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how to clean a smelly dishwasher

What to Do When Your Dishwasher Smells Bad

No one wants to be greeted by a foul odor when opening the dishwasher. Yet, at the same time, it’s hard to know where to start when your dishwasher smells bad. Our guide breaks down how to clean dishwasher components like the interior and filter, where odor can originate. We’ll also review how to combat clogs to banish bad smells.

Dishwasher Smells Bad?
Here’s How to Eliminate Odor

A dishwasher’s warm, moist environment creates the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew to develop on leftover food particles. As mold multiplies, it emits the unmistakable odor we recognize when our dishwasher smells bad. Here’s how to stop this odor in its tracks with simple cleaning methods that address the source of the smell.

How to Clean Inside a Dishwasher

Inside the dishwasher mold and mildew can easily collect on the gasket and walls, even if you use the best dishwasher detergent. Here’s how to remove mold and clean a smelly dishwasher interior with simple household ingredients:

  1. Place a small dishwasher-safe bowl of white vinegar in the top rack of an empty dishwasher
  2. Run a complete wash cycle with hot water
  3. Sprinkle a handful of baking soda directly in the base of the empty dishwasher
  4. Run a quick wash cycle with hot water
  5. For persistent mold and mildew, add a cup of bleach to the dishwasher’s base and run a complete wash cycle. Skip this step if your dishwasher has a stainless steel interior to avoid staining.
dishwasher smells bad
Image Credit: One Good Thing

How to Clean a Dishwasher Filter

A dishwasher’s filter screens out food particles to prevent drain clogs. But an abundance of moldy particles can be part of the problem when your dishwasher smells bad. Here’s how to clean a dishwasher filter quickly and easily to eliminate odor:

  1. Remove the dishwasher’s bottom rack
  2. Locate the filter and remove by twisting and pulling upward
  3. Hand wash the filter with warm, soapy water and rinse. Use a toothbrush to gently scrub away stubborn particles.
  4. Replace the filter, twisting to lock in place

How to Clean a Clogged Dishwasher

Dishwasher clogs typically consist of dirt, detergent suds and larger food particles. The following methods illustrate how to clean a clogged dishwasher and prevent clogs in common locations:

  • Garbage disposal: if you have a garbage disposal it likely shares a common drain with the dishwasher. Food particles left in the disposal can create a smelly back up when dishwasher water floods the drain. Run the disposal to clear it of any food particles before starting your dishwasher.
  • Air gap: if your kitchen has an air gap it can also collect smelly buildup over time. Clear the air gap of trapped food particles by removing the cap and disposing of any buildup before running the dishwasher.
  • Dispel drain clogs: Clear drain clogs by pouring a solution of baking soda and vinegar down the dishwasher drain. Allow the solution to sit for 10-15 minutes. Follow with boiling water down the drain to break up the clog and dispel the solution.

These cleaning techniques are simple enough to be your go-to response when a dishwasher smells bad. And if you require a dishwasher repair, Caesar’s Appliance Repair can also be part of your arsenal. Call us with any question or concern!

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