If your dishwasher smells like eggs just as you open it, then you would never want to put your dishes into it. This is not an uncommon occurrence, and most of you would find this in your dishwashers if they are not cleaned regularly. Whenever you get this fishy odor, you can check your dishwasher and clean it thoroughly to get rid of it. However, you should not wait until the dishwasher smells to clean it. It is necessary to secure health and hygiene by cleaning your dishwasher regularly to prevent any infections and contaminations. You may check the following components to eliminate any bad odors and keep your dishwasher clean and fresh throughout.
1. Contaminated Water
If your dishwasher smells like rotten eggs, this might be due to contamination of water. Sometimes the dishwasher might get water from across a garbage disposal area and get infected. Anaerobic bacteria present inside the sewer might be the reason that causes the sulfur-like smell in the water. Improper drainage connection of your dishwasher can also be the cause that your dishwasher smells like garbage. So to get rid of this possibility, make sure that your dishwasher gets clean water with no contamination.
Presence of Limescale due to Hard Water
Dishwashers can also get limescale build-ups in many compartments due to hard water. Since hard water contains a high amount of minerals such as calcium and magnesium carbonates from limestone, they cause damages to the dishwasher components. These residues would get accumulated on various parts over time, such as the heating element, which causes the inability to remove bacteria. Therefore, make sure to get rid of Hard Water Dishwasher and soften the hard water using softeners.
2. Dirty Dishwasher Gasket
When inspecting your dishwasher for a bad smell, start by checking the gasket or seal of the door. Food and debris might get built-up on the seal, being the reason your dishwasher smells like eggs. You can solve this by wiping the gasket with a clean, dry cloth. Then clean it with a soap solution made by mixing soap or baking soda with warm water. Thoroughly clean the gasket and the area where it touches the dishwasher to remove all the visible dirt. For maximum effectiveness, clean all the corners and edges of the seal and check for any worn-out parts on it.
3. Dirty Dishwasher Filter
A dishwasher filter blocked with food leftovers for a long time could also make your dishwasher smell bad. The function of the filter is to trap food particles to prevent them from clogging in the draining system. However, it might get accumulated and be the reason your dishwasher smells like rotten eggs. To eliminate this pungent odor, you should remove and clean the filter.
You can find the filter at the bottom under the rack in a cylindrical shape, which you would have to rotate and pull out. Some models of dishwashers may not have a filter. So you can google the model name to check whether your model has a filter or not. You can find the model details on the product sticker inside the main compartment or the door.
Scrub the dishwasher filter with soap and rinse it thoroughly in hot water. Also, wipe around the area fixing the filter, and remove all stray particles to clean everything.
4. Backed Up Garbage Disposal
Sometimes the dishwasher’s drain hose would be connected directly to the garbage disposal. If the garbage disposal is blocked and dirty, it would be the reason that your dishwasher smells like garbage.
To start cleaning the garbage disposal, put a stopper on the side of the sink. Fill the sink halfway with cool water and add the following components into it.
- 5 or 6 pounds of ice cubes
- 1/3 cup of lemon juice
- ¼ cup baking soda
After adding everything into the water, turn on the disposal and remove the plug. The ice serves the purpose of freezing and removing the grime from the blades. As the ice is being crushed, it also helps in sharpening the blades. The lemon and baking soda would remove the grease and odor from the dishwasher. To make your garbage disposal is clean, you can run it for a minute or two before starting the operation of your dishwasher. It would prevent your dishwasher from getting bad odors running into it.
5. Dirty or Kinked Drain Hose
The drain hose is responsible for taking out the wash water from the sump pump to the drain or garbage disposal after a wash cycle. If the dishwasher’s drain hose has bent or clogged with food particles, it will cause your pump to get dirty. If so, your dishwasher would stink, and you would have to check the hose.
Pull out your dishwasher from the cabinet and remove the drain hose. Check the condition of the hose, and you can either clean or replace it. However, to remove and clean the drain hose, you will have to follow these steps.
- Turn off the power to your dishwasher by unplugging it from the outlet. If it is wired to the junction box, you would need to unhook the wiring.
- Remove the drain hose from the two sides where it is connected to the dishwasher and the drain.
- Insert some soap or baking soda along with water from one end of the hose while plugging the other end.
- Shake the hose and then let the water run through the hose.
- Run more warm water through the hose and remove the cleaning solution.
- Reassemble everything back in the reverse order of disassembly, and your dishwasher smelling issue should be fixed.
6. Dead Pest
Sometimes the reason why your dishwasher smells like eggs is the machine itself. If you have cleaned all the components indicated above but still couldn’t find the cause for the foul smell, then you need to check behind the dishwasher. There are possible causes such as a rodent dead behind the machine or food residues being thrown accidentally behind or underneath the dishwasher.
Before you pull out the machine from the wall, make sure to disconnect it safely from the power and remove the water supply accordingly. Then check behind and underneath the appliance and remove any visible dirt and debris before placing it back in place. When you put back the dishwasher, be careful not to push it too much as you might crush the drain hose. After the repositioning of the dishwasher, run an empty cycle to confirm that everything is working despite the disturbance caused by removing it.
