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Dishes Smell Bad After Washing Them

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Dishes can retain odors they pick up from the dishwasher. This is a page about dishes smell bad after washing them.


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June 15, 2010

After I run my dishes in the dishwasher, they have a strange odor to them. I have tried several detergents and had my water tested. I'm dumbfounded. Any ideas?

By brian from NY, NY


July 31, 20152 found this helpful
Best Answer

Look at your water. It is nothing to do with eggs, or your dishwasher, the water coming out of your taps has not been treated properly at source. Look up Hydrogen Sulphide in your water supply. Hope this helps. We have trouble here in France.

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August 31, 20150 found this helpful
Best Answer

It's not your dishwasher, water supply, dish soap, etc. When there are periods of high heat, humidity and dew point keep your windows and doors closed. The fresh (?) outside moist air is the reason.

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May 10, 2018

Why do my plates get a 'fishy' smell after being dishwashed? I tried to put white vinegar in after washing, but it was still smelly.


May 11, 20180 found this helpful
Best Answer

Run the machine with a diluted white vinegar solution then do the same for your sink (pour diluted vinegar down and run the disposal)

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July 15, 2014

I live in a townhouse and had to replace my simple dishwasher 6 years ago, and ever since then have had a rotten food smell on my dishes from the dishwasher. It is the most foul smell I have ever encountered. I have since then replaced my dishwasher twice to see if it is a problem with the dishwasher, have had 6 plumbers out to look at the plumbing and dishwasher, along with a specialist from the dishwasher manufacturer and no one can figure it out.


I am at the end of my rope and just want to move. Aside from tearing up the walls and replacing all the plumbing I don't know what to do. Does anyone know what this is from. Please help!

By Sheila S


July 17, 20140 found this helpful

There are a few dishwashing "tabs" that leave your dishwasher smelling foul. Unfortunately, I can't remember the name of the one I used that did this as it was only a sample. It made my dishwasher smell like vomit after I used it. I do remember it was one of those brightly colored combo tabs. After that, I only use the store brand of dishwasher tabs in the fresh scent.

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July 18, 20140 found this helpful

For the life of me, I can't figure out how your dishes could be smelly. Does the inside of the machine smell constantly as well? Does the water itself smell? You say you have replaced the dishwasher, and it still smells? If so, than it must be coming from the water or the plumbing. Does the water in your sink smell?


The plumbing that runs to your dishwasher is the same plumbing that runs to your sinks, so if the smell is somehow in the pipes or your water, it should be all over. Does everyone smell this foul odor or only you? Have you tried running the various things through your machine to clean it? People run a cycle with vinegar, or Tang, or citric acid, or commercial dishwasher cleaners, or baking soda (one thing at a time). You could even run one with a cup or two of bleach.

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August 13, 20170 found this helpful

I'm glad you don't get an Oder from your machine.We had a whirlpool ,now brush.oder still Oder from other taps.Water is 0/0 for bacteria. Will try diferent brand pucks now

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September 30, 20170 found this helpful

I just read an article about this issue. New detergents do not contain phosphate due to new EPA rule, this makes them stick to the dishes and over time cause smell.


Solution: add 2 small spoons of white vinegar at the rinse cycle.

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October 16, 20170 found this helpful

We lashed out on a Miele dishwasher ( our first) for the first few weeks the dogs wouldn't stay in the kitchen with it because the smell of chemicals was so strong Tried several tablets but am now on Ecover but dishes glasses etc still small a bit How and where do you put in liquid detergents? Or the vinegar etc ? At the moment we are rinsing dishes before AND after the cycle - not really what I expected

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July 18, 20180 found this helpful

its your garbage disposal,clean it,the store sale tiny little citrus balls that clean it,i used them often,then smells gone,i can drink out of my glasses again

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December 30, 20180 found this helpful

Have you cleaned out the filter at the bottom of the dishwasher? Food collects on the stainless steel cover that lays over the drain. That as well as the medium sized cylinder gets all gunked up.


Once a month, I take both pieces out and drizzle some Dawn over them, running hot water over them, while I use a course plastic brush over them, scratching every which way. Clean the inside too, hanging it upside down. Then I rinse well, and replace. This might help.

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October 27, 2009

Whenever I clean my counters with anything like Windex, dishsoap and water, Lysol, etc. afterwards my counters smell like a dirty, mildewy river. Also, the same happens with the dishwasher. Sometimes when I take the dishes out, they smell like a dirty mildewy river. I get so frustrated, even when I hand wash dishes and let them air dry, they smell like dirty mildewy river.


I thought maybe it's the water down here, but just using Lysol and Windex makes it smell, too. How can I get rid of this? Where does it come from? I have gotten to the point where I am spending tons of money on paper products instead of using all my new dishes from my bridal shower. It's a brand new house I live in. New counters, new dishwasher. I just don't understand. Any advice? I will be grateful.

