You may, after some time, notice that there is a bad odor coming from your dishwasher. It could be there all the time, or only after you've run a cycle of dishwashing - either way - it's a stinky smell that makes you wonder if your dishes, glasses and silverware are really getting cleaned.

What Causes Dishwasher To Smell?

So, why are you getting that odor?

There are normally 2 probable causes:

  • The filter in the dishwasher is clogged
  • The drain hose coming out of your dishwasher is clogged

Clogged Dishwasher Filter

Usually, the main contributor is the filter (also called "trap"). It is a very common issue and one that we run into quite often.

You see, what happens is that the filter in your dishwasher tends to get clogged from the food debris that is brushed off your platters and casserole dishes. And truthfully speaking, most homeowners do not make it a regular task to clean out that filter.

So, that foul odor that you are smelling coming from your dishwasher and maybe even from your dishes and glasses is most likely due to all those food particles that are getting stuck and accumulating in this filter.

Naturally, the solution is to remove and clean out that filter. We recommend that you check the manual for your specific make and model dishwasher to find out where the filter is, how to remove it and how to clean it.

Normally, once they are removed from the dishwasher it's just a matter of running the filter under some water, using soap and water and perhaps a light brush to remove any stuck on debris.

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.

Clogged Drain Hose

If the filter in your dishwasher is clean and you are still getting that stinky smell then another thing to check is the drain hose that is coming out of your dishwasher. If this hose 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.

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.
Make sure you have towels placed at the bottom of the kitchen sink cabinet as water may spill out of the hose.
5) Remove the fill line which is connected to the hot water valve under the kitchen sink.
6) Pull out the dishwasher.
7) 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.
8) Replace the drain hose, putting it on the dishwasher first.
9) 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).
10) Screw back the fill line.
11) Attach the new drain hose to it's place under the sink.
12) Turn the water source back on.
13) Plug the dishwasher back in.

How Do You Get Rid Of Bad Smell In The Dishwasher?

There are a few things that we can recommend for you to do to not only get that stinky smell out of your dishwasher but also to keep it clean. We also recommend that you do this cleaning process on a regular schedule not only to avoid getting that bad smell but also to keep your appliance running better for longer.

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 have any questions about dishwasher 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.