At the end of a long day, the last thing that you want to do is stand over a kitchen sink scrubbing away at dirty dishes. Scraping off old food, soaking them in sudsy water, and rinsing them clean is a real hassle. This is why most people turn to the convenience of a dishwasher. This powerful appliance helps to keep your dinnerware sparkling wash after wash.

Unfortunately, it does sometimes need a little attention. Knowing how to deodorize a dishwasher is important if you want to keep using this helpful tool.

There will inevitably come a day when your dishwasher announces that it needs a little bit of attention. The smell will overtake your kitchen and seep into the other rooms of your home. The stink can be overpowering, but correcting it can be simple. All you need are a few easy steps and you will be well on your way to learning how to get the odor out of your dishwasher.

Get your home smelling fresher than ever before with these simple tips and tricks!

Why Does My Dishwasher Smell?

First and foremost, we need to address where the smell in your dishwasher is actually coming from. If you can pinpoint the origins of the odor, you might be able to help prevent it in the future. Some people claim that the smell reminds them of mildew. Others believe that it resembles rotten seafood or old eggs. The truth is that the odor in your dishwasher is not really caused by any of these things.

Your dishwasher ultimately smells like rotten eggs because of leftover food particles.

When you run load after load of dishes, small fragments of food particles come loose and wedge their way into the nooks and crannies of your dishwasher. The food breaks down, decomposes, and begins to rot. As this happens, your dishwasher begins to acquire the very first faint aromas of this seafood smell.

Your dishes may appear clean when you pull them out of the dishwasher, but that does not mean that they are. Clogged spray arms and filters can make it impossible for the hot water to rinse the dishes thoroughly. This is a major concern if your dishwasher is starting to develop a smell every time you open the door or whenever you walk past it. Even if your dishes are clean, there is a possibility that a smelly dishwasher could ruin them.

While the dishwasher can make your entire home smell unpleasant, it could be even more serious than that. The pungent odor can transfer to your dishes, following you around every time you try to enjoy a homecooked meal. This is why it is so important to get the smell of your dishwasher under control as soon as you notice that there could be a problem with your unit and its odor.

Why Does My Dishwasher Smell?

How to Get the Odor Out of Your Dishwasher

There are many different ways that you can attempt to get rid of the odor in your dishwasher. You may need to do one or two of them to correct the issue, but it helps if you complete each of these tasks. Cleaning every aspect of your dishwasher and taking care of your dishes correctly can help minimize the risk of developing this odor again in the future.

The first and easiest thing you can do to get the smell out of the dishwasher is to prevent food particles from building up to begin with. It may take you more time to load the dishwasher after dinner each evening, but it could save you a lot of hassle in the long run.

Rinse plates off thoroughly and remove all food particles. They should look mostly clean before being placed in the dishwasher. Instead of expecting your dishwasher to clean your dishes completely, try to view it as a sanitizing process. This subtle shift in perspective encourages you to clean your dishes more thoroughly before placing them in the dishwasher and helps to prevent the mildew smell from building up.

Because many people are too tired to do this at the end of the day, you should still understand the basics of how to clean your dishwasher and get rid of the odor. Here are a few of the steps that you should take to tackle the odor in your kitchen.

1. Clean the Filter

Stinky Dishwasher filter

If your dishwasher already developed an odor, simply cleaning future dishes is not going to eliminate the smell. The easiest thing you can do to eradicate the odor is to clean the filter. The steps required to remove the filter will vary based on the make and model of your unit, so check with your instruction manual first.

Once you remove the filter, cleaning the screen requires very little effort. Round up some dish soap, a stiff scrub brush (on Amazon), and a sink full of hot water. Allow the filter to soak in the hot water for a few moments to loosen up built-up food particles. Apply a few drops of dish detergent to the scrub brush and start scrubbing vigorously.

In many homes, cleaning this filter eliminates most of the odor that emanates from their kitchen. However, you might find that you need something a little more heavy-duty to tackle odors that have lingered in your appliance for too long.

2. Clean the Spray Arm

Much like the filter, the spray arms can easily become coated with thick layers of food. Once they become clogged, the machine no longer has the ability to effectively clean your dishes. Rinsing food particles off this crucial element not only improves the smell of your dishwasher; it also ensures that your dishes will get cleaner.

Consult your owner’s manual to determine how to remove the upper and lower spray arms. Every unit will be different so never make the assumption that you know how to safely remove these pieces. Move carefully to avoid the need for serious repairs from a professional.

Clean one spray arm at a time by scrubbing it with dish detergent at the kitchen sink. Use cotton swabs to clear food particles out of hard-to-reach areas where the water flows through. When you finish, run water through the arms to make sure every hole is free from food particles and debris. Clean the second spray arm and reinstall them inside the unit.

How to Get the Odor Out of Your Dishwasher with Cleaners

If disassembling your dishwasher and cleaning the individual parts does not eliminate the odor, you might need something stronger. Getting the smell out of the dishwasher is not impossible. Do not lose hope yet. By utilizing a few of these common cleaners, you can get the inside of your dishwasher to sparkle and get the smell out of the dishwasher. Some of these cleaners are homemade while others are store-bought. Consider which option would work best for you and your machine.

