Your Dishwasher Smells Like Rotten Eggs? This Might Be Why

Your Dishwasher Smells Like Eggs

Stuck trying to figure out why your dishwasher smells like eggs?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. This can happen due to old food particles decaying within the dishwasher.

Luckily, you’ve come to the right place to solve this issue.

If your dishwasher smells like eggs, please run a dishwasher cleaner. It’s also important to clean the filter, garbage disposal, and gasket. Don’t forget to clean behind and underneath the unit and use an odor-neutralizer.

Read on to get rid of the unpleasant odor!

Why trust us? This article was written in collaboration with James Blackford, our appliance repair expert. James has over 16 years of experience as an appliance technician, works as a Master Technician for SquareTrade, and runs his own appliance repair company.

How to Clean a Dishwasher That Smells Like Eggs: 7 Simple Steps

If your dishwasher smells like eggs, don’t worry. Cleaning it is very simple. You’ll just need to follow these simple steps:

#1 Run a Dishwasher Cleaner

Before you start troubleshooting your dishwasher, getting a dishwasher cleaner and running a full cycle while it is empty is recommended.

Most dishwasher cleaners are tablets that dissolve, it is recommended to use them once a month to keep the bacteria that cause odor down.

These are different from dishwasher disinfectants which are typically a whole bottle of liquid, as one treatment that sanitizes and cleans the dishwasher, but this only has to be done every 3-6 months.

If you want the easiest and most effective option, I recommend using a dishwasher disinfectant now, and then regularly using dishwasher cleaner tablets once a month.

Try leaving the door open once you’re done using or cleaning your dishwasher. This allows the moisture and steam inside to escape and avoid unpleasant odors.

#2 Clean the Filter

The filter is an essential part of a dishwasher. It is located at the bottom of the unit and helps clean the water as it leaves the dishwasher compartment to the garbage disposal.

Notably, most dishwasher models are made with small-spaced filters, which means large particles will get trapped in the filter.

What’s more, not every dishwasher has a filter. To find out if your dishwasher has a filter, check the manual. If you can’t find yours, please take a look at our detailed guide on how to find any product’s manual online.

Cleaning the filter is relatively easy. All you need to do is disconnect the filter by taking it off the bottom rack and washing it with a cleaning solution or hot soapy water.

Dishwasher filters are typically made of a sturdy metal mesh, so you can even use a wire brush to clean them. Alternatively, you can also opt for a nylon brush.

Please clean your filter twice a month to ensure it works in its top-notch condition. 

Clean filter inside dishwasher
Clean your dishwasher around once a month – ideally right after you use the dishwasher cleaning tablets.

Even if the first step fixed the rotten eggs smell, it’s worth regularly cleaning your filter. I’d recommend doing it once a month, right after you’ve run it on empty with the dishwasher cleaning tablets.

#3 Check the Electrical Connection

If the first option does not work, check the electrical connection to the dishwasher. Weak links can sometimes lead to foul odor in dishwashers. Control the junction box located beneath the dishwasher door. Unplug it and contact an electrician if the appliance has a problem.

 #4 Check and Clean the Garbage Disposal

Your dishwasher and garbage disposal are generally piped into the same system. If the issue is with the garbage disposal, odors can end up leaking into your dishwasher.

Cleaning your garbage disposal is relatively easy. All you need to do is put a stopper on the sink and fill it halfway with warm water. Then, add about ¼ cup of baking soda, 6 pounds of ice, and 1/3 cup of lemon juice to the water in the sink.

Technically, the main aim of the ice is to freeze and lift the stuck-on dirt from the blade. The baking soda and lemon water help remove grease, odor, grease, and grim from the unit. Besides, the ice also helps sharpen the blades as it is being crushed.

You can also use a garbage disposal cleaner, which is typically a tablet that contains different cleaning agents that can deodorize and remove built-up food particles and grease that accumulate over time.

Ensure you run the garbage disposal for several minutes before running the dishwasher to prevent backups into the unit.

#5 Check and Clean the Gasket

Dishwasher gaskets or seals are yet another reason why your dishwasher can smell like rotten eggs. Food build-up can occur after prolonged use of the dishwasher.

Cleaning the gasket is relatively easy. Open up the door and identify any black rubber gaskets you can see. If it’s easy to do so, disconnect these, but this isn’t necessary.

