Have you been noticing a funny odor on your dishes after you hand wash them? Kind of a "wet dog" type of smell? It may have just begun occurring or perhaps it's been happening for a while. Either way, we're here to help explain it and give you some solutions.

So, why do your dishes smell after hand washing them? - The answer could be contaminated water or it could be bacteria caught in microscopic cracks in your dishware or the phosphate in your detergent is not getting rinsed off well enough.

Let's look at each issue individually.

  • Contaminated Water - if the water coming into your home is mildly contaminated - this may cause those unpleasant odors on your dishes, glasses and silverware.
  • Bacteria - most all of our plates will develop small, microscopic cracks over time and it's very feasible that food can get lodged in those cracks and begin decaying.
  • Lack of phosphates - years ago the EPA banned phosphates from dishwasher detergent. This can make the detergent stick to everything that is being washed and as a result, cause an odor.

How Do You Get The Smell Out Of Dishes?

There are things that you can do to get rid of these unpleasant odors.

1) Get your water tested - there are many water testing kits available these days so that you can test your water yourself for any contaminants. If you do find that there are problems with your water supply, contact your local water department immediately.

Here is a list of the water utilities in the areas in and near Atlanta, Ga. that we service:

Atlanta Watershed Management
404-546-0311

Cherokee County Water and Sewer Authority
770-479-1813

Cobb County Water
770-528-1155

Clayton County Water Authority
770-960-5200

Coweta County Water Authority
770-254-3710

Dekalb County Watershed Department
770-621-7200

Douglasville Water Department
770-949-7617

Fayette County Water System
770-461-1146

Forsyth County Water Department
770-781-2160

Fulton County Water Department
404-612-6830

Gwinnett County Water Resource
678-376-6700

Hall County Water Resource
770-535-8288

Henry County Water Authority
770-957-6659

Paulding County Water Department
770-222-6868

Walton County Water and Sewer
770-466-4887

Water Service Division
770-640-3040

2) Bacteria on dishes - If you have old dishes and suspect that there is a problem with bacteria accumulating in cracks then you can try filling a tub with hot water and adding 2 or 3 capfuls of bleach to it. Place the dishes in there and let them soak for at least one hour. Rinse them thoroughly. I would recommend to wash them again with your dish detergent as well.

3) Lack of phosphates - Although the removal of phosphates is very beneficial to our environment, the result is that our dishware and glasses have a bad smell and sometimes a hazy glaze on them. The solution is to add white vinegar to the dish washing process. For hand washing dishes and glasses, place them in a tub filled with water until they are all submerged. Place a bowl upright in your dishwasher (normally on the upper rack) and add 1 to 2 cups of vinegar to that bowl. Run the dishwasher as usual.

We hope that these solutions help you with your smelly dishware problems.

If you have any questions about your plumbing system or are having some problems with it, call Atlantis Plumbing today at 770-443-8229. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.