how to clean a smelly dishwasher

What to Do When Your Dishwasher Smells Bad

Unpleasant kitchen odors are never a good thing. When your dishwasher smells bad it could mean that a good cleaning is needed to remove smelly food particles, mold, or mildew. We’ll review how to clean a dishwasher’s interior, spray arms, and filter to banish odor effectively. Our cleaning tips also target clogs with quick methods to remove blockages.

Dishwasher Smells Bad? These Cleaning Tips Can Eliminate Odor

When your dishwasher smells bad, cleaning doesn’t have to be time-consuming or difficult. These tips pinpoint common sources of odor with easy and effective cleaning methods. Making them part of regular dishwasher maintenance can also help ensure that this hard-working appliance functions properly.

Clean the Dishwasher Interior

If left unchecked, a dishwasher’s warm, moist interior can cause leftover food particles to breed smelly mold. So, what is the best way to clean the inside of a dishwasher? Here’s how to use natural ingredients like vinegar and baking soda to clean and remove odor:

  • White Vinegar: Place a small, dishwasher-safe bowl in the top rack of an empty dishwasher. Fill the container with white vinegar and run a complete wash cycle with hot water.
  • Baking Soda: Pour a handful of baking soda in the base of the empty dishwasher. Run the dishwasher on a quick wash cycle with hot water.
  • Bleach Option: For persistent mold or mildew, pour 1 cup of bleach in the dishwasher’s base and run a 3rd wash cycle. *Skip this step if your dishwasher has a stainless steel interior, as bleach can cause staining and discoloration.

Unclog the Spray Arms

The dishwasher’s spray arms are essential for dispensing water that cleans dishes and rinses detergent. However, the small holes on each arm can become clogged with food remnants that block water, leaving dishes dirty (and smelly). Follow these tips to unclog the spray arms, ensuring cleaner dishes and less odor:

  1. Unscrew the top spray arm. To access the lower arm, remove the bottom rack and pull the spray arm upward.
  2. Dip an old toothbrush in white vinegar and scrub the holes of each arm to remove leftover particles.
  3. Replace both spray arms, followed by the bottom rack.

Wash the Dishwasher Filter

When your dishwasher smells bad the filter is a common source of odor. During a wash cycle this important component screens out larger food particles to prevent drain clogs. If the filter isn’t cleaned regularly, these particles can accumulate and create a bad odor as they decay. Here’s how to clean a dishwasher filter:

  1. Remove the bottom rack to access the filter.
  2. Twist the filter to unlock it and pull upward to remove. Arrows on the filter should indicate the correct direction to twist and unlock.
  3. Wash the filter with warm, soapy water, using a soft brush or sponge for hard-to-remove particles.
  4. Place the filter in its compartment and lock by twisting in the opposite direction. Replace the bottom rack.

dishwasher smells bad

How to Clear a Clogged Dishwasher

Knowing how to clean a clogged dishwasher is essential to eliminating blockages that can restrict its draining abