Isn't it quite strange that something specifically made to clean also needs to clean itself? It just goes to show that the most ethical method is still hard work, regardless of how much we automate jobs. As a result, when your dishwasher begins to emit an unpleasant smell, it's time for you to step in and give your magical chore robot a good cleaning.
Yes, even your dishwasher requires a thorough cleaning now and then. Don't worry—it’s not as hard as it sounds. We’ve broken it down into 5 simple steps (and why you need to do them).
Why do dishwashers eventually smell bad?
The following are the most common causes of smelly dishwashers:
- Food scraps lingering in filters and crevices
- Bacterial growth could be aided by the accumulation of grease and oil
- Mold or mildew caused by standing water as a result of clogged parts or general neglect
What can you do?
Consider it like brushing your dishwasher's teeth—you'll have fresher breath in no time if you use the best toothpaste and mouthwash.
Check your dishwasher's filter. First and foremost, figure out how to clean the filter. This is frequently found at the bottom of the machine, so make sure to pull out the bottom rack to get the best access. Pull out the filter and handwash it in the sink with hot water and dish soap. Cleaning out the dishwasher's drain filter will remove those nasty food scraps, as well as any grease or oil that has become trapped and has started to grow bacteria and stink.
Unclog and wipe down the interior parts. Next, inspect the dishwasher's spray arm and drain hose to ensure that neither is clogged with additional food particles. Clogging of these important dishwasher parts may also contribute to unpleasant odors because it indicates that they are not functioning properly. If the spray arm(s) or drain hose become clogged, clear the passageways with a scrub brush or even a toothpick. Another thing to look out for is the garbage disposal. You should also clean out its hose. It's simple, but depending on how frequently you've cleaned it, be warned: it could be a dirty business. Then, using a soapy rag, wipe down the inside of your dishwasher's walls to ensure that no mildew has formed from food scraps.
Drain standing water. If you haven't used your dishwasher in a while or have been away from home for an extended period of time, standing water in your dishwasher could be the culprit, causing a foul odor or mold growth. Make certain to get rid of it.
Run cycles. If the dishwasher really stinks, you may want to run two separate cycles: one with white vinegar and one with baking soda, which you can liberally sprinkle on the bottom of the dishwasher before running a short cycle. Honestly, either one or the other would suffice for mild odors. But never ever use both vinegar and baking soda at the same time. Be sure to run each cycle with hot water. If you're feeling brave, you can run a cycle with a cup of lemon peels, which should leave your dishwasher smelling heavenly, but make sure the peels don't clog the drain.
Let it air dry. Even dishwashers require some fresh air. Your dishwasher has a very strong seal. Consider this: an upright box sloshing around steam and water for about an hour and a half per use. If the seal wasn’t top notch, your kitchen would be a kiddie pool. Because the seal is so strong, residual water can become trapped inside your dishwasher, never having the chance to dry. So, once the cleaning cycle is complete, open the dishwasher door and let it air dry overnight. You can even give the interior of the door a gentle wipe with a clean, dry towel to kickstart the air-drying process, being sure to get around the edges and the seal.
A little routine dishwasher maintenance goes a long way—just make sure to clean according to the manufacturer's manual or guidelines to keep your dishwasher in top shape. You’ll forget your hard work is even paying off because of the lack of any weird dishwasher smell. Your dishes will appreciate it.