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How to Eliminate Odor in Your Dishwasher

How to Eliminate Odor in Your Dishwasher

How to Eliminate Odor in Your Dishwasher

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. Luckily, it's not hard to clean your dishwasher. Choose from any of the following remedies to eliminate unwanted odors emanating from your dishwasher.

Wipe the door gasket

The door gasket is the black rubber seal 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 with warm water periodically.

dishwasher door gasket

dishwasher drain filter

Change the drain filter

Over time, food particles can build up in the filter and begin rotting, which is usually the number one cause of a smelly dishwasher. 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.

If the drain filter is continually clogging or smelling before that once a month cleaning, it might be time to change the part completely.


Clean out your garbage disposal

Garbage disposals are connected to the same central hose as your dishwasher. 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.

After manually cleaning the hose, you can break up any lingering food by using a mild bleach and running cold water.

You can also cut up lemons into small pieces and run them through the disposal to help neutralize and odor that seems to be hanging around.

garbage disposal

cleaning vinegar solution

Run a normal cycle with an odor neutralizer

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. This will help loosen food particles, soap scum and grease from the walls of your dishwasher. Afterwards, wipe down the interior with paper towels.

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.


Invest in New Dishwasher Technology

If you find yourself constantly having to deodorize your dishwasher, then it might be time to take a look at investing in a new unit. There are dishwashers now that feature self-cleaning filters. These used to include a noisy grinder, but most have switched to placing a fine mesh over the drain.

The water forces the food through the mesh, breaking it into tiny particles that can be washed away. This will keep food particles from clogging the drain, causing that nasty smell and won't add any extra noise to your home.

Shop all self-cleaning filter dishwashers

self-cleaning filter