Why Does my Dishwasher Smell?

by | Aug 31, 2023 | Cleaning Services, Kitchen Cleaning

Hello there, compadres! Do find yourself with a dishwasher that smells like an elephant’s armpit after a long day at the circus? Well, fret not! You’re not the only one riding the stink train. This is a common issue among many sods. More often than not, the culprit is the uninvited dinner party remnants or a greasy encore. Luckily for you, there are ways to make it hit the road. In this comic strip of a blog post, we will unearth the reason behind that bitter dishwasher smell and how to exorcise it!

Now, huddle close and let’s crack this stink code of a dishwasher, shall we?

If your dishwasher has a whiff of mildew, then our prime suspect would be food fragments or see Mr. Grease sneaking around. How do we deal with them, you ask? Easy peasy!

  • Run your dishwasher in hot water with a concert of vinegar. You can also add a dose of baking soda for some extra oomph. If the troublemaker continues to spread its wings, it’s time for a deep-cleaning intervention.
  • Roll up those sleeves, remove everything from the machine and clean all movable parts with hot soapy water. Cap it off with an encore performance of the hot water-vinegar blend. But what if your dishwasher has a case of the sewer stinks?

A likely cause can be a traffic jam in the drain line. This can happen if Mr. Grease or those pesky food fragments decide to throw a party overtime in there. For a quick eviction, you will need to clear the clog by running a hot water-vinegar session. If any tough customers refuse to budge, it’s time to invite a plumber for a professional beat down. If you’re tasting the scent of chlorine in the air, it’s due to an overdose of the bleach party.

This can become a regular performance if you’ve been generous with the bleach or if the dish-drying fairy has gone AWOL. The recipe to fix?

You’ve guessed it! A dose of the good old hot water-vinegar routine, embellished with a dollop of baking soda.

How do we tackle this odorous villain, you ask?

Turn up the heat volume by thoroughly cleaning the seals, gaskets, and the heart of the dishwasher. Stay tuned for the detailed cleaning hit-list coming your way!

Then we have the filmy duo, soap scum and detergent residue. These chaps can stick around if that detergent has been flowing like Champaign or if your dishes skipped the rinse gala before their dishwasher adventure.

But fear not! You can run your empty dishwasher on its most feverish setting, accompanied by a cup of vinegar in the detergent dispenser. If you think it’s reasonable to give it a professional wardrobe change, consider bringing in the cavalry – the neighboring dishwasher cleaner!

Then there’s the chance of a clogged dishwasher. After giving it a thorough scrub down, if your dishwasher keeps singing the blues, there could be a hiccup with the drain. This sinkhole where the dishwasher usually channels its waste can cause water to bunker down in the appliance’s pit. This not only gives birth to mold but also attracts its cousin, mildew.

To cure this, run your dishwasher with a cup of vinegar and let it marinate for an hour. Then burn rubber with the dishwasher on its hottest hitch. If it continues to be a regular, you may need more arsenal like a high-capacity marine pump or a plumber’s snake to clear the hurdle.

Got more stink trouble even after deploying these nifty tricks? It’s time to think about your water squad! If your place is a haven for hard water, then minerals may start building shady headquarters in your dishwasher and host a foul-scented fiesta.

To neutralize this, a commercial descaling solution or righteous white vinegar will do the trick. If they choose not to pack their bags and leave, it’s time to rope in a plumber to bring in the hammer.

Related: find out more about how to unclog a dishwasher. 

Tackling a Stinky Dishwasher

If your dishwasher’s putting up a stinky front, here’s the itinerary to savor a breath of fresh air.

  • Kick things off by regularly cleaning this precious appliance – focus on the door seal, gasket and the machine’s belly.


  • Don’t forget your heavenly hygiene mission also involves cleaning out the drain for any food or grease squatters.


  • Run your garbage disposal, the unsung hero before the dishwasher roll call to shoo flea-ridden odors.


  • For the finishing touch, add a cupful of divine white vinegar to your empty dishwasher and fling it on fire with the hottest cycle, sending any lingering stench into oblivion.

