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How to Fix a Smelly Dishwasher

Friday, June 26, 2015 - 9:53am

Have you ever walked into your kitchen and wondered: Why does my dishwasher smell? We’ve all been there, but luckily, the problem can be easily fixed. There are a few steps you can take to reduce your dishwasher’s unpleasant smell and even a few fixes you can try yourself.

Why Does Your Dishwasher Smell?

There are various reasons why dishwashers start to smell, and here are some of the most common:

  • Gunky filters
  • Food residue on the inside of the unit
  • Food build-up in the door gasket
  • Water softeners that make it harder for your dishwasher to clean — try different salt types such as iron-removing salt.

How to Fix Your Smelly Dishwasher

If you’re experiencing smells in your dishwasher that won’t go away, there are various steps you can take to get rid of them. Try performing these tips a few times a year to keep the smells from coming back:

  • Use a rinse-and-hold cycle — Don’t leave dirty dishes in your dishwasher for an extended period of time, or the food can start to harden. If it’s not full enough to run completely, try doing a rinse-and-hold cycle to keep things clear.
  • Clean the filter — The filter is the most common cause of bad smells. Use your manual to learn how to properly remove the filter. Once removed, clean it thoroughly with hot water and soap. It’s also a good idea to clean out the area around the filter with a little soapy water.
  • Check the walls and gasket — Run a rag with hot, soapy water across the door and inside walls of your dishwasher. This can clean up any leftover food that didn’t make it down to the drain. With the same water, clean the seal around your dishwasher door. If you see mold, you may have a leak that needs replaced.
  • Scrub everything — Does your dishwasher have special parts? Scrub them all! Clean the racks in your sink, and be sure to scrub the bottom side where grime builds up. Also clean out areas for your silverware — after all, these smaller holes may collect larger debris.

A Clean Cycle

Once you’re done scrubbing and cleaning your dishwasher, it’s time to give it one last fresh feel. Pour 1 cup of distilled white vinegar in a bowl, and put this on the top rack of your dishwasher. Without adding anything else, run a full cycle in your dishwasher. This will wash the entire inside with vinegar, so the light acid can clean off any remaining food residue.

After the vinegar bath, sprinkle some baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher below your blade. Run the shortest cycle you have and you’ll get a great clean that should remove the vinegar smell for a fresh-smelling dishwasher.

If you’re having any other dishwasher problems or want to learn other helpful tips, check out our blog, or contact us at Mr. Rooter of Greater Syracuse today!

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