how to clean a smelly dishwasher

What to Do if Your Dishwasher Smells Bad

Few of us want to add another chore to our to-do list, but even fewer of us want to experience offensive dishwasher smells. Fortunately, cleaning the tub, filter, and spray arms can target odor when your dishwasher smells bad, effectively ridding it of unfortunate odors. We’ll discuss the proper cleaning techniques for each component, using basic ingredients and supplies.

Dishwasher Smells Bad? Banish Odor With These Cleaning Tips and Tricks

A good cleaning can work wonders for appliances, and a smelly dishwasher is no exception. These cleaning tips pinpoint odor at the source when your dishwasher smells bad. They’re also easy enough to become part of the regular maintenance that can prevent odor from returning.

Clean the Dishwasher Tub

Though the dishwasher tub may look clean, leftover food particles can hide under the tub gasket and in the corners, breeding smelly bacteria. So what is the best way to clean the inside of a dishwasher?  Here’s how simple household ingredients can get the job done:

  • White Vinegar: Place a small, dishwasher-safe bowl full of white vinegar on the top rack of an empty dishwasher. Run a complete wash cycle with your hottest dishwasher setting.
  • Baking Soda: When the vinegar cycle is completed, remove the bowl and pour a handful of baking soda in the base of the empty dishwasher. Run a quick wash setting with hot water.
  • Bleach (Optional): If your tub is victim to persistent mold and mildew, bleach can solve the problem. Add 1 cup bleach to the base of an empty dishwasher and run a complete wash cycle. Skip this step if the interior of your dishwasher is stainless steel, as bleach will cause staining and discoloration.

Clear Out the Dishwasher Filter

The dishwasher filter collects leftover food particles during a wash cycle, preventing them from clogging the dishwasher drain. However, if these particles accumulate in the filter, they can become a source of dishwasher odor. Here’s how to clean a dishwasher filter to remove old food and banish bad smells:

  1. Remove the dishwasher’s bottom rack.
  2. Twist the filter counterclockwise and pull upwards to remove.
  3. Wash the filter in warm soapy water, gently scrubbing away stubborn particles with a soft toothbrush. 
  4. Replace the filter, turning clockwise to lock in place.

dishwasher smells bad

Clean the Spray Arms

Cleaning the dishwasher spray arms may not only dispel odor but boost dishwasher performance by removing blockages and clogs. The holes on dishwasher spray arms can become blocked with food particles, preventing water from spraying and cleaning dishes. Mildew and detergent residue can also collect on the arms, contributing to offensive odors. These steps detail how to clean a dishwasher spray arm and unclog its holes:

  1. Remove the dishwasher’s bottom rack and detach the spray arms.
  2. Use a toothpick to remove any food particles in the spray arms’ holes.
  3. Rinse each arm under warm running water.
  4. Replace each spray arm, followed by the bottom rack.

How to Prevent Odors

These cleaning tips and tricks aren’t only helpful when your dishwasher smells bad. Knowing how to clean a smelly dishwasher can be helpful in preventing odor from returning. Here’s how to use our cleaning methods as part of regular dishwasher maintenance:

  • Keep the Filter Clean: Empty and clean the dishwasher filter on a monthly basis to prevent clogs and odor buildup.
  • Clean the Dishwasher Tub Regularly: We suggest wiping down the tub with a clean cloth after each use. Performing monthly vinegar and baking soda rinses can also help prevent odor.
  • Use the Right Detergent: Consult your owner’s manual to determine if there’s a brand of detergent that works best with your dishwasher. Use the package’s recommended amounts with the least amount of detergent possible to prevent the buildup of soap suds that breeds smelly bacteria.

Looking for the very best in dishwasher repair Minneapolis? Look no further than D&T Appliance Repair. We can help when your dishwasher smells bad or with any repair need.

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