How To Get Rid Of Lingering Smells In Your Dishwasher

Your dishwasher is supposed to leave your dishes sparkling clean and smelling fresh. But sometimes, that’s not what happens. Instead, you may notice a lingering smell coming from your dishwasher that seems impossible to get rid of.

Don’t worry – you’re not alone! Many people struggle with this issue, but luckily there are some simple steps you can take to eliminate the odor and keep it from coming back.

First, it’s important to understand what causes these smells in the first place. Often, they stem from food particles or other debris that gets stuck in hard-to-reach areas of the dishwasher over time. This buildup can create a breeding ground for bacteria and mold, which leads to unpleasant odors.

In this article, we’ll walk you through how to identify the cause of the smell, clean your dishwasher interior thoroughly, run a cleaning cycle for deeper cleaning, maintain your dishwasher regularly to prevent future smells and keep it working efficiently for years to come.

Key Takeaways

  • Thoroughly inspect all areas of the dishwasher to identify the source of odor.
  • Clean the dishwasher interior regularly and use baking soda, vinegar, or commercial dishwasher cleaner for tough stains or buildup.
  • Regularly cleaning the filter, scraping off food debris, and using a rinse aid can help prevent lingering odors.
  • Preventive measures such as scraping and rinsing dishes before loading them, using the right amount of detergent, and running hot water before starting the cycle can also help prevent lingering smells.

Identify the Cause of the Smell

To get rid of those pesky dishwasher smells, you gotta first identify the cause of the stench. Identifying the source of the odor can help troubleshoot other potential problems with your dishwasher.

Sometimes, leftover food particles or grease buildup can be causing the smell. In other cases, a clogged drain or filter may be to blame.

It’s important to thoroughly inspect all areas of your dishwasher to determine what might be causing the unpleasant odor. Once you’ve identified and addressed any underlying issues, it’s time to move on to cleaning the interior of your dishwasher.

Clean the Dishwasher Interior

After running a cycle with vinegar, it’s time to clean the interior of the dishwasher.

Start by wiping down all surfaces, including the walls and door, with a damp cloth to remove any leftover debris or grime. Pay special attention to corners and crevices where food particles may have accumulated.

For tough stains or buildup, use a mixture of baking soda and water to scrub away residue.

To prevent future odors from forming, consider placing a small bowl filled with white vinegar on the top rack during each wash cycle.

These cleaning tips will help eliminate lingering smells from your dishwasher without relying on harsh chemicals or artificial fragrances.

As you move onto the next step of running a cleaning cycle, keep in mind that regular maintenance is key to keeping your dishwasher smelling fresh and functioning properly.

Run a Cleaning Cycle

To thoroughly clean a dishwasher and eliminate any lingering smells, there are several methods that can be used. One option is to use a commercial dishwasher cleaner, which is specifically designed to remove buildup and odors.

Another approach is to run the dishwasher with vinegar, which effectively cuts through grease and grime while also neutralizing any unpleasant scents.

Additionally, using baking soda and citric acid can help break down stubborn stains and leave the interior of the dishwasher looking and smelling fresh.

Use a Commercial Dishwasher Cleaner

You can easily eliminate stubborn odors in your dishwasher by using a commercial dishwasher cleaner. It acts like a breath mint for your machine. While DIY cleaners may be cost-effective and environmentally-friendly, they may not be as effective in eliminating tough smells.

Commercial cleaners are specifically designed to tackle odor-causing bacteria and food residue that can build up over time. Simply follow the instructions on the package for best results. Once you’ve used a commercial cleaner, it’s recommended to run the dishwasher with vinegar to help remove any remaining buildup and ensure your dishes come out smelling fresh every time.

Run the Dishwasher with Vinegar

Using vinegar in your dishwasher can help to refresh and revitalize its interior, providing a deep clean that eliminates bacteria and buildup. Here are some benefits of using vinegar in cleaning your dishwasher:

1) Vinegar is a natural disinfectant that kills germs and removes odors.

2) It’s an affordable alternative to commercial cleaners, saving you money in the long run.

3) Vinegar is eco-friendly, as it doesn’t contain harsh chemicals that harm the environment.

4) It’s easy to use – simply pour one cup of white vinegar into the bottom of an empty dishwasher and run a cycle on hot.

If you don’t have vinegar on hand, there are alternatives such as baking soda or citric acid which also work well for removing smells from your dishwasher.

After completing this step, move onto the subsequent section about using baking soda and citric acid for further tips on refreshing your appliance.

