Why Does My Dishwasher Stink?

Why Does My Dishwasher Stink? 

Your dishwasher should bring cleanliness and lemon-y freshness to your kitchen, right? So what’s to blame when it’s actually making the whole room feel rotten?

Here are three common culprits behind stinky dishwashers – and what you can do to get your unit back on track:

1.) Clogged or Gunky Screen

This screen at the bottom of your dishwasher, generally made of plastic or metallic mesh, helps prevent utensils and other small objects from falling into your drain. Over time, these screens get gummed up with gunk, liquids, and food debris, which can lead to a deeply rotten odor (along with some ugly views).

To clean your screen, remove it from your dishwasher and wipe it down by hand, then replace it and run your dishwasher once, without loading it up with dishes. Be sure to take care of this screen regularly – it’s an easy fix if you catch it early, but the stench can be bad if left untreated.

2.) Mold or Mildew

Your dishwasher is hot, your dishwasher is dark, your dishwasher is wet, and your dishwasher is crawling with bacteria left over from your dried-on sauces and food residues. In short, your dishwasher is the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew, which can produce a musty, unpleasant odor.

Fortunately, one of the most common household cleaners is also an effective fighter against mold: vinegar! After emptying your dishwasher, put a cup of white vinegar on the top rack of the dishwasher, and pour another cup on the floor. As you run the dishwasher for a full cleaning cycle, this vinegar will help blast away at the growth. Once this cycle is done, sprinkle some baking soda over the bottom of the dishwasher, and then run it for another cycle.

3.) Drain Hose May be Blocked or Out of Alignment

If it’s not something growing or accumulating inside your dishwasher, your drain line could be to blame! 

First and foremost, check your drain hose for any blockages or obstructions, particularly if there is a lot of water leftover in your unit at the end of a cycle. To troubleshoot, gently pull your dishwasher away from the wall (if possible). See if your hose is bent or restricted, and gently feel if there is a noticeable obstruction within the pipe itself.

Even if your drain hose isn’t obstructed, it may still be the source of your stink. While you’re inspecting the back of your dishwasher, make sure that the drain hose is installed correctly; dirty sink water could easily be pushing up into your dishwasher if the drain hose isn’t looped and run properly. It’s also not unheard of for a drain trap to be installed incorrectly; it it’s hooked, for instance, to the sewage line in your dishwasher, there is nothing preventing sewer gases from creeping up into your unit.

Ready to tackle that troublesome dishwasher? Looking for help with any other plumbing system or appliance in your home? Whatever your needs, J. Blanton Plumbing is here to help! Drop us a line, day or night, with any questions or concerns.