There's something about a musty smell coming from your dishwasher that makes putting your clean dishes away feel wrong. Even if the cycle is complete and your dishwashing detergent leaves your dishware sparkly, radiant and smelling fresh, a foul-smelling interior makes the whole process of cleaning seem counterproductive. Choose from any of the following remedies to eliminate unwanted odors emanating from your dishwasher.
The door gasket is the black rubber tubing that lines the opening of the dishwasher. The gasket has a magnetic strip on the inside to help it cling to the dishwasher door frame and prevent water from leaking out during cycles. Sometimes, food particles that get washed off dishes during the cleaning cycle get stuck on the sides of the gasket, so the gasket may need to be wiped down every now and then with a damp cloth or paper towel.
Over time, food particles can build up in the filter and begin rotting, which is usually the number one cause of dishwasher odor. Remove the bottom rack of your dishwasher to access the drain filter. Wipe the drain filter clean with warm, soapy water and a sponge. If you clean the filter at least once a month, it's usually enough to keep the filter smelling fresh and working properly.
Garbage disposals are connected to the same central hose as your dishwasher. Using your garbage disposal regularly can cause debris from the garbage disposal to flow back up the dishwasher drain hose. If the garbage disposal is the cause of your smelly dishwasher, you'll be able to tell right away when you disconnect the hose from the disposal. Temporarily remove the hose and clean it out using a stiff wire and a thin, damp cloth. Garbage disposals can get fairly messy, so you may have to use multiple cloths to clean out the hose.
Both vinegar and baking soda are great odor neutralizers, so deciding which to use to deodorize your dishwasher comes down to personal preference. Fill a small cup with either vinegar or baking soda and place it on the top rack of your dishwasher. Then run a normal cleaning cycle without any dishes. You can also fill a cup with lemon peels and run the dishwasher the same way, which will leave the interior smelling equally fresh. Lemon peels can fall under the bottom rack though, so be sure to check the filter when the cycle is complete.