Use Baking Soda and Citric Acid

After running the dishwasher with vinegar, there are still some lingering odors that may not be completely eliminated. If this is the case, using baking soda and citric acid can help to get rid of those stubborn smells.

Baking soda has long been used as a natural deodorizer, but it isn’t the only option available. Citric acid is also highly effective at removing unwanted smells from dishwashers. It works by breaking down any remaining residue or buildup that could be causing the odor.

By combining these two powerful ingredients, you can ensure that your dishwasher stays fresh and clean smelling for longer periods of time. To continue maintaining your dishwasher’s cleanliness, there are other steps you can take regularly to keep it in top condition.

Maintain the Dishwasher Regularly

Maintaining a dishwasher regularly is key to ensuring its longevity and proper functioning. To do this, there are three key points to keep in mind:

  • Scrape and rinse dishes before loading them
  • Use the right amount of detergent
  • Run hot water before starting the cycle

By following these simple steps, you can avoid clogs, buildup, and other issues that may arise from improper usage or neglect.

Scrape and Rinse Dishes Before Loading

Hey, buddy, let’s be real here. You can’t just toss your dirty dishes into the dishwasher and expect it to magically erase all the grime and gunk. Give that dishwasher a break and scrape off those food scraps and rinse those plates before loading them up.

Here are three scraping techniques to keep in mind:
1) Use a rubber scraper to remove any large pieces of food from plates, pots, and pans;
2) Soak dishes with tough-to-remove residue in hot water for a few minutes before scraping;
3) Avoid using steel wool or abrasive sponges to avoid damaging the dishwasher’s interior components.

Pre-washing is important because leftover bits of food can cause odors to linger in your dishwasher even after washing cycles. By removing excess debris beforehand, you’re also helping prevent clogs and build-up in the machine’s filter system.

When done properly, pre-washing will save you time (and detergent!) by reducing the number of wash cycles needed to get dishes clean. Speaking of detergent…

Use the Right Amount of Detergent

To ensure sparkling clean dishes, it’s important to measure the right amount of detergent for your dishwasher and avoid overloading the dispenser.

Common mistakes in detergent usage include using too much or too little and not using a high-quality detergent. Using too much detergent can lead to excess suds that can cause lingering odors in your dishwasher. Meanwhile, using too little can result in dirty dishes that require rewashing.

Additionally, using a low-quality or expired detergent can also contribute to unpleasant smells in your dishwasher. By measuring the correct amount of detergent and choosing a high-quality option, you can help eliminate unwanted odors from your machine.

To further improve cleaning performance and reduce lingering smells, it’s recommended to run hot water before starting the cycle.

Run Hot Water Before Starting the Cycle

Surprisingly enough, starting your dishwasher cycle with hot water can actually make a big difference in how clean your dishes come out. Not only does it help to remove food particles and stains more effectively, but it can also eliminate any lingering odors that may be present in your dishwasher. The benefits of using hot water in your dishwasher are clear, but it’s important to note that the temperature of your water heater should be properly adjusted for optimal performance. A simple adjustment to your water heater can ensure that the hot water entering your dishwasher is at the correct temperature, which will not only improve cleaning results but also prevent future smells from developing. By taking these steps, you can keep your dishwasher smelling fresh and clean for years to come.

Prevent Future Smells

One way you can avoid future smells in your dishwasher is by regularly cleaning the filter. Preventive measures such as scraping off food debris before loading dishes and using a rinse aid can also help prevent lingering odors.

Another home remedy to try is running a cycle with white vinegar or baking soda, which can help neutralize any remaining odors. By incorporating these simple steps into your regular dishwasher maintenance routine, you can eliminate lingering smells and ensure that your dishes come out fresh and clean every time.


In conclusion, it can be frustrating to open up your dishwasher and be hit with an unpleasant odor. The good news is that there are several easy steps you can take to get rid of lingering smells in your dishwasher.

Identifying the cause of the smell is key, as it’ll help you target the problem more effectively. From there, cleaning the interior and running a cleaning cycle can help eliminate any built-up grime or bacteria. It’s important to maintain your dishwasher regularly by wiping down seals and filters and using a rinse aid.

By following these simple steps, you can prevent future smells from occurring and keep your dishwasher smelling fresh and clean. Trust us, once you’ve successfully banished those odors for good, the feeling of relief will be akin to a weight being lifted off your shoulders – or maybe even like winning the lottery!

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