How to Make Rotten Dishwasher Smell Go Away

A foul odor emanating from your dishwasher can quickly turn mealtime into a less-than-pleasant experience. This unpleasant smell is often caused by food debris, grease, and bacteria that accumulate over time. Fortunately, there are simple and effective ways to make that rotten dishwasher smell go away. In this article, we will explore various methods to eliminate the odor and keep your dishwasher smelling fresh.

Understanding the Problem

1. Identifying the Source of the Odor

Before you can tackle the issue, it’s essential to identify where the smell is coming from. (H2) Most commonly, it originates from:

a. Food Residue

Food particles left behind on dishes and in the dishwasher’s interior can rot and cause an unpleasant odor.

b. Clogged Filters

Filters in the dishwasher can become clogged with debris, allowing bacteria to grow.

2. The Importance of Regular Maintenance

To prevent the smell from returning, it’s crucial to perform routine maintenance on your dishwasher.

Eliminating the Rotten Smell

3. Clean the Interior

(H2) Start by cleaning the interior of your dishwasher thoroughly. Here’s how:

a. Remove and Clean the Filter

Take out the dishwasher filter and clean it under running water to remove trapped food particles.

b. Wipe Down Interior Surfaces

Use a damp cloth or sponge to clean the interior walls, door gasket, and the bottom of the dishwasher.

4. Unclog the Spray Arms

(H2) Clogged spray arms can hinder proper water circulation, leading to odor problems. To unclog them:

a. Remove the Spray Arms

Detach the spray arms and soak them in warm, soapy water to dislodge any debris.

b. Check for Obstructions

Inspect the spray arm openings for obstructions and remove any blockages with a toothpick.

5. Use Vinegar and Baking Soda

(H2) Vinegar and baking soda are excellent natural cleaners that can help eliminate odors:

a. Run a Vinegar Cycle

Place a cup of white vinegar on the top rack and run a hot water cycle to sanitize and deodorize the dishwasher.

b. Baking Soda Finish

After the vinegar cycle, sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher and run a short cycle to neutralize any remaining odors.

6. Maintain Proper Drainage

(H2) Ensure that the dishwasher’s drain hose is free from clogs and properly connected to your sink’s drain.

7. Check the Garbage Disposal

(H2) If your dishwasher is connected to a garbage disposal, make sure it’s functioning correctly, as a faulty disposal can contribute to odors.

Preventing Future Odors

8. Scrape Dishes Before Loading

(H2) To minimize food residue, scrape dishes thoroughly before placing them in the dishwasher.

9. Rinse Aid and Dishwasher Cleaner

(H2) Use a high-quality rinse aid and dishwasher cleaner to maintain a fresh-smelling dishwasher.

10. Leave the Door Ajar

(H2) After completing a cycle, leave the dishwasher door slightly ajar to allow air circulation and prevent moisture buildup.


By following these steps, you can effectively banish the rotten smell from your dishwasher and enjoy clean and odor-free dishes. Remember that regular maintenance is key to preventing future odors, so make it a part of your kitchen routine.


Can I use lemon juice instead of vinegar to deodorize my dishwasher?

Yes, lemon juice can be a suitable alternative to vinegar for a fresh-smelling dishwasher. Follow the same process of placing it on the top rack during a hot water cycle.

How often should I clean my dishwasher to prevent odors?

It’s recommended to clean your dishwasher at least once a month to prevent odors and maintain its performance.

Is it necessary to use a dishwasher cleaner regularly?

Using a dishwasher cleaner once a month is a good practice to ensure a clean and odor-free dishwasher.

What should I do if my dishwasher continues to smell even after cleaning?

If the odor persists, you may need to inspect the drain hose and check for any underlying plumbing issues.

Can I use essential oils to add a pleasant scent to my dishwasher?

Yes, you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the dishwasher before running a cycle for a pleasant fragrance.

Remember that a fresh-smelling dishwasher enhances the overall cleanliness of your kitchen and ensures a more enjoyable dining experience for you and your family.

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