Your Dishwasher Could be The Cause of That Unsavory Smell

Fred's Appliance
January 13, 2014

Have you been noticing an unpleasant smell emanating from somewhere in your kitchen? If you have, and you’ve already checked the refrigerator for rotten food, washed down your garbage can, and ran some lemon peels through your disposal, you might want take a look at your dishwasher. While you would think dishwashers stay clean since their job is washing your dishes, the truth is food debris can cause the appliance to get quite dirty. Overlooking your dishwasher during a cleaning sprees can definitely lead to the machine exuding a sour smell. Luckily, ridding the appliance of the unwanted smell only takes a little elbow grease and a few timeless odor removing solutions.

Cleaning The Tub

Before you begin inspecting your dishwasher for leftover food, remove the racks and wash them with warm soapy water and place them somewhere safe to air dry. Now, take a look at the tub of your appliance. You will need to check every nook and cranny for dried and decomposing food. Make sure you look closely at your dishwasher’s drain. If you spot debris around or in the drain be sure to remove it. Your next step is to clean the gasket around your dishwasher’s door. Mildew and mold have a tendency to grow around the door seal, so your best battle plan is to use a toothbrush and hot soapy water to scrub the area thoroughly. Once that’s done, you’ll want to spray down the tub of your dishwasher with a solution of soapy water mixed with a small amount of bleach. Leave the liquid sitting for a few minutes and scrub all food debris away. When your appliance is clear of all food remnants, and you’ve rinsed the cleaning solution out of the tub, you may reinstall the dishwasher racks.

3 Odor Removal Techniques


  • Fill a bowl with two cups of white vinegar and place it on the top rack of your empty dishwasher. Close your appliance’s door and let the vinegar sit for an hour. After an hour is up, leave the vinegar in the appliance and run a normal wash cycle. The vinegar should sanitize the dishwasher and eliminate any unpleasant smells.


  • If you’re not a huge fan of vinegar, you can try baking soda instead. Before you go to bed sprinkle a cup of the powder inside the dishwasher and allow to sit overnight. In the morning, turn the appliance on and run a wash cycle. When the cycle is finished, using only water rinse out any remaining residue left over from the baking soda. When all is said and done, your dishwasher should be odor free.


  • When all else fails, try bleach. Like the vinegar technique, fill a bowl with bleach, but this time with only half a cup and then position it on your dishwashers top rack. Run a normal wash cycle and when the cycle is done, open the appliance’s door to allow it to air out for 1 to 2 hours. The bleach should have vanquished the unsavory smell that had invaded your kitchen.


In situations where cleaning and odor removal techniques do not work, a more serious problem could be causing the unappealing odor. Calling a dishwasher appliance repair company is the next step you should take when trying to resolve the problem.

If you’re having issues with your dishwasher, and you’re in need of a reliable appliance repair company, please contact us, and we’ll send one of our trusted technicians to your home to inspect and fix your appliance.

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