Why is My Dishwasher Stinky?

The answer to the question why is my dishwasher stinky is one many people ask. Sometimes, finding a solution to a smelling dishwasher can be hard. This is the direct opposite of why we buy dishwashers.

Essentially, we innovate machines to add convenience to our daily lives. For dishwashers, the purpose is to clean dishes and cutlery automatically. That said, like any other electrical appliance, dishwashers are not devoid of its problems. 

Disadvantages of dishwashers range from size to maintenance, but a daunting one is the smell. Sure, it will help save time and money, but why wash with a dishwasher if the plates are still stinky? Once they notice this smell, most people blame the soap.

However, after investigating, you will be left with one question “Why is my dishwasher stinky?” The answer is many factors can contribute to the foul smell coming from your dishwasher. 

As you know, this smell is not pleasant and can be detrimental to your health. In this article, we’ll be discussing in-depth the causes and solutions of smelly dishwashers. Get ready to get your dishwashers clean.

Why is My Dishwasher Stinky?

Appliances and perfection do not go hand in hand. Even dishwashers are not left out here. As much as dishwashers take off the burden of handwashing, it has its challenges. 

Many complaints read “the bad smell coming from my dishwasher is fish-like and smells like vomit”. Whichever smell emerges from your dishwasher, some of the factors that can cause these smells are:

Accumulation of food particles

This is the most common cause of many smells from dishwashers. Food particles on the plate and cutlery accumulate on the filter of the dishwasher. In no time, these particles pile up leaving your dishwasher with a bad smell.

Dirty dishwasher 

As much as dishwashers clean all dirty plates for you, it will not clean itself. Dirt always ushers in a foul smell. When you use a dirty dishwasher, it is unlikely to leave your dishes smelling clean. 

Long closure of dishwasher doors

Dishwashers use warm water for washing. Closing the doors of the machine for long periods only brings about more heat. When you close your room for long, it gives off a certain smell. This also applies to dishwashers.

Wrong position of the drain hose

The wastewater used by dishwashers goes through a drain hose. However, when this hose is wrongly set, water tends to flow back into the dishwasher. If allowed to accumulate, this wastewater will cause foul smells to buildup in the dishwasher. Next time, before you ask “why is my dishwasher stinky?”, Check these factors first.

Side Effects of A Stinky Dishwasher

If you ever disregard the smell from your dishwasher, remember there are side effects. In other words, it’s not just about the smell, but your health too. Some of the side effects of a smelling dishwasher include:

Danger to health

As you know, the function of a dishwasher is to clean dirt from your flatware and cutlery. Now, if the dishwasher smells, it may be as a result of dirt and bacteria. Disregarding this smell from the dishwasher is exposing yourself to these possible health hazards. 

Waste of time

Dishwashers, like any other appliance, act to bring about ease and convenience. When you need to wash dishes manually after dishwashing, it has lost its purpose. This will only lead to a waste of time and energy.

Extra cost

Every appliance requires maintenance and repair. Some causes of the bad smell from your dishwasher can contribute to frequent damage. This will mean you have to repair your dishwasher more often. In the end, you’ll end up spending more on dishwasher maintenance.

How to Fix a Smelly Dishwasher

Now that you know why your dishwasher is stinky, it is important to know the solutions. Logically, you should opt for dishwasher repair services

However, there are actions you can take to prevent and stop the stinky smell from your dishwasher. Some of which are:

Drain/filter cleaning

The residue after washing is accrued on the filter. This makes the filter the most vulnerable part of the dishwasher to bad odour. To wash the filters, here is what you need to do: 

  • Carefully unscrew the filters from your dishwasher. If you have no tools, call for dishwasher repair services
  • Immerse in warm water. Then, scrub vigorously with a firm brush. Put back the clean drain and screw correctly. 

Station the drain Hose

The drain hose is the outlet wastewater from the dishwasher passes through. In the wrong position, water will get trapped in there, making the dishwasher stinky. Check and make sure there is a free flow of water in the drain hose.

Clean the dishwasher

We are all guilty – forgetting the dishwasher washes all dishes but itself. So, we go about asking “Why is my dishwasher Stinky? when we don’t clean it. 

Vinegar is widely used for door removal and can be used to clean a dishwasher: Here’s how:

  • Make sure the dishwater is empty
  • Put a container of white vinegar alone in the dishwasher.
  • Wash at the longest time and highest temperature available.
  • When this is done, you should have a great smell. If this isn’t the case, apply baking soda on the internal parts and wash it with warm water.

Note that this shouldn’t be practised often as vinegar promotes the rusting of metals.

Safe Usage

If you don’t rinse your plates before dishwashing, more food particles accumulate on the filter. When you take time out to rinse plates of large particles, food build-up will be minimal. Though it may not save you stress, it will prevent a stinky smell from your dishwasher.

How Often Should I Clean My Dishwasher?

In all honesty, there is no blueprint or set rule that governs this. What is necessary is the consistency. It can be fortnightly, or monthly. (Do not use vinegar frequently. BLEACH IS NOT AN OPTION)


The next time you are about to ask “why is my dishwasher stinky”, read through this article again. As much as this machine saves time and stress, it requires some level of attention and maintenance effort. You can automate your dishwashing but you cannot automate the cleaning of the machine.

This article provides tips on why your dishwasher is stinky as well as probable solutions. That being said, sometimes, the best solution is expertise – something only a professional offers. 

Here at Repair Appliance CA, we know the importance of dishwashing and the detriment of a stinky dishwasher. This is why we offer trusted professional dishwasher repair services, just for you. Contact us today!