How to Get Smell Out of Dishwasher

It whips hot water round and round, while striping uneaten food bits and gunk down the drain.  This is a brilliant solution in time management, yet can be a nightmare when the leftovers build up.  The first sign of such build up can be a gradual odor coming from your dishwasher.

It is important to do periodic cleanings to prevent such a build up in many dishwashing machines.  In this guide, you will be provided with several household solutions for eradicating such dishwasher smells.

Deodorizing Washing Machine Methods

1 Rotten Food Check

The first step in deodorizing your dishwasher is to check to see if there is any food stuck within the mechanics.  If food is unlucky enough to get jammed within a tight space, it is likely to rot and develop and unpleasant odor.  Before performing a food check, you will want to first remove the top and bottom rack.  Doing this will allow more visibility and easier access of your hands to the various bits and pieces likely to be scattered through the machine.

2 Check for Leakage

As dishwashers get older it is not uncommon for them to develop water leaks that lead to long-term stagnant puddles under the appliance. If a puddle has enough time to sit within the dark underside of the appliance a mildew odor is sure to develop. If a smell remains despite a clean interior, look under the machine to check that this area is dry and free of liquid.

3 Check Traps Under Water Jet

Most dishwashers contain traps under the water jets. Within these spaces water can become trapped and turn eventually turn rancid. If this is found to be the cause you will want to remove the foul smelling liquids from these areas and clean these areas thoroughly to remove any unpleasant residue.

4 White Vinegar Cycle

If odors continue after you have done a full scan of the machine for rotting food, you will want to apply a white vinegar treatment within the machine.  This household acid is strong enough to eliminate many food related odors, but remains safe to use around kitchenware. After removing all of your glasses, plates and kitchenware from your dishwasher, run an empty cycle on the hottest setting with two full cups of white vinegar added into the bottom. After the cycle has completed, open the door and provide an hour for the the stench of vinegar to evaporate away.

5 Baking Soda Run

This household powder can be used for a variety of stenches and can work wonders in eliminating smells within the dishwasher. Measure a cup of baking soda and add it within an empty dishwashing cycle at the hottest setting. Once the cycle has completed, you can perform a smell test and place washer back within use.

6 Just Bleach It

Similar to the previous solutions, running bleach within an empty hot wash cycle can help in combating smelly residues within the dishwashers interior. Add a half cup of bleach within the bottom of the dishwasher prior to running a full cycle on the hottest setting. Once completed, open door for 1-2 hours to allow the machine to air out.

There is often built up crud on the inside walls of the dishwasher long after you have successfully removed the the smell from the inside of your dishwasher. In order to complete the job, you can take advantage of the following guide to have your dishwasher clean, smelling fresh and sparkling like new.


Published by

Joe Fresh

Joe is an odor combatant, chemistry extraordinaire and all around good guy. He has an over-productive olfactory system with absolutely zero tolerance for unpleasant aromas.

One thought on “How to Get Smell Out of Dishwasher”

  1. I had a plastic spoon melt on the heating element in my dishwasher and now I have a smokey smell I have run it several times with white vinegar smell still there any thoughts?

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