If your dishwasher continues to play foul after giving these trips a hearty try, there’s most likely a glitch in the machine’s armor. Call in the cavalry! A qualified appliance repair technician should be able to pinpoint and rectify the issue.

* With disciplined care and periodic check-ups, it should purr along just fine.

The best offense, they say, is a good defense. Reflected in the case of dishwashers, a drop of prevention is indeed worth a drum full of antidote! Here’s how you win this war:

1. Clear all food culprits before stowing dishes in the dishwasher.

2. Obliterate food buildup via frequent garbage disposal operations.

3. Run the dishwasher with hot water to keep it squeaky clean.

If none of these cause an exodus of the stench, chances are that grease or food fragments have nested in the spray arm or drain hose.

Who ya gonna call? Vinegar! Soak the spray arm in vinegar for an hour for a thorough clean-up.

1. Remove the drain hose from the dishwasher and run boiling water through it for the ultimate exorcist-spa.

2. If your dishwasher still reeks after doing this tango, it’s time to call a specialist to give your appliance the once over.

By adopting these basic steps and fueling it with a bit of elbow grease (for cleaning, not for cooking!) and cleaning supplies, you can exorcise the nefarious smells and make your dishwasher a delight to behold and operate!

Bidding Farewell to Smells & Welcoming Freshness!

Don’t lose hope if the stinky-thinky persists in your dishwasher. Yes, doom might seem imminent, but shield up and arm yourself with proper cleaning tools.

Ensure you’re not going light on the detergent – your dishes need them to remain sparkling clean and odor-free. Do your water dance using the hottest setting to obliterate any lingering stench demons.

Once you’ve sleuthed out and rectified the smell’s ground zero, your dishwasher should be back to doing what it does best – being fabulously fresh and odor-free!

To prevent the return of the stench king, remember to give your dishwasher a nice scrub-down now and then before beckoning the water gods with the hottest setting after each use. Also, avoid shoving in too many dishes simultaneously. Proper water circulation is essential to ensure all dishes come out clean and fresh!

Run this playbook, and voilà! Your dishwasher shall remain eternally fragrant and efficient, all the way until the end of the world! (Or at least until the warranty expires)

Hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but if your dishwasher has decided to be an unrelenting stink bomb despite all efforts, there’s a high chance something’s awry with the machine itself. You need the big guns now – ring up your trusted appliance repair technician to work their magic!

Dishwashers can also usher in clouds of molds & mildew if they are not cleaned and dried off correctly. Oh, I hear Ukraine Cleaners knocking! They sail in like Pegasus bearing the gift of godly cleanliness.

These angels of cleanliness offer a comprehensive house cleaning service to whip every nook and cranny into shape. With our experience and professionalism, you will feel rest assured that your home is in the right hands. What are you waiting for? Contact us today to book a spot and get a free quote!

And there you have it, ladies and gents! The handbook to enjoying a long, aromatic relationship with your dishwasher! Say adieu to pesky odors, and let your dishwasher roll in happiness!

Let us wow you with our phenomenal maid services, and relax while we take care of your home, all while knowing you are helping a wonderful cause.

Related Posts

How to Clean a Bathtub

How to Clean a Bathtub

If you're hankering for a bubbly Jacuzzi fantasy, a spick-and-span clamshell is essential, starship! Keep that porcelain pumped free from grungy interlopers, or they'll batten onto your birthday suit like grease to a short-order grill man. But, those stubborn colonies...

How to Clean Hard Water Stains from Household Surfaces

How to Clean Hard Water Stains from Household Surfaces

Gather round, homeowner extraordinaires! You've likely got a slight blight upon your lovely abodes: those baffling blemishes known as hard water stains! Like gatecrashers at a soiree, these pesky spots have no invite but insist on attending. Despair not, my friends!...

How to Choose Recurring Cleaning and What Benefits

How to Choose Recurring Cleaning and What Benefits

Ever find yourself in a looping maelstrom of dirt and disarray, constantly scrubbing up your precious abode to battle the seemingly unending tide of clutter? Does time escape you, vanishing into the abyss, as you despairingly try to whip your residence into orderly...