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How to Get Rid of Dishwasher Smell

Igal Geiler

Technically Reviewed by Igal Geiler on Mar 20, 2024 | Written by Igal Geiler

The dishwasher has made life much easier for people, taking care of one of the most commonly disliked house chores. But with time, using this device becomes less pleasurable due to its distinctive smell. We will help you figure out what causes that odor to appear and how to get rid of it. We will also give some tips on how to avoid the smelly dishwasher issue.

Of course, a dishwasher is a very useful invention, as thanks to it, you do not need to wash the dishes by hand. But if you do not take care of it properly, in a month or sooner, you will be very disappointed by its smell and performance. No one likes it if the dishwasher stinks when running. But before doing anything practical to fix smelly dishwasher, you need to understand what causes this problem in the first place.

Why Does My Dishwasher Smell Bad?

If the new dishwasher smells bad in the first days of use, then this is not a real issue. Most likely, this is the scent of plastic, and after several washing cycles, everything will be fine. But if your newly bought dishwasher smells musty, it can mean that you’ve been tricked into purchasing a used appliance. Most likely, the return, in this case, is not an option, so you will have to figure out a way to eliminate dishwasher odor, for instance, by using a dishwasher odor remover.

The main reason the dishwasher smells weird is food residues that accumulate in various parts of it. Of course, the mesh filter stops the majority of food residues, but some can get stuck in the drain mechanism and under the door.

It should be taken into account that the unpleasant smell can also come from the residual water at the bottom of the dishwasher and in the place where the sealing rubber is. The warm and humid interior of the appliance makes for perfect living conditions for mold, fungus, and bacteria which are the real reasons why a dishwasher stinks inside. To prevent mildew smell in dishwasher from appearing, always leave the door of the device open for drying and ventilation after you’ve finished using the appliance.

Another reason why a dishwasher always smells unpleasantly may be an incorrect installation of the dishwasher unit if the drain hose was connected directly without a siphon, you will immediately start sensing faulty smells coming from the sewer.

How To Clean Stinky Dishwasher 

The unpleasant smell inside dishwashers can be removed quite simply, and it is not necessary to buy any expensive cleaning products. First, you can try these cheap and simple methods to eliminate dishwasher odor:

  1. To address the problem at an early stage, pour a glass of ordinary baking soda into the bottom of the dishwasher, and start any program.
  2. To remove dirt and scale, you can pour a full cup of table vinegar into the lower part of the device, then start it as usual
  3. Turn on the program that has the highest possible temperature, and let the device go through a complete washing cycle without dishes.
See Also  How to Fix the LG Dishwasher CL Code?

In order not to look for answers to the question of how to remove an unpleasant smell from the interior of the dishwasher, you just need to follow the regular and proper cleaning of the appliance. It is also able to extend the device’s service life.

If you follow these simple but important rules, your dishwasher will always be in perfect order, and you won’t need to know how to deodorize dishwasher.

How to Avoid the Bad Smell

By following simple rules, you will be able to prevent the appearance of the smell of mildew and dirt, and you will know how to deodorize the dishwasher. We have gathered the following recommendations:

  • Never leave dirty dishes in the dishwasher.
  • Before putting the dishes in the appliance, remove all food residues.
  • After each use, wipe the entire interior with a soft, dry cloth to remove moisture.
  • Clean the walls and doors from fat residues every week.
  • Once every 10 days, clean the filter and inspect the hose for defects.

You can also use specialized fresheners for dishwashers, but remember that these can not replace regular cleaning procedures. Apply a freshener only after you have eliminated all the reasons why the dishwasher smells terrible in the first place.

How to Clean the Filter in the Dishwasher

The dishwasher filter is located at the bottom of the appliance, near the sprinkler. To avoid unpleasant odors and breakdowns, you need to remove the drain filter and clean it at least once a week, if not more often.

Disassemble the filter system and rinse it with tap water. In case of severe dirt accumulation, additional means can be used. These may include the liquid you use to wash dishes, soap, salt, soda, or vinegar. Food particles stuck in the filter can be removed with an old toothbrush.

Dishwashers must be cleaned only with soft sponges and rags. Do not use stiff or metal brushes. You need to dip a sponge in a soap-soda solution and then start wiping. In this way, you will remove dishwasher smell. You can also use the dishwasher deodorizer. 

In addition, if you find heavy contamination, you can leave the filter in water or with added detergent for several hours. Thus, it will be easier for you to wash off old filth. But you can prevent this situation by cleaning the filter on time.

Also, it is worth remembering that dirty dishes should never be left sitting in the dishwasher for a long time. If you don’t have time to run the washing cycle straight away, just leave them in the sink filled with water. 


To prevent such a problem in the future, we recommend carefully removing food residues from the dishes and periodically inspecting and cleaning the filter. By following these simple tips, your dishwasher will always be in perfect condition.

Date of page creation: March 14, 2024

Page update date: March 20, 2024

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