Why Does My Dishwasher Smell

Why Does My Dishwasher Smell

We know how it feels when bad smell comes after you open your dishwasher after a cleaning cycle. It’s quite troubling and this happens with many people and most people usually have this question in their mind, why does my dishwasher smell so bad?

Sometimes it’s so worse that dishwasher smells like sewage also. But how is that possible? So first you have to know the answer to these questions, after that you can start to fix the problem. There are some possible reasons because of which your dishwasher smells.

Let’s have a look at some potential reasons for why your dishwasher smells bad, and later we will discuss how to clean that dishwasher.

A blocked Food Trap:

One of the most common reasons for a bad-smelling dishwasher is the showing of old, rotting food somewhere inside the device. Whenever your dishwasher smells, then check the food trap placed at the bottom of your tub.

Look for the hole there that collects runoff from the cleaning cycle. When the dishwasher is dry, take out the bottom dish rack and look to see if there’s old food inside the food trap’s basket.

If there is no food on the surface, try to take out the basket and delve farther into the opening to see if anything is there. Do this carefully because if you’ve ever had a glass break inside your dishwasher, there may be loose pieces in the food trap.


 An Impaired Drain Hose:  

The job of a drain hose is to clear the dirty water and any petite food particles into the disposal unit under your sink. If anything goes wrong with the drain hose, then there are chances that your dishwasher may start to smell.

And when this happens you can try to pull your dishwasher away from the wall and see if there is any bends, kinks or other issues that would stop the smooth flow of material through the hosing.

You can straighten the hose to see whether the material is passing from one end to the other without a problem or not.

If you can’t straighten the drain hose then it’s damaged, and you have to replace the part yourself if not then seek professional help.

Sometimes if the drain hose is placed poorly or not curved then it will obstruct with food waste, and it could still be the reason why your dishwasher smells.

May Be You are Not Running it:

When you rinse your dishes before loading them in your dishwasher, tiny food particles remains in it. Many people fill their dishwasher for some days before running it when it’s full, this may also be a reason for their dishwasher to smell bad.

Usually bacteria grow on dishes and when the bacteria break down while a cleaning cycle; they could emanate the unpleasant odor you smell in your dishwasher.

To fix this issue try to run your dishwasher more often. Even if it isn’t full, you can easily run it on the “light” cycle by this way you don’t use much energy while washing fewer dishes.

Sometimes your dishwasher is not at all responsible for the bad smell. As we have stated, the drain hose joins your unit to the garbage disposal in your sink.

And if the food stuck inside of your disposal, the blocked food will stop your dishwasher from emptying properly.

So it’s always better to run your disposal thoroughly and ensure there is no more food trapped inside of it.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why dishwasher smells like fish?

This happens only when the particles of food got trapped in the filter. When your filter is not clean then a dishwasher will smell fishy. So it’s better to clean your filter regularly. Every model have different filter. But they are placed in same place.

How to clean smelly drain hose?

You can easily do it with vinegar, just boil four cups of it, and then pour half down the drain. After this run cold water for some time and then put the rest of the hot vinegar down the drain to rinse.

How to keep dishwasher from smelling between washes?

You can put a container of lemon juice inside your dishwasher. By this way you can keep the dishwasher smelling fresh. And it will be much better if you run hot wash in an empty dishwasher to clean out food debris from the corners.

How do you get rid of smell in dishwasher?

You can do this by running two separate cycles first one with vinegar and second one with baking soda to get rid of any remaining smell.

For the first cycle, put on upper rack of the dishwasher a bowl containing distilled white vinegar and run a normal cycle. Then, run the second cycle after pouring a cup of baking soda into the bottom of the dishwasher.

Why does my dishwasher smell like sewage?

When this happens most of the times it means that the dishwasher filters needs to be cleaned. This also happens when there is a blockage in the inlet or the drain of the pipes inside the wall.

If you want you get rid of bad odors of your dishwasher you can try the following tips:

It’s always better to scrape and rinse dishes properly before putting them into the dishwasher.

Never run other hot water appliances, when you use your dishwasher so that its hot cycles is literally as hot as possible, and when this happens it kills carking bacteria and cast down mold growth.

It’s very crucial to load your dishwasher properly for the best results, and take care while scraping them off pretty thoroughly and pre rinsing. And try to clean your dishwasher every 3-4 months each year.

If you take care of your dishwasher it will help you a lot, just make sure you go through your dishwasher manufacturer’s guidelines when you clean, to keep your dishwasher in excellent condition.

One more thing you can do after running the cleaning cycle, open the dishwasher door and let it air dry thoroughly overnight. And make sure to wipe the interior of the door with a clean towel to spur the air-drying process.


So we have discussed in detail the potential reasons of smell in a dishwasher. If you maintain your dishwasher properly then there are chances that you will not get that mystery smell in your dishwasher.