3. Cleaning the Machine

You cleaned the filter of your dishwasher, but that stubborn smell still remains. If this describes your kitchen, then it is time to turn to the next item on the to-do list. Tackling the nasty odor in your dishwasher will mean cleaning the entire machine as thoroughly as possible. You can do this with just a few simple ingredients:

  • Baking soda
  • Dish soap
  • Hot water
  • Scrub brush

Make a cleaning paste using baking soda, dish soap, and hot water. It should come out to be roughly the consistency of toothpaste. This thick texture will make it easy to cover the walls, gaskets, and shelves of the dishwasher with the cleaning solution, while the grittiness of it will help to loosen food particles.

Apply the paste to every visible surface inside the dishwasher and scrub using your stiff-bristled brush. Do not forget to clean the racks and the door gaskets. Both of these parts can also collect mold and mildew that contribute to the smell of your dishwasher.

Allow the solution to soak on the walls for fifteen to thirty minutes before turning on the dishwasher. You can allow it to run one empty cycle at the hottest temperature in order to rinse the cleaning mixture down the drain.

4. Vinegar Cleaning Solution

If you do not want to spend your time scrubbing the inside of your dishwasher, there may be another way to loosen up those food particles. Vinegar has long been used as a natural alternative to many harsh cleaners available on the shelves of home improvement and retail outlets. It can be used here to get rid of the odor stemming from your dishwasher.

Empty your dishwasher of all bowls, cups, plates, and silverware. On the top rack of your empty dishwasher, place a bowl filled with white distilled vinegar. Start the dishwasher and allow it to run its course on the hottest possible setting.

As soon as it finishes, remove the bowl and sprinkle a little baking soda all over the inside of the dishwasher. While most of the food particles will wipe away immediately, this small touch of baking soda can whisk away any pesky particles that stubbornly cling to the sides of your appliance.

Run one more cycle on the hottest temperature to rinse the baking soda out of the unit before you resume using it as normal.

5. Using a Store-Bought Cleaner

Some people prefer to use heavy-duty store-bought cleaners in lieu of homemade varieties. These commercial cleaners can be ideal for individuals who need to get rid of the odor in their dishwasher but do not have the time to scrub every visible surface of their appliance. Fortunately, many of these products do exist.

Deciding on which dishwasher cleaner you want to use can be overwhelming. You want something that promises to remove the odor in your dishwasher, but the right cleaner can do so much more.

Affresh Dishwasher Cleaner, Helps Remove Limescale and Odor-Causing Residue

Affresh is one of the most popular dishwasher cleaners on the market because it boasts a powerful punch in one tiny tablet. This cleaner is safe for use with both stainless-steel tub and plastic tub dishwashers, making it a universally accepted solution for an odiferous dishwasher. Top brands including Whirlpool, KitchenAid, and Maytag all recommend this product.

The scientific formula used to create these tablets should dissolve and remove the odor-causing residue in your dishwasher. It simultaneously gets rid of lime and mineral build-up. Compared to harsh household cleaners like bleach, Affresh is designed to work more effectively and is much safer for your household. You can also use these tablets when you run a cycle of dishes to help descale glass and leave it sparkling like new.

Nature enthusiasts may wonder whether this product can really be safe for use. Their fears are unfounded, as this product has actually been recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency for its safer chemistry.

Experts recommend that you use one tablet each month to keep your dishwasher smelling fresh and clean.

Making Your Dishwasher Like New Again

If you have been living with the awful smell that comes directly from your dishwasher, it might take you by surprise to learn that you don’t have to. By applying some of these simple tips and tricks, you can make your dishwasher look and smell like new again. It should take you no longer than a single afternoon to revitalize your appliance and get the smell of out of the dishwasher. No matter what method you use, it is possible to restore your dishwasher to its former glory.

Keep in mind that renewing your dishwasher has other benefits as well. It can also help you to get your dishes cleaner. Particularly if you choose to use store-bought cleaners, you can even descale your dishes while simultaneously cleaning your dishwasher.

With all of these potential benefits in mind, you should consider what you need to do to get the odor out of the dishwasher as soon as possible!


Why does my dishwasher have a bad odor?

Your dishwasher has a bad odor because it has many food particles left behind from dirty dishes. These food particles eventually begin to decompose and rot, leading to the smell in your dishwasher.

How do you deodorize a dishwasher?

Deodorizing a dishwasher requires you to thoroughly clean the entire unit including the filter, spray arms, gaskets, racks, and walls. You may use a baking soda paste, a vinegar solution, or a commercial cleaner to accomplish this.

How can I get rid of the smell in my dishwasher?

You can get rid of the smell in your dishwasher by removing food particles found on the filter and spray arms. Cleaning the inside walls, gaskets, and racks can also help to eliminate the odor in your dishwasher.

How do you deodorize a stainless-steel dishwasher?

In order to deodorize a dishwasher with a stainless-steel tub, you can clean the inside with a paste made from baking soda, water, and dish detergent. You can also use commercial cleaning products like Affresh to safely clean dishwashers with stainless-steel tubs.

Last update on 2024-05-01 at 10:28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API