First, wipe down each gasket with a clean, dry paper towel. After doing so, make a cleaning solution with either soap and warm water or baking soda. Soak the cloth or towel in the solution and use it to clean the gasket.

Some dishwasher doors have a gasket at the very bottom. Make sure to wipe it down with a cleaning solution – use something stiff and skinny to get into there.

Please keep in mind that right where your door meets the top of your dishwasher, there’s a gap. Over time, gunk can accumulate in that space, so it’s also important to clean it regularly by running a rag down there.

Dishwasher door open showing dirty gasket that may smell
Make sure to use something stiff and skinny – like the handle of a wooden spoon – to push a cleaning cloth right into the edges of this gasket.

It might also be the best time to check for other issues, such as wear on the seal. What’s more, ensure you inspect the edges where the seal touches the unit and wipe them down.

#6 Check for Dead and Decomposing Pests

If you have conducted all the above steps and the smell of rotten eggs is still present, you might need to check behind or below the unit. There might be food particles beneath the machine, or a dead mouse stuck behind the dishwasher.

Disconnect the dishwasher and clean behind and underneath the unit. Although it is rare to find a dead pest in the dishwasher, ensure you check for any possibility.

However, ensure you disconnect the machine from the electricity before cleaning the unit and watch out not to kink the hose.

#7 Use an Odor Neutralizer 

If you don’t want to go through all the above steps, you might opt for a low-cost, less tiresome solution. One option is to pour a cup of white vinegar into the dishwasher. Run a deep clean cycle and ensure that the liquid is completely drained before starting another cleaning cycle.

Another solution would be to spread a small amount of baking soda at the bottom of the dishwasher. Leave it overnight to give it enough time to absorb the smell. It should clean away the odor when you run the dishwasher in the morning. 

Finally, you can pour a cup of bleach into the dishwasher and then run a long cycle. However, this can only be possible if the inside of the dishwasher is plastic, and not stainless steel (which bleach can degrade). You should also note that bleach is quite a powerful cleaning agent and should be your last resort.

Food scraps inside of dishwasher
You can stop bad dishwasher odors by cleaning food scraps from the tub and running a dishwasher cleaner through a cycle.

8 Quick Maintenance Tips

Apart from the above cleaning steps, there are several maintenance tips you should put into consideration to ensure that your dishwasher remains clean.

Here is an insight into some of these tips:

  1. Always make sure to leave the dishwasher door open after use. Closing the door essentially makes a bacteria paradise – a dark box with moist air. Leaving the door open as much as you can will help stop bacteria and smells building up.
  2. Avoid over-rinsing the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. The majority of dishwasher detergents require food residue or grease to work effectively.
  3. Ensure you scrape off large particles of food from the dishes before placing them in the dishwasher. It will reduce the chances of a blockage. The unit will also perform better when there is less food residue.
  4. Clean the spray arms regularly with warm water to prevent grime, grease, or food debris build-up. Also, avoid using a toothpick to unblock the spray arm. It can break and cause severe damage to your dishwasher.  It is recommended to clean your dishwasher at least once a month.
  5. Avoid over-staking your dishwasher. It will help the unit to apply detergent and wash the dishes one at a time.
  6. For greasy/oily dishes, run the kitchen faucet until it’s at its maximum hot temperature before starting the dishwasher. Then use a high-temp wash cycle.
  7. Always clean the filters, spray arm, and drain hole regularly. 
  8. Pour a cup of lemon juice into the dishwasher and run a full cycle regularly. The citric acid in the juice will help clear any odor in the dishwasher.

Still Stuck?

If you have tried all the above steps and still can’t clear the smell or find it uncomfortable to clean the hoses yourself, you might want to call a repair service. 

Typically, your safety is fundamental, and you should not conduct mechanical repairs if you are not capable or comfortable. You can either contact your dishwasher company or research the best cleaner in your area. 


When you open your dishwasher and get hit by the smell of rotten eggs, you will probably think twice about putting your dishes in there. Fortunately, there is quite a wide range of cleaning methods, as shown in this review. Ensure you consider the above cleaning steps, and there is no doubt that you will achieve exceptional results.

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Hi there! I’m Craig, and I’m the founder of Appliance Analysts. When it comes to appliances and anything electrical, I’ve always loved opening things up, figuring out how they work, and fixing them. This website is where I share free advice from myself and our experts to help our readers solve their appliance/HVAC problems and save money. Read more