Healthy Living 6 min read

5 steps to get rid of dishwasher smells bad in 2022

1. Why does my dishwasher smell? It’s troubling when you open your dishwasher after a cleaning cycle and a foul odor emerges. How is that even possible? Below, you’ll find 5 main reasons for the question why your dishwasher smells bad. 1. A clogged food trap A common cause for a bad-smelling dishwasher is the […]

Jimmy Ho
Published 27 Sep 2022
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1. Why does my dishwasher smell?

It’s troubling when you open your dishwasher after a cleaning cycle and a foul odor emerges. How is that even possible?

Below, you’ll find 5 main reasons for the question why your dishwasher smells bad.

1. A clogged food trap

A common cause for a bad-smelling dishwasher is the presence of old, rotting food somewhere inside the unit.

A clogged food is one of the reason
A clogged food is one of the reason

2. A damaged drain hose

A drain hose works by emptying the dirty water and any small food particles into the disposal unit under your sink. If something is wrong with the drain hose, it could be the reason why your dishwasher has a bad smell. 

3. You’re not running it enough

Even if you rinse your dishes before putting them in your dishwasher, tiny food particles can remain.

Bacteria can form and grow on dishes, feeding on the leftover food particles. When the bacteria breaks down during a cleaning cycle, they could produce the unpleasant odor you’re smelling in your dishwasher. 

4. A poorly placed drain hose

Even if your drain hose is not kinked or otherwise obstructed with food waste, it could still be the reason why your dishwasher smells bad. 

If your drain hose drops from the back of your unit and runs along the floor before moving upward towards the sink, gravity could be working against you. 

The way you place your drain house is vital
The way you place your drain house

5. It’s your disposal 

And finally, the reason why the dishwasher smells bad may not even have to do with your dishwasher at all. 

The drain hose connects with your unit to the garbage disposal in your sink. If your disposal has food stuck inside of it, the clogged food may be preventing your dishwasher from emptying properly.

2. How to deodorize a dishwasher?

Instead of running to the store to buy expensive commercial deodorizers full of chemicals, you can naturally deodorize your dishwasher with inexpensive distilled white vinegar. And your dishwasher will smell like a rose with our easy to follow guide.  


Let’s remove all dishes and utensils, then you can use a damp microfiber cloth to clear out any debris on the floor and sides of the dishwasher’s interior. Maybe you also want to remove the bottom of rack for easier access


You should fill a glass cup or bowl with about one cup of distilled white vinegar, then place it snugly on the top rack of your dishwasher between the prongs which is used to separate glasses. 

The fact that vinegar is a perfect agent for dishwasher smelling bad since it will cut grease, clear away old detergent build-up, and neutralize food odors. 

You can run the dishwasher through a single cycle on the hottest setting possible. Then, once the cycle is complete, you may leave the door open for about an hour to let the dishwasher air out completely.

TIPS: If you don’t have any distilled white vinegar, you can use apple cider vinegar, bottled or strained fresh lemon juice, or citric acid powder to clean the interior of the dishwasher. If you use citric acid powder, remember to sprinkle one-fourth cup of the powder in the bottom of the dishwasher before running a wash cycle. 

Vinegar is a hack
Vinegar is a hack


This is one of the important steps to keep your dishwasher smell good. Despites its indisputable cleaning properties, not everyone is crazy about white vinegar’s scent. 

If you’d like to mask it with something more pleasant, add a few drops of an essential oil to the vinegar. Try lavender, orange, lemon, or peppermint oils, you will be surprised by the way they create a crisp and welcoming aroma in your kitchen. 

Moreover, the non-toxic essential oils have antibacterial properties to boot.


To avoid a whiff of a smelly dishwasher in the future, you should repeat the vinegar cleanse once every few months, or whenever it’s needed. By this way, you will always breathe easy in your kitchen, no matter how often you run the dishwasher. 


And whatever you do, don’t try to use bleach inside your dishwasher, no matter how bad it smells! Bleach is highly corrosive and will erode your precious appliance’s stainless steel.

3. How to avoid a smelly dishwasher

Once your dishwasher is fresh and clean, keep it that way with these useful tips to create a healthy dishwasher habits for yourself in the future:

– Be sure to scrape and rinse dishes carefully before loading them into the dishwasher.

– Try to avoid running other hot water appliances while using your dishwasher, so that its hot cycles are actually as piping hot as possible, which should kill pesky bacteria and discourage mold growth. 

– Run occasional vinegar and/or baking soda cycles to eliminate odors before they form.

– Dishwasher should be cleaned quarterly, you can add a reminder to your calendar monthly to clean the dishwasher. 

Add a reminder to clean dishwasher regularly
Add a reminder to clean dishwasher regularly

We hope that these steps are useful for you to have your dishwasher smells good. But if you have followed this recommendation and your dishwasher still smells bad. Maybe you should hire a specialist to deal with it. Sparkling and Beyond has a major experience in this messy stuff. With our best services, it’s not only your dishwasher but your house will also be cleaned thoroughly, no matter how huge your house is. But if you want to have the best result, we highly recommend you to try our deep cleaning services to have a deeper cleaning to your house and even your dishwasher.

Contact to call a professional 

If you are interested in our cleaning services, contact us directly or visit our website. We are always here to answer all your questions and it will be a pleasure if you can share more tips to keep your house clean for us. 

Count on us and you will not regret it!


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5 months ago

Your article gave me a lot of inspiration, I hope you can explain your point of view in more detail, because I have some doubts, thank you.