How to Clean a Smelly Dishwasher 

Dishwasher Cleaning

How to Clean a Smelly Dishwasher

Have you ever opened your dishwasher and gotten a whiff of something foul? You’re not alone. This unpleasant event happens to lots of homeowners. The culprit is usually food particles and residue buildup in an older dishwasher.

Fortunately, there are a number of easy steps you can take to address the problem, clean the dishwasher, and get rid of the awful smell in your kitchen. 


Tend to the Drain Filter

A filter, located at the bottom of most units, catches large food particles so they don’t clog either the drainage line or your kitchen’s plumbing. If your dishwasher smells bad, this is the first place to look for a simple solution. Remove the filter and give it a good cleaning in your sink with warm water. If debris is stuck to it, use a scrub brush. Before reinserting the filer, try your best to look in the drain hole underneath the filter. If you see any food particles or gunk there, use a sponge to remove them as best you can.


Inspect the Drain Hose

If the dishwasher smells bad and you find water standing in the bottom after it runs, the drain hose could be the problem. Inspect it by carefully pulling the dishwasher out and seeing if there is a kink in the hose. If you find a kink, try to straighten it and put the dishwasher back into position. If there’s no kink, try repositioning the hose so the part where it “loops” is positioned a little higher up. This will discourage the collection of water in the bottom, and thus, discourage those unwanted smells.


Inspect the Spray Arm

The spray arm is the part that spins and sprays water on the dishes. If the holes get clogged, even the tidiest homeowner might end up with a smelly dishwasher. Fix this situation by removing the spray arm(s) and using a cotton swab to remove any gunk trapped in the holes. Once the buildup or particles are removed, run water through the spray arm to flush out any residue or particles that were just dislodged.


Give a Smelly Dishwasher a Sponge Bath

Sometimes, build-up on the inside walls and bottom of the dishwasher can create foul smells. Remove the baskets from your machine and use a warm sponge to wipe any grime or buildup from the inside and bottom. Pay special attention to the gasket around the door, a spot where mildew and/or mold likes to appear.


Use Natural Cleaners in Your Dishwasher

If you want to get rid of dishwasher odors in a healthy and easy way, take advantage of natural options. Both baking soda and vinegar are excellent natural cleaners, with a multitude of household uses – often requiring a combination of the two. For dishwasher cleaning, they are NOT used together.  

First, place a cup of white vinegar in the top rack and run the otherwise empty dishwasher on the hottest temperature cycle. The acid in the vinegar will break down any mineral or food deposits still clinging to the inside of the dishwasher. If you need more cleaning power, follow this by sprinkling a cup or so of baking soda into the dishwasher and again running it on the hottest cycle. This will refresh any nooks and crannies you were unable to reach with other cleaning methods.


Still Stinky?

The simple steps outlined above might take a few minutes, but all are easy, simple solutions to solving this unpleasant issue with one of the most important appliances in your kitchen. If you try all this and still notice a foul odor, then it might be time for a service call. There’s nothing wrong with first cleaning a dishwasher, then letting the professionals step in.

If you need any commercial or residential services related to HVACelectricalplumbing, or home improvement services — pick up the phone and call Lee Company. Home maintenance is sometimes easy, such as cleaning a dishwasher. When you need professional assistance, Lee Company is here to get things back into tip-top shape as quickly as possible.