7. Air Gaps
The air gaps in dishwashers are the main requirement designed to prevent any backflow of the sink due to clogging. So there are times where this air gap is essential but might be highly disadvantageous if blocked. If your kitchen sink is clogged, there is a possibility that the air gap might be blocked and preventing the water from flowing. It would even get backed up in the dishwasher hose and cause the dishwasher to smell bad. So make sure to check the air gap and remove any accumulation of debris that has been blocking the way.
8. Faulty Thermostat
Although you may not think of this as a possible cause, a defective thermostat may be the reason why your dishwasher smells like rotten eggs. To check this, open the dishwasher mid-cycle and take the temperature reading of the water. If it is way below 120 ˚F, then your thermostat may not be functioning. The defective thermostat would not melt the greasy residues while running the cycle. Hence, it gets build up on the filter, drain pipe, and other components. Washing and cleaning of other components may lessen the smell for a while but does not solve it altogether. So this issue needs to be fixed to eliminate the bad odor.
How to Keep the Dishwasher from Smelling?
A smelling dishwasher can transfer the odor to the dishes and utensils during the drying cycle. This would increase your inconvenience as you might smell a bad odor on your plates while serving food. This is because the smell continues to persist unless the interior components of the machine are cleaned well. It might be both uncomfortable and unhygienic to use a stinky dishwasher. So make sure you eliminate the bad odors as soon as you find them and take necessary actions to prevent the smells from building up again. Follow these tips to keep your dishwasher fresh and odorless throughout its useful lifespan.
Clean The Machine
- Mix baking soda, dish soap, and water to create a paste.
- Scrub the interior of the dishwasher thoroughly using this mixture. You need to clean the gaskets, shelves, and walls of the machine.
- Rinse the dishwasher properly to wash away the soapy solution. The best option for this is to run an empty cycle at the highest temperature available.
- As a precautionary measure, always make it a habit to rinse the dishes before you put them in the dishwasher for washing.
- This would help remove all small food particles left on the plates when putting the plates inside the dishwasher.
- If there are leftovers that won’t get removed by rinsing, scrape off those large or small pieces of food to avoid any possible block of the dishwasher’s drainage system.
- You should not wait until the dishwasher starts smelling to clean it.
- Make a schedule for cleaning the filter and the inside of the machine periodically so that you wouldn’t miss the routine.
- This will ensure that no food particles or other debris gets left inside and gets clogged. Hence, it would prevent any possibility of causing odors in the future.
Avoid Faucet When Dishwasher Is Filled With Water
- Do not use the kitchen faucet when the dishwasher is filled with water.
- This is to prevent the diversion of water from the washing machine at the time it gets filled.
- If the water gets diverted at that moment, debris and food particles will get trapped in gaps of the machine due to lack of sufficient water requirement during the wash cycle.
- This would ultimately result in causing your dishwasher to smell in the long run.
Check The Water Softener
- Make sure to check your water softener regularly. Always keep the salt levels at a specifically recognized standard.
- Cycle the salt or switch the water softener salt to a specific kind. Use iron-removing salt to minimize bad smells and keep the dishwasher fresh all the way.
- Since the water softener reduces mineral build-ups, it would also save the components from premature damages and ensure the longevity of the dishwasher.
Follow Precautionary Measures
- Other ways of removing any dishwasher smells include running an overall cleaning cycle to flush all the dishwasher compartments. You may use white vinegar distilled with water to remove any persistent odors and bacteria.
- Alternatively, the application of rinse aids would not only ensure the proper working of your dishwasher but also enhance the quality of cleaning.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why does my dishwasher stink?
If your dishwasher smells bad, it indicates that there would be food particles trapped in the dishwasher filters, or the drain of pipes in the wall might be clogged. This is a common occurrence that could happen over time, and these blockages should be cleared to overcome the pungent smell.
How can I use bleach to clean my dishwasher?
Get a bleach-safe bowl and pour 1 cup of bleach into it. Then place it on the top rack of the dishwasher and run a full cycle, but you need to avoid the drying cycle. However, do not use bleach in a dishwasher with stainless steel components as bleach could damage it.
Can I use apple cider vinegar to clean my dishwasher?
Turn on the empty dishwasher and fill the bottom with water and stop the cycle. Then pour in 2 – 3 cups of plain white or apple cider vinegar and let the dishwasher finish the cycle. You can use this periodically to keep the dishwasher clean and fresh.
So as you have noticed, there may be times where your dishwasher might smell bad. The only way to eliminate this is by finding the source behind it. Then the odor can be eliminated by cleaning the specific components. Cleaning the dishwasher regularly with proper cleaners can keep your dishwasher clean, odorless, and hygienic.
For other dishwasher issues, you can refer to the articles on why the Bosch Dishwasher Won’t Start and the reasons for Frigidaire Dishwasher Lights Blinking. You can also troubleshoot it yourself if your Dishwasher Door Won’t Close.