Sandra from Wesley Chapel, FL


Dishes Smell Bad After I Wash Them

My guess is that it's something you're using like a sponge or dishcloth/rag. When they are dry, they often don't smell and soap often covers the scent. I'd change all your sponges and cloths and see what happens. (03/28/2006)

By sueey.

Dishes Smell Bad After I Wash Them

Sometimes when I wash the dishes I pour a little Clorox bleach into the water. It helps keep the water sudsy and takes away any egg smell from breakfast in the water and dishes. Also works on any other food smells. (03/29/2006)

By Firefly1985

Dishes Smell Bad After I Wash Them

I'm thinking that maybe it's the FL water? Your house is new and so are the pipes so maybe it will take a while to go away. If not call your water company and explain the problem to them. I know FL water can be funky. My son lives down there and he uses that water purification (forget what you call it). He gets it at Walmart. He hates the water down there as he's from here on the shores of freshwater Lake Erie. Good luck. (03/29/2006)

By Mary

Dishes Smell Bad After I Wash Them

Just a friendly word of caution. Depending on the brand/type of hand dishwashing liquid, adding bleach to the soapy water can cause harmful (even fatal) fumes. I know several people, all still living, that add bleach to their dish washing water. I don't know what ingredient or brands cause the reaction. Always be careful when adding bleach to any other cleaning product, even those that seem harmless, most will not tolerate the mixture. Some cause deadly fumes to form instantly. Doesn't take much inhalation to cause a serious chemical burn of the lungs. If you are overcome by such fumes, get outside to fresh air immediately and fully ventilate the area before returning for any length of time. (03/29/2006)

By kidsNclutter

Dishes Smell Bad After I Wash Them

If the smell is musty like mold or mildew, you may need a dehumidifier or air conditioner. Maybe things just aren't drying out completely. Also, be sure to put your sponge or dish cloth into the dishwasher to sanitize it. I've also heard that you can put them in the microwave to sanitize, but haven't tried that. I wash my dish cloth every day in the clothes washer. I get a clean cloth and clean towel every day. Best of luck. I wish I could help more. (03/30/2006)

By Carol in PA

Dishes Smell Bad After I Wash Them

The cause for this is more than likely build up down where the pump goes. Look at the bottom of the dishwasher and you will see a filtering panel where the water exits the dishwasher out to the drain. Use a screw driver and pop up that drain and you'll find lots of build up. Pour lots of vinegar in the drain and let it sit for a couple hours. Put the drain train in a plastic bag and fill it with vinegar as well to allow all of it to get soaked. A few hours later, with a tooth brush, brush out that mold build up. Make sure you give the trays and the dishwasher walls a complete wash off using generous amounts of vinegar. Let it vent for a few hours then give it a shot. Good luck. (07/05/2006)

By Walter the dishwasher dude

Dishes Smell Bad After I Wash Them

Sorry to end the parade on your theories, but some dishes are made out of clay like materials that when you add heat to them makes the water that has been absorbed by the dishes start to come out of the dishware. When this happens, it does not normally smell that great. I suggest if it is not your water supply you may have the type of dishes that are not made out of the best materials. (02/05/2007)

By Philippe

Dishes Smell Bad After I Wash Them

I am a 21 year old male. I hate this smell like nothing else. To me, it smells like rotting, dead worms from after a rain storm. Its disgusting. I think its something in the water. I've noticed that if you just rinse a dish, the dish will acquire the smell of unknown origin. However, if you mix the water with soap, the dishes are fine. Similarly, if you do not use a rinsing agent (a product that is intended to reduce water marks on the dishes, increasing shine) in your dishwasher, the dishes get the smell from the water. If you do use the rinse agent, the dishes are fine. It is something in the water; water being the only link between dishes and rain storms. (10/08/2008)

By Matt

Dishes Smell Bad After I Wash Them

Try adding a cup of baking soda to your dishwasher it works for me. Other postings I read said you could use 2 Alka Seltzer tabs or a half cup of bleach. Another suggestion was Dishwasher Magic used alone in an empty dishwasher. My guess would be it from some sort of food build up and the wet and heat. Yuck. (10/22/2008)


Dishes Smell Bad After I Wash Them

Eggy plates should always be washed in cold water with bit of washing up liquid. No smell. Wash them with hot water, smelly. It is to do with the protein nature of eggs. Afterward rinse the sponge or scouring pad with cold water. (10/31/2008)

By Sven

Dishes Smell Bad After I Wash Them

What I found it is that the clay plates never really dry when they are removed from even a heated cycle from the dishwasher. The water is being absorbed in the bottom of the plates, bowls where there is no glazing. When the dishes are laid flat in the cupboard, mold starts to grow. I have spent many hours killing the mold with beach, vinegar, etc. But it's about letting them dry out or even applying glaze to the bottom or even standing the dishing on their side in the cabinet. (11/18/2008)

By Dan

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