Dishwasher Smell


Our dishwasher always keeps water in it and when it is done running it smells. Its connected to the garbage disposal. So it seems when I drain the garbage disposal it fills the dishwasher up with smelly water and when I run the dishwasher and it goes to drain it fills the garbage disposal with water. Any advice?




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By Maureen 1 18 08/04/2005

I used to have the same problem and I think it's from not running the disposer enough. I started running the disposer every time I have the water on, even if I run the disposer for a few seconds each time, it seems to help. I think if there is the slightest amount of 'stuff' in your drain the water will back up into the dishwasher. Now that I run the disposer more often I have no water in my dishwasher!

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By SNIGDIBBLY (Guest Post) 08/05/2005


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By Gina (Guest Post) 08/05/2005

I had that happen to me too. You have to open up the dishwasher remove the bottom shelf and get a screwdriver (a rechargable one if you can so you have the power because the screws are really tight) and remove the tube that has the paddle on it. You will find all kind of food stuck in there. It needs to be cleaned often. I had to pay a serviceman to do this for me!

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By guest 5-D's (Guest Post) 09/15/2005

I am the wife of a plumber, and yet still had the same problem as you. Put two packets of lemonade kool-aid (generic works too) in the soap dispenser of the dishwasher, while empty, and put it on the longest setting (this will clean the rust out as well). For the garbage disposal, put ice chips and two tablespoons of baking soda in it and turn it on for about 30 seconds to a minute. It took care of the smell in my dishwasher with one use. I do this about every 4-6 weeks, and have yet to have had a problem again.

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By Guy Paquette (Guest Post) 09/27/2006

The cause of having bad smell in your dishwasher is probably because the drain hose of your dishwasher runs lower than your garbage disposer opening. The drain hose must at one point always be attached or run as high or near the top of your counter. This wil prevent the water in your garbage disposer from running down into your dishwater drain hose and create bad odor.

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By Janice (Guest Post) 05/01/2007

An Ocello plastic pad fell on the heating coil at the end of the cycle while I was doing yard work. I came back into the house and thought it was on fire. The synthetic smell was horrible. I am trying to get the ash smell out of the dishwasher but have had no luck with vinegar. I am going to try powdered bleach and then an empty run with Tang. I will keep you posted.

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By Kate (Guest Post) 02/21/2008

I have a similar problem, but my problem is that the rotten egg smell is in the pipes when I run the dishwasher. We smell it in the hallway - a good ways away from the kitchen, but always in the same place. I haven't noticed it when other water sources run, but the tubs and showers are all further back in the house than where this smell is coming from. I read where one person said if it only happens when hot water is running, it's likely the hot water heater, but I have a brand new hot water heater, and this smell was around long before I got it, and the heater is nowhere near the smell. Is there something I can put down the drain that will clear something thar far down the pipe? Thanks! <><

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By finchfield64 (Guest Post) 04/22/2008

we've tried different detergents, bought NEW dishes, bought NEW dishwasher, and still, after a few months with new dishes the 'fish' smell is coming back...not all the time, just on occasion. the plates retain the smell while sitting in the cupboard. when you drink from the glasses, you inhale the 'fish smell'. we have Culligan water softener, there's no smell from washing machine or shower, etc. what !?!? is the solution? Please !

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By Jamie (Guest Post) 08/30/2008

I agree with the drain pipe problem we just went through this ourselves and had to replace our drain and vent pipes. It is not as expensive as it sounded, but not cheap. We spent under 600. Our vent pipe was improperly placed and completely clogged. The smell was so bad I moved out of my moms, while i was being fixed.

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By carolini (Guest Post) 11/28/2008

Ours had a terrible smell that kept getting worse over a few months. I did ice, bleach, Tang, lemons--everything. Finally called repairman who took it apart and showed me all this gross bacteria that had built up inside because of the problem Guy Paquette describes--drain hose improperly hooked up, garbage disposal drained into it. Once bacteria set in it literally "mushroomed" and the guts were covered with a sort of fungus. I can't believe we weren't all sick! Had to replace dishwasher and drain hose. Check that hose!

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By Irene (Guest Post) 12/31/2008

Ours also had a bad smell and is connected to the garbage disposal. I now restart my washer after it has finished its cycle and let the water drain. I am amazed how much water is left in it. No more smell so it has to be the standing water which caused the smell and not the garbage disposal.

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By corrine kort 1 06/28/2010

Our brand new stainless interior dishwasher smells so bad I don't want to use it! Dishes and glasses smell bad too, like a swamp in there, any new answers?

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By jmss 1 12/23/2010

I also had this problem with our dishwasher. Smelt like swamp water and wet dog. It would only happen sometimes and on some plates and glasses. We bot new dishes as someone said it might be the cracking glaze on our plates. Smell was still there sometimes. Was about to buy a new dishwasher but remembered reading somewhere on the internet not to put dishes that had egg on them in the dishwasher. I thought that was pretty silly but before buying a new dishwasher thought it was worth a try. We stopped putting our egg dishes in and voila that smell stopped. Ok we eat eggs everyday for breakfast so the hand washing was getting too much. We found a place that sells farm fresh eggs and started using them. We put our dishes back in the dishwasher. We have not had that smell since.

I am posting this as it made me crazy trying to figure this out. I was rinsing the dishwasher with vinegar or bleach which would get rid of the smell for a while but it always came back. It has been 3 months since we switched to the farm fresh eggs and have not smelt wet dog or swamp water on our dishes. Try it even tho it sounds silly. Good Luck.

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By wbattle 1 06/29/2013

I agree with the eggs that cause the weird smell from your dishwasher. I wash the eggs off the dishes and haven't had the smell since. I think water stays in the dishwasher after the 'wash' cycle and then when you 'rinse' you get that weird smell. I was getting that smell on my counter tops but then I remembered that I was wiping the countertops with the water that 'the egg covered dishes were sitting in'. I ope this helps!

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By Michelle McCallister 1 02/05/2014

I've had great luck with a product called Freshana.

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Here are questions related to Dishwasher Smell.

Question: Cleaning a Smelly Dishwasher

When I open my dishwasher there is always a foul smell. I checked it and there are no food particles. What do I do to solve this problem? My dishwasher is two years old.

By Lina

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Most Recent Answer

By Louise B. 6 2,521 09/29/2011

Before you start taking it apart, run a cycle with bleach in it. I would use about a cup of bleach. You could also try a cycle of either vinegar (again, about a cup), or baking soda (about a cup) but not at the same time or together. If that sort of cleaning doesn't take the smell away, then you might try the commercial cleaner or start doing the major investigations such as Poor but Proud has suggested.

I also wonder if you are running the drying cycle? If you are not, and then not opening the dishwasher to make sure everything is dry as a bone, that may account for the musty smell.

You should also check again in the bottom of the dishwasher and in the door for any "traps" or filters that might have debris collected.

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