A dishwasher that smells like eggs is often caused by a build-up of food particles, as most people are unaware that their dishwasher needs a regular clean. Another common cause is that wastewater from the dishwasher is not draining correctly because of an issue with the drain hose or air gap. Fortunately, these issues are usually easy to fix. This guide will explain how to fix the problem, from the easiest to the more challenging solutions.
1. Wipe the Door Gasket
The door gasket is the black, rubber seal around your dishwasher door. The purpose of the gasket is to prevent water from leaking out during a cycle. Over time, food particles can build up on the door gasket, which can cause a foul odor to come from the dishwasher. Wiping down the gasket with detergent and warm water may solve the issue.
2. Use an Odor Neutralizer
Dishwashers themselves benefit from a wash sometimes, especially as food particles build up over time. Several low-cost solutions can be used to clean out the dishwasher.
One method is to pour one cup of white vinegar into a bowl and place it in the dishwasher. Then, run a deep cleaning cycle. Note that the dishwasher drains before a cycle starts. Therefore, pouring an odor neutralizer directly into the dishwasher will likely have little effect.
Another solution is to spread one cup of baking soda over the bottom of the dishwasher and leave it overnight. If you then run a cycle in the morning (with the dishwasher empty), it should clear away the odor. There are also specific dishwasher cleaning products available to remove odors like rotten eggs.
Lastly, pouring one cup of bleach into a bowl, placing it into the dishwasher, and then running a long cycle should also remove the odor, but only do this if the interior of the dishwasher does not contain stainless steel. As bleach is a powerful cleaning product, it should be used as a last resort to avoid damaging the dishwasher. Bleach is also poisonous, so you need to make sure it gets thoroughly flushed out of the dishwasher after using it.
3. Clean the Drain Filter
Food particles that build up in the dishwasher filter are often the cause of a smelly dishwasher. On most models, the filter is located at the bottom of the dishwasher, under the lower spray arm. You will likely need to remove the bottom dishwasher rack and silverware basket to access the filter. The filter can be cleaned with warm soapy water and a sponge. A damaged filter should be replaced to avoid damage to the dishwasher pump and motor seals. While cleaning the filter, make sure the bottom of the dishwasher is clean of food particles that may be causing the odor issue.
4. Check and Clean the Garbage Disposal
If you have a garbage disposal, dishwashers will usually pump wastewater through a hose into the garbage disposal. If the dishwasher is smelly, cleaning out the garbage disposal and hose may solve the issue. When you remove the hose that connects the dishwasher to the disposal, you should be able to notice that the smell is coming from the garbage disposal. Give the garbage disposal hose a clean with a bottle brush and a cloth; then pour some white vinegar through the hose to finish the job. Some lemons can also be cut up and run through the garbage disposal to clean it out.
5. Check the Air Gap or Drain Hose
Dishwashers require an air gap or a drain hose with a high loop. These features are responsible for making sure the discharged wastewater does not return to the dishwasher. The air gap is typically a fitting mounted to the sink. The air gap works by allowing fresh air into the hose, which eliminates the suction force drawing wastewater back into the dishwasher. The high loop method works by looping the drain hose up so that it is secured just under the sink before it drops to the sink drain pipe above the P-trap.
If either of these functions are failing to prevent wastewater from going back into the dishwasher, it could be causing the dishwasher to smell. The air gap can be cleaned of debris by unscrewing the head. If you do not have an air gap, check the drain hose to make sure it is looped correctly.
Tips to Keep Your Dishwasher Clean
Dishwasher manufacturers recommend cleaning your dishwasher once a month. You can do this by applying either the white vinegar or baking soda solution mentioned above. Cleaning the filter regularly and removing any food particles from the bottom of the dishwasher will also prevent your dishwasher from developing unpleasant odors.
Here are some more tips to keep your dishwasher clean:
- Give the spray arms a regular clean with a sponge and warm, soapy water. This should stop any build-up of grease, grime, or food debris from occurring. Avoid using a toothpick to clean the small holes on the spray arms, as they can break and cause damage to the dishwasher.
- Do not pre-wash or over-rinse dishes before putting them into the dishwasher, as dishwasher detergents need some grease and food residue to work effectively.
- Make sure that you do not over-stack your dishwasher, so that the dishwasher detergent and water can properly wash each dish.
- Always make sure that you scrape off large particles of food from your dirty dishes before loading them into the dishwasher. This will ensure that you reduce the risk of any food particles causing a blockage, and your dishwasher will perform better too.