Why Does My Dishwasher Smell So Bad?

Updated March 18th, 2020

Given that your dishwasher is cleaning food and liquids constantly off your crockery and cutlery, it will retain some of that food in the nooks and crannies. While dishwashers are built to expel the food that remains, some do get caught and as it is with food over time, it will start to rot and smell.

Besides the odd odor you will see that your drinking glasses, especially, will be dull and have a white film. There are a number of ways to ensure you are not assaulted by that ‘fishy’ odor:

Clean your Dishwasher

slide_334830_3377592_freeStrange as it may seem and sits up there with ‘clean your washing machine’, but your dishwasher works hard and needs a once-over every so often.

Ways to do this is to run the dishwasher without any dishes inside, with your washing tablet or detergent.   An extra must is to buy granulated salt and dump a load into the filter area of your dishwasher.

This clean wash will allow the water to run through without any further clogging from fresh food particles. You may want to run this process twice over and we suggest you do this every month.

Filter Fetish

remove-filterFilters in any manner are a pain. They are there to filter out rubbish but often times they get blocked up and clearly don’t do their job.

So it’s best to remove the filter every other week, give it a good scrub and replace. Just be sure to check your manual to ensure you are removing and replacing the filter correctly.

Some dishwashers may need a brand new filter replacement, normally after 2 years or so, so again check your manual and be sure to do this before it becomes an issue. Another place to check for blockages is the outlet pipe. If you feel comfortable, remove the piping and run water through it. This will invariably filter out any food or blockages.

Rinse Rinse Rinse

rinse-dishesWhile it seems like a silly task, you need to rinse most of the food off your dishes before placing them inside the dishwasher.

Run the hot water tap and give those sticky, saucy plates a good rinse. It’s a pain but it will save your dishwasher and dishes in the long run.

Salty Suspect

saltThe salt levels in your dishwasher are as important as well they are in your own body. Some dishwashers require granulated salt to be poured into a certain area every other month. Others take from the salt in your tablets or detergent. But most times its not enough, so as above consider a clean salt wash through without dishes.

Rubber Run

The rubber that runs along the door and seals the dishwasher is a good place to run a clean, damp cloth over. Just to ensure the dishwasher is pristine clean before you wash your dishes.

Vinegar and Baking Soda


Always put these on your shopping list! These little gems can be used most everywhere in everyday life. For this purpose mix up a little of both and place into your detergent or tablet holder, then run the dishwasher.

Do this after a proper clean though and it will help to eliminate any lingering funny odors. ‘Why does my dishwasher smell’ will become a question of the past if you stick to these tips. Here’s to clean and shiny dishes … and dishwashers!

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