How to Get Onion Smell Out of Dishwasher

Dishwashers are undoubtedly a kitchen essential, making our lives more convenient. However, they can sometimes retain odors, especially if you’ve recently washed dishes with strong-smelling ingredients like onions. The lingering onion smell in your dishwasher can be quite unpleasant and even affect the taste of your freshly cleaned dishes. In this article, we’ll explore effective ways to get rid of that stubborn onion odor and ensure your dishwasher smells fresh and clean after every use.

Why Does the Smell Linger?

Before we delve into the solutions, it’s essential to understand why the onion smell tends to linger in your dishwasher. When you wash dishes with onions, the oils and sulfurous compounds from the onions can get trapped in the nooks and crannies of the dishwasher’s interior. Over time, this residue can lead to an unpleasant and persistent odor.

Regular Maintenance

Cleaning the Filter

One of the first steps in eliminating the onion smell from your dishwasher is cleaning the filter. The filter often traps food particles and residue, contributing to the odor. Remove the filter, rinse it under running water, and scrub it gently with a brush. Regular maintenance of the filter can significantly reduce odors.

Scrubbing the Interior

Next, give the interior of your dishwasher a good scrub. Pay close attention to the rubber seals, as odors can accumulate there. Use a mixture of warm water and dish soap to clean these areas thoroughly. Rinse with clean water afterward.

Running an Empty Cycle

Once you’ve cleaned the filter and interior, run an empty cycle with hot water and a cup of white vinegar. Vinegar is an excellent natural deodorizer that can help neutralize odors and sanitize your dishwasher. This should be done regularly to prevent future odor buildup.

Natural Deodorizers

Lemon and Baking Soda

Lemon and baking soda are known for their deodorizing properties. Place a cup of baking soda in a dishwasher-safe container on the top rack and add a few drops of lemon juice. Run a short cycle with hot water. The combination of lemon and baking soda will help eliminate odors and leave your dishwasher smelling fresh.


As mentioned earlier, vinegar can work wonders in eliminating odors. Simply place a cup of vinegar on the top rack and run a hot water cycle. The acidic nature of vinegar will break down onion residues and leave your dishwasher odor-free.

Commercial Dishwasher Cleaners

Recommended Products

There are several commercial dishwasher cleaning products available on the market. Look for ones specifically designed to tackle odors and residue buildup. Read product reviews and choose a reputable brand for the best results.

Proper Usage

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using commercial dishwasher cleaners. Typically, you’ll run the dishwasher empty with the cleaning product, ensuring a thorough cleaning of all interior components.

Preventing Future Odors

To prevent the lingering smell of onions in your dishwasher, consider these preventive measures:

  • Scrape dishes thoroughly before placing them in the dishwasher to minimize food residue.
  • Rinse dishes with cold water to remove any loose particles.
  • Avoid leaving dishes in the dishwasher for an extended period before running a cycle.


With these effective methods, you can bid farewell to the persistent onion smell in your dishwasher. Regular maintenance, natural deodorizers, and commercial cleaners all play a role in ensuring your dishwasher smells fresh and clean after each use. Say goodbye to unpleasant odors and enjoy your sparkling clean dishes.


Can I use bleach to remove the onion smell from my dishwasher?

While bleach can be effective, it’s not recommended as it may damage the dishwasher’s rubber seals and plastic components. Stick to safer alternatives like vinegar or baking soda.

How often should I clean my dishwasher to prevent odors?

It’s advisable to perform routine maintenance, including cleaning the filter and running vinegar cycles, once a month to prevent odors from building up.

Is it necessary to rinse dishes before loading them into the dishwasher?

Rinsing dishes before loading can help prevent odors and ensure cleaner dishes, but it’s not always necessary if you scrape off excess food.

Can I use scented dishwasher detergents to mask the onion smell?

Scented detergents may temporarily mask the odor, but they won’t effectively eliminate it. It’s best to address the root cause of the smell through proper cleaning.

What if my dishwasher still smells after trying these methods?

If the odor persists, it may indicate a more serious issue. Consider contacting a professional appliance repair service to assess and fix the problem.

Remember that a fresh-smelling dishwasher enhances the overall dining experience and ensures your dishes are ready to use without any unwanted onion aroma. By following these tips, you can maintain a clean and odor-free dishwasher effortlessly.

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