Is there a rotten smell coming from your kitchen? You’ve taken out the garbage, cleaned out your old leftovers, and treated your garbage disposal but the smell keeps coming back. It could be your dishwasher. If you notice an eggy or fishy smell coming from your kitchen, check to see if the odor is coming from your dishwasher. Then, take these next easy steps for a simple DIY project to remedy the problem for good.

Why Does My Dishwasher Smell?

If you are wondering “why does my dishwasher smell,”  food particles is the answer. Your dishwasher works hard to get the grease and grime off of your dishes and make them safe to cook with and eat off, but those food particles have to go somewhere. A well-functioning dishwasher will wash them all away and out through your home’s sewage line. But with time, food particles can get stuck in different places and start to cause a terrible odor whenever they are disturbed.

How Can I Get Rid of Dishwasher Odor?

To get rid of dishwasher odor, you have to find the food build up and clean it out. The most common place to check is the screen or filter at the bottom of your dishwasher’s tub. This if your dishwasher’s first line of defense and is a common gathering place for unwanted and smelly food particles to gather. Clean out the filters if you notice a smell, and make sure to check them regularly to avoid any future malodors.

If the filters seems clean, it’s possible that there is food stuck in the holes in the sprayer arm. You can remove the arm, wash it out thoroughly, and return it to its rightful place. Make sure to check around the door of the dishwasher too, especially where it seals shut. Food can get stuck in there while loading, and isn’t washed away during a cycle.

A less likely but still possible reason for the smell is a problem with the drain hose or air gap. For your dishwasher to work properly, the dirty water is washed out through a drain hose and the air gap ensures that it can’t wash back in. If there is a kink in your drain hose, if it was installed improperly, or if there is a significant clog in your air gap, dirty water may be washing back into your dishwasher. Not only does this cause a foul smell, but it also dirties your dishes making them unsafe to use. Make sure to repair any damage to your drain hose immediately for the safety of you and your family.

If you’ve checked all of these and the dishwasher still smells a little off, consider how much you use it. If you eat out a lot or favor hand washing your dishes, it’s possible that you’ve simply kept the dishwasher door closed too long. This allows mold or bacteria to grow inside and start stinking up the place. Make sure to open your dishwasher door regularly, run at least a cycle a week, and don’t let dirty dishes hang out in there for too long.

How to Clean out the Odor

Once you’ve found the source of the odor and fixed it, the smell will probably still linger since it’s been working its way into every corner of your appliance. There are a couple DIY projects that will rid your dishwasher of the smell once the source is gone. You can spend the time and energy on your hands and knees scrubbing every inch with soapy water. While this may be effective, it is tedious.

A much simpler way is to use vinegar and baking soda. Empty your dishwasher completely, fill a dishwasher safe cup or bowl with vinegar and place on the top rack. Run the dishwasher for a full cycle and the vinegar will permeate every inch and eliminate the smell for you. Once it dries, the strong vinegar smell disappears too. To speed up that process, however, you can always sprinkle some baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher floor to help. Don’t add the baking soda until you’ve run the dishwasher once with the vinegar. Then run it again on the fastest cycle with the baking soda in it. After the second run through, your dishwasher will be sparkling clean and smell good as new.

If your dishwasher smells like rotten eggs, sewage, or fish, make sure to take a few simple steps to clean it out. Even if there isn’t an odor, it’s wise to take care of your appliance to not only avoid dishwasher odor but to keep it working at its maximum efficiency.

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