How to Get Rid of Smelly Dishwasher Odor

dishwasher© vAslan Alphan / Getty Images Signature / Canva

No one likes a smelly dishwasher. Not only does it make your kitchen less pleasant, but it can also be indicative of food particles and bacteria that have built up in the filter over time. Fortunately, there are easy steps you can take to get rid of those odors. Let’s take a look at what causes these odors, and how you can clean them up quickly and easily.

What Causes A Foul Odor in the Dishwasher?

According to home improvement expert Bob Vila, the most common cause of a foul odor in the dishwasher is food particles trapped in the filter. Other culprits can be mold and bacteria buildup from prolonged wetness, detergent residue, or old soap scum left on dishes or the interior of the machine—all of which can cause an unpleasant smell inside your dishwasher.

Steps for Cleaning a Smelly Dishwasher

Fortunately, cleaning out a smelly dishwasher isn’t too difficult of a task. Here are some simple steps you can take to get rid of any bad smells coming from your dishwasher:

1. Empty out the contents and wipe down any debris inside with a damp microfiber cloth. – The first step to getting rid of the smelly odor is to empty out the dishwasher, discarding any debris or food remains. Next, take a damp microfiber cloth and wipe down inside the dishwasher carefully. Make sure to reach all corners, crevices and folds of your dishwasher’s interior so that no smelly residue is left behind. Afterward, run a rinse cycle without any dishes in order to complete the task.

2. Place a glass cup or bowl filled with distilled white vinegar between prongs on top rack, and set the dishwasher to its hottest setting cycle possible. – Before attempting harsher measures, such as excessive scrubbing or purchasing chemical cleaners, try placing a cup of distilled white vinegar on one of the prongs of the top rack in your dishwasher. Setting the dishwasher to its hottest cycle possible can help dissolve hard water deposits and soften stuck-on food particles that may be causing an off odor. It’s an inexpensive solution that might make all the difference!

3 (optional). Add drops of an essential oil, such as lemon or lavender, to mask the vinegar scent if desired. – The smell of vinegar may be initially strong. To decrease its potency, add a few drops of an essential oil such as lemon or lavender for a pleasant aroma. Your smelly dishwasher should now smell freshly clean with no unwanted odors lingering behind.

4. Leave the door open for an hour afterwards to air out completely. – Air circulation is key to maintaining a dishwasher in perfect working order and free from odors. A best practice for cleaning a smelly dishwasher is to leave the door open for an hour after running the cleaning cycle. Doing so will provide ample time for air to circulate and help dissipate any residual odors that may have built up over time. This small practice can make your kitchen ooze with excellent hygiene and great smelling dishes every day!

How Often Should You Clean Your Dishwasher?

It is recommended that you clean your dishwashers at least four times per year depending on usage level and food particles trapped in filter. If you find yourself having to do this more often than that, then consider investing in preventative measures such as using rinse agents when washing dishes and making sure all dishes are scraped off before loading into the washer for optimal performance!

Keeping your dishwasher smelling fresh doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming! By following these simple steps—emptying out contents, wiping down debris, running hot cycles with distilled white vinegar (and optional essential oils), and leaving the door open for airing out—you should be able to get rid of any unwanted odors quickly and easily so your kitchen always smells fresh! Regular maintenance will also help keep those odors away – so remember to clean your dishwashers at least four times per year depending on usage level!

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This article is intended for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only and should not be construed as advice, guidance or counsel. It is provided without warranty of any kind.