once a day if you have the time. It will help keep your dishwasher clean and free from any bad smells. It will also reduce the times you need to give it a deep cleaning.
✅Empty the dishwasher after every use.
One of the best ways to keep your dishwasher clean is to make sure that you empty it after every use. It will help get rid of any build-up food scraps and debris. It will help keep your dishwasher and dishes clean.
✅Clean the filters.
The filters are another important part of your dishwasher that you need to clean regularly. These filters can get clogged with food scraps and other debris, which can cause bad smells. Simply remove them and soak them in a cleaning solution to clean the filters. You can then rinse them off and put them back in place.
Another way to keep dishwashers smelling fresh is to sanitize it regularly. It will help kill any bacteria that might be causing the bad smell. To do this, you can use a sanitizing solution or run a cycle with vinegar.
✅Use the right detergent.
Your dishwasher might be smelling bad because you’re using the wrong detergent. Make sure to use a dishwasher detergent that is specifically designed for dishwashers. Detergents come in various formulas, such as powder, liquid, or tablets. The right detergent depends on the model and capacity of your dishwasher.
Tablets or powder detergents usually work well in dishwashers with a high-temperature cycle. Liquid detergents are usually good for dishwashers with a low-temperature cycle. Avoid using a dish soap since it can leave a sudsy mess around your kitchen.
✅Keep the dishwasher dry.
One of the best ways to prevent bad smells is to make sure the dishwasher is kept dry. You can do this by ensuring that there is enough heat to dry the dishes. If your dishwasher doesn’t have a drying option, you might consider purchasing one. You can also use a dish drying mat to help keep the dishwasher dry.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How can I freshen my dishwasher?
A: You can do a few things to freshen your dishwasher. One is to use a sanitizing solution or run a cycle with white vinegar. You can also use essential oils to help freshen it up. Another option is to use lemons or limes. Simply cut a lemon or lime in half and squeeze the juice into the dishwasher. Then, run a cycle. The citrus will help to get rid of any bad smells.
Q: Where do you put vinegar in the dishwasher?
A: You can put vinegar in the dishwasher by adding it to the detergent compartment. You can also add it to the pre-wash cycle. Simply add a cup of vinegar to the cycle and let it run.
Q: How do I get my dishwasher to clean better?
A: One is to make sure that you’re using the right detergent. Another is to clean the filters regularly. You can also add vinegar to the pre-wash cycle. It will help to loosen any build-up debris. Lastly, you can run an empty cycle with hot water to help flush out the dishwasher.
Q: Can I leave dirty dishes in the dishwasher overnight?
A: Yes, you can leave dirty dishes in the dishwasher overnight. However, it’s best to empty it before bed to air dry the dishes and the dishwasher. It will help to prevent any bad smells from happening.
Q: How long can I leave washed dishes in the dishwasher?
A: You can leave it as long as possible as you run it through a hot cycle. Max out the timer, and it will sanitize the dishes. If you’re worried about bacteria, it’s best to empty the dishwasher as soon as the cycle is done.
Nothing makes your dishes dirtier than a smelly dishwasher. No one wants their dishes to come out smelling bad. Luckily, you can do a few things to keep your dishwasher from smelling bad between washers. One is to clean the filters and interior regularly. Another is to use the right detergent.
You can also add vinegar or baking soda for added freshness. Lastly, make sure the dishwasher is kept dry. You can keep your dishwasher smelling fresh and clean by following these tips. Lastly, you can run an empty cycle with hot water to help flush out the dishwasher.