Why Does My Dishwasher Stink?

Why Does My Dishwasher Stink?

If you’ve ever opened your dishwasher to find a bad smell, you’re not alone. Many people experience this problem, but don’t worry. There are several reasons why this may be happening, and most are easily fixable.

What Causes the Smell?

There are a few different reasons why your dishwasher may be smelling bad. One of the most common is food particles and other debris being left behind after a wash cycle. Over time, this can build up and cause an unpleasant odor.

Another possible cause is a clogged or dirty filter. This can prevent water from draining properly, leading to stagnant water and a bad smell. Additionally, if your dishwasher isn’t being used frequently, water can sit in the bottom and begin to smell.

How Can I Fix It?

The good news is that there are several things you can do to get rid of the smell in your dishwasher. First, try running a cycle with a cup of white vinegar. This will help to break down any buildup and eliminate odors.

You can also try cleaning the dishwasher’s filter. This is usually located at the bottom of the dishwasher and can be removed and rinsed under running water. Similarly, make sure the dishwasher’s spray arm and nozzles are clean and free of debris.

What Else Can I Do?

Prevention is key when it comes to avoiding a smelly dishwasher. Make sure to rinse dishes thoroughly before putting them in the dishwasher, and use hot water and a good quality detergent to help break down any food particles.

It’s also a good idea to run your dishwasher regularly, even if you don’t have a full load. This will help prevent stagnant water from sitting in the bottom and causing odors.


Q: Can I use bleach to clean my dishwasher?

A: While bleach can be effective at killing bacteria, it’s not recommended for use in dishwashers. This is because bleach can damage the dishwasher’s rubber parts and plastic components.

Q: What if the smell persists?

A: If you’ve tried all of the above methods and the smell is still lingering, it may be time to call a professional. A dishwasher repair technician can help diagnose and fix the problem.

Q: Can a smelly dishwasher make my dishes smell bad?

A: Yes, a smelly dishwasher can transfer odors to your dishes. This is because the water and steam inside the dishwasher can absorb the smell and then transfer it to your dishes during a wash cycle.


A smelly dishwasher can be a frustrating problem, but it’s one that can usually be resolved with a little bit of effort. By keeping your dishwasher clean and running it regularly, you can help prevent odors from developing. And if all else fails, don’t hesitate to call in a professional for help.