About 80 million households possess a dishwasher. Dishwashers are, without a doubt, one of the essential kitchen tools in our modern kitchens. These incredible appliances help do the dishes and save us a considerable amount of time and energy.

Big electricity dishwashers use less water than handwashing, making them a greener choice.

However, like any other kitchen appliance, they can get messy if proper maintenance is not conducted. 

As a result, they develop odors akin to rotten eggs that are generally caused by the build-up of trapped grease and food particles. The best way to ensure that your dishwasher does not become a breeding ground for bacteria is to clean it regularly.

We have prepared a detailed insight into some of the best ways to clean your dishwashers and several tips to conduct regular maintenance.

But first!

Why Does My Dishwasher Smell Like Rotten Eggs?

Well, as mentioned earlier, dishwasher odors are caused by a build-up of trapped food particles. When allowed to stick on the spray arm, filters, or the drain hose, they begin to let off a rotten egg odor that can be easily transferred onto your dishes. 

Among some of the leading causes of rotten eggs odor in your dishwasher include dirty or kinked dishwasher hose, dirty dishwasher gasket, backed up garbage disposal, dirty filter, or a dead pest (on rare occasions). 

How Do I Clean My Dishwasher?

Here are a couple of steps you can follow to help get rid of the stinky dishwasher smell. 

Step 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. Technically, the majority of dishwasher cleaners are citrus-based, which significantly contributes to breaking up grease.

Step 2: 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.

Step 3: Check the Hose

A dirty or kinked-up hose is yet another reason why your dishwasher smells like rotten eggs. The drain hose connected to the sump pumps helps remove dirty water after a full wash cycle. It drains the dirty water into the garbage disposal.

Food particles can get trapped if the drain hose is blocked up or kinked. If this is the case, disconnect the dishwasher and clean the hose separately with a cleaning solution and warm water.

Step 4: 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 or Google the product online.

Solution

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. Besides, it is advisable to clean your filter twice a month to ensure it works in its top-notch condition. 

Clean filter inside dishwasher
Did you know that there is a filter in the dishwasher that needs to be routinely cleaned? There are still bits of food and greasy residue that has to be flushed away from the surface of the dishes.

 Step 5: Check and Clean the Garbage Disposal

After the dishwasher has cleaned the dishes, the wastewater is taken down to the garbage disposal through a hose. After cleaning the hose connected to the waste disposal, pour in some white vinegar or lemon water through the disposal hose.

Clean it with a clean cloth and bottle brush. Let the vinegar run to the garbage disposal. Ensure you repeat the process twice a month for better results.

Solution

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

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

Step 6: Check and Clean the Gasket

Dishwasher gasket or seal is yet another reason why your unit smells of rotten eggs. Food build-up can occur after prolonged use of the dishwasher.

Solution

Cleaning the gasket is relatively easy. Disconnect the gasket and wipe it down with a clean, dry 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.

You will also want to clean the surrounding areas where the gasket touches the dishwasher for optimum results. 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.

Step 7: 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.

Step 8: 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 stainless steel. 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.

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:

  • Avoid over-rinsing the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. The majority of dishwasher detergents require food residue or grease to work effectively.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Avoid over-staking your dishwasher. It will help the unit to apply detergent and wash the dishes one at a time.
  • Always check to ensure that your dishwasher’s thermostat is working in its top-notch condition. It will help you find out when the water is hot enough to melt any grease.
  • Always use a high-temp wash when washing greasy or oily dishes.
  • Always clean the filters, spray arm, and drain hole regularly. 
  • 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.

Call Service If You Cannot Get Rid of the Smell

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. 

Final Thoughts: Will Cleaning the Dishwasher Help Remove the Rotten Egg Smell?

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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