Why Does The Inside Of My Dishwasher Stink

In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, the dishwasher has become an indispensable appliance in most households. It saves time, water, and effort, ensuring that our dishes are clean and ready for use. However, there’s one issue that can leave us wrinkling our noses in disgust – a foul odor emanating from inside the dishwasher. In this article, we will delve into the reasons behind this unpleasant phenomenon and explore effective ways to banish that stench for good.

Understanding the Problem

Neglected Maintenance

One of the primary reasons why your dishwasher might stink is neglecting its maintenance. Over time, food particles, grease, and soap scum can accumulate, creating a breeding ground for odor-causing bacteria.

Residue Buildup

Residue buildup, particularly on the dishwasher’s interior surfaces and filter, can contribute to a lingering odor. These residues can trap food particles and lead to bacterial growth.

Clogged Drainage System

A clogged drainage system can prevent wastewater from being efficiently expelled. Stagnant water in the dishwasher can produce a foul smell as it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria.

Water Quality

The quality of the water you use in your dishwasher can also impact its odor. Hard water, which is rich in minerals, can leave deposits on the interior surfaces, leading to unpleasant smells.

Solutions to Eliminate Odor

Regular Cleaning

To combat the stench, it’s essential to clean your dishwasher regularly. Remove the filter, scrub the interior, and pay attention to nooks and crannies where debris might accumulate.

Vinegar Wash

A vinegar wash can help dissolve mineral deposits and eliminate odors. Place a cup of vinegar in a dishwasher-safe container on the top rack and run a hot cycle without detergent.

Baking Soda Boost

Baking soda is a natural deodorizer. Sprinkle it on the dishwasher’s floor and run a short cycle to neutralize odors.

Check the Drainage

Inspect the drainage system for clogs. Remove any debris or buildup that might be obstructing the flow of water.

Use High-Quality Detergent

Invest in a high-quality dishwasher detergent that not only cleans your dishes but also helps prevent odor buildup.

Prevention is Key

Scrape Dishes Before Loading

Prevent food particles from entering the dishwasher by scraping dishes clean before loading them.

Rinse Aid

Use a rinse aid to improve the dishwasher’s performance and reduce the likelihood of residue buildup.

Leave the Door Ajar

After a cycle, leave the dishwasher door slightly ajar to allow air circulation, preventing moisture buildup and odors.


A stinky dishwasher can be a frustrating problem, but with the right care and maintenance, you can banish those odors for good. By following the tips and solutions outlined in this article, you can enjoy a fresh-smelling dishwasher and clean dishes every time.


1. Can I use lemon juice instead of vinegar for cleaning my dishwasher?

Lemon juice can be used as a substitute for vinegar. It has natural cleaning properties and leaves a pleasant citrus scent.

2. 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.

3. Will using a dishwasher cleaner tablet help with odor?

Yes, dishwasher cleaner tablets can effectively remove residue and odors. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best results.

4. What causes a musty smell in my dishwasher?

A musty smell can be caused by trapped moisture and residue buildup. Proper cleaning and ventilation can help eliminate this odor.

5. Is it safe to use bleach to clean my dishwasher?

It’s not recommended to use bleach in your dishwasher, as it can damage the rubber components. Stick to vinegar or baking soda for a safer clean.