Skip to Content


Dishwasher smells? Here’s what really helps

Dishwasher smells? Here’s what really helps

Dishwashers save lives. OK, we’re being dramatic, but we’re sure they’ve saved the odd relationship or two! But save some TLC for your dishwasher, too, because when a dishwasher stinks, it’s no fun for anyone. We’ve got some tips for what to do when your dishwasher smells bad, from dishwasher deodorant to classic home remedies like lemon and vinegar.

The dishwasher smells—these are the culprits

The most common cause of the dishwasher stinking is bacteria. Food residues that get stuck are to blame; especially fish, eggs and fats cause bad smells. You may have noticed that fish smells linger for an especially long time—here’s how to get rid of them in your kitchen. If you’ve pan-fried a salmon, for example, try not to just plop your utensils in the dishwasher. Scrape off what you can and then rinse the pans, bowls and plates before you stack them in the dishwasher.

If you don't turn the machine on right away, it’s a good idea to leave the door open a little. This will allow moisture to escape, making bacteria feel less at home.

In rare cases, gases rising from the drainpipe or incorrectly connected hoses can be the reason for unpleasant odors. In this case, the machine starts to smell when filling or drying—you’ll need a plumber in this case, but it is rarely the cause! 

How to get rid of smells in a dishwasher

The dishwasher smells after washing your dishes? An all-around cleaning of the appliance from the sieve to the door sealers is recommended as an effective countermeasure.

  • First, take out the sieve. You can easily scrub it with a brush and just plain water.
  • Make sure that you replace the strainer properly after cleaning, otherwise food residues can get into the pump and then get caught in the spray chamber and clog it—what a pain!
  • Wash the rubber seals on the door with water and a dash of dish detergent using a sponge.
  • Check to see if the spray arms move freely and if food debris is stuck to them. Grains of rice quickly get stuck in the openings. You can get at them with a sewing needle, for example.
  • Then run the machine in the hot, rinse cycle. 

Prevention is better than cure

No one wants a dishwasher that smells. When it comes to taking care of your household appliances, the same rule applies across the board: Regular cleaning will prevent most disasters. Of course, this also applies to your dishwasher.

  • Let the machine run empty once a month on the most intense program with a tab or cleaning powder.
  • It is better not to store unwashed dishes in there for too long, so try and run the machine frequently.
  • Clean the sieve from time to time to prevent food debris from settling there.
  • Clean the rubber seals on the door and the cutlery basket at regular intervals.
  • Several times a year, use a machine cleaner. It cleans the interior, filters, pipes and spray arms, and removes grease and limescale. Nip musty odors in the bud!

Fresh and clean in no time at all

Dishwasher smells so bad you’re thinking of moving? Then you can do something right away to get rid of the stink. Dishwasher deodorizers are suitable as an SOS solution. You can hang or place the deodorant in the dishwasher. They don’t eliminate the cause, but they immediately make your home smell good again.

We hope we helped you with these tips on how to take care of your dishwasher!