Why Does My New Dishwasher Smell Like Fish

Have you ever opened your brand-new dishwasher only to be greeted by a pungent fishy odor? It’s not a pleasant surprise, and it can leave you wondering what could be causing such an unpleasant smell. In this article, we’ll dive deep into the reasons behind why your new dishwasher might smell like fish and explore practical solutions to tackle this issue. Let’s get started!

Understanding the Issue

1. Bacterial Growth

One of the primary reasons your new dishwasher may emit a fishy odor is bacterial growth. Over time, bacteria can accumulate in the hidden nooks and crannies of your appliance, leading to unpleasant smells.

2. Food Residue

Food residue left on dishes before loading them into the dishwasher can also contribute to the fishy smell. It can decompose and release unpleasant odors during the washing cycle.

3. Clogged Filters

Dishwashers have filters that trap food particles and debris. When these filters get clogged, they can become a breeding ground for bacteria and result in foul odors.

How to Address the Issue

4. Regular Cleaning

The most effective way to prevent your dishwasher from smelling like fish is regular cleaning. Make sure to clean the interior, including the racks, spray arms, and filter, at least once a month.

5. Check for Clogs

Inspect the dishwasher’s filter regularly and remove any debris or food particles. Cleaning the filter ensures that it functions optimally and doesn’t contribute to bad odors.

6. Use Proper Detergent

Using the right dishwasher detergent is crucial. Opt for a high-quality detergent that can effectively break down food residue and prevent bacterial growth.

7. Empty the Dishwasher Promptly

Avoid leaving clean dishes in the dishwasher for an extended period. Empty it as soon as the cycle is complete to prevent any lingering odors.

Preventive Measures

8. Rinse Dishes Before Loading

To minimize food residue, give your dishes a quick rinse before placing them in the dishwasher. This will help prevent the decomposition of food particles during the wash cycle.

9. Run Empty Cycles

Occasionally, run an empty dishwasher cycle with a cup of white vinegar or baking soda to neutralize odors and keep your appliance fresh.

10. Keep the Door Ajar

After each use, leave the dishwasher door slightly ajar to allow proper ventilation. This can help prevent the buildup of moisture and odors.


In conclusion, a fishy odor emanating from your new dishwasher can be attributed to factors like bacterial growth, food residue, and clogged filters. However, with regular cleaning, proper maintenance, and some preventive measures, you can enjoy a fresh-smelling dishwasher. Say goodbye to those unpleasant surprises when you open the door!


Why does my new dishwasher smell like fish even though I rinse my dishes before loading?

Rinsing dishes before loading is a good practice, but it’s essential to clean the dishwasher itself regularly to prevent bacterial growth.

Can I use lemon juice to combat the fishy odor in my dishwasher?

Yes, running a cycle with lemon juice or vinegar can help neutralize odors and refresh your dishwasher.

Is it normal for a new dishwasher to have a slight odor when first installed?

It’s not uncommon for new appliances to have a minor odor initially. However, if it persists, consider the cleaning and maintenance tips mentioned in this article.

Can I use bleach to clean my dishwasher?

While bleach can be effective, it’s best to use milder cleaning agents like vinegar or baking soda to avoid potential damage to your dishwasher.

How often should I clean the dishwasher filter?

You should clean the dishwasher filter at least once a month to prevent clogs and foul odors.

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