If you opened the dishwasher this morning and noticed a funny "fishy" smell coming from the dishwasher and/or your dishes and glasses, well - it usually means that your dishwasher needs a little cleaning.

Why Does My Dishwasher Have A Bad Odor?

The usual culprit in foul smelling dishwashers is the filter (aka trap) inside your dishwasher. It is quite common for a dishwasher filter to get clogged so removing that and cleaning it would be a good first step to cleaning your dishwasher.

The foul odor you are smelling on your dishes and glasses is most likely due to food particles getting stuck and accumulating in this filter.

Cleaning out the filter can remedy the situation.

A second factor that may be the cause or contributing to that fishy smell is a problem with the drain hose coming out of your dishwasher. If it somehow got clogged, that backup of food particles can also be accumulating and rotting, causing the bad smell.

Correcting any kinks in the hose to unlodge the clog or replacing it entirely can fix this situation.

How Do I Get The Fish Smell Out Of My Dishwasher?

There are some things that you can do (and should do regularly) to not only get that fishy smell out of your dishwasher but to keep it clean.

How To Clean The Dishwasher Filter

Note that not every dishwasher has a filter, but if you have a newer model, it should have one. Dishwasher filters are usually located at the bottom of the unit.

If you're not sure - here's an easy tip:

  • a) Inside your dishwasher, by the door there should be a tag with a model number.
  • b) Type that into Google along with your dishwasher brand and you should find the manual giving you details about your particular unit.
  • c) Follow the instructions in that manual on how to clean your filter.

Otherwise, the general instructions are...

  1. When you locate the filter at the bottom of the dishwasher, simply twist it and remove it.
  2. Reach into the hole where the filter was and clean it out, make sure there is no debris in there.
  3. Clean the filter in the sink with warm, soapy water and a good scrub.
  4. Put the filter back in place and you are done.

Replacing The Dishwasher Hose

The hose that drains the residual water from the dishwasher can sometimes get kinked or clogged.

Replacing or fixing this requires a pulling the entire dishwasher out and little bit of plumbing. If you are not comfortable with this we recommend you contact your plumber to do the job.

Otherwise the steps are...

  1. Unplug the dishwasher (plug is usually under the kitchen sink)
  2. Turn off the water source to the dishwasher.
  3. Unscrew the dishwasher unit from the cabinet it's in.
  4. Under your kitchen sink, you will find the dishwasher hose - unscrew that.
  5. Make sure you have towels placed at the bottom of the kitchen sink cabinet as water may spill out of the hose.
  6. Remove the fill line which is connected to the hot water valve under the kitchen sink.
  7. Pull out the dishwasher.
  8. Unscrew and remove the drain hose that is connected to the dishwasher. Again, lay down some towels on the floor to absorb any water that may spill out of the hose.
  9. eplace the drain hose, putting it on the dishwasher first.
  10. Push the dishwasher back into place (make sure the new hose and any lines are pulled through the holes in the cabinet before you fasten the screws to the dishwasher).
  11. Screw back the fill line.
  12. Attach the new drain hose to it's place under the sink
  13. Plug the dishwasher back in.

Monthly Cleaning

To keep your dishwasher running smoothly and to clean it - follow these steps monthly.

1) Empty the dishwasher.

2) Check the drain at the bottom of your dishwasher and remove anything that may be caught there.

3) Fill a dishwasher safe cup with 8 ounces of white vinegar and place that cup in the top rack of the dishwasher.

4) Sprinkle one cup of baking soda across the bottom of the dishwasher.

5) Run the dishwasher and make sure it's on a hot-water cycle.

If you are having problems with your dishwasher, give us a call at Atlantis Plumbing - serving the Atlanta, Georgia area. Call 770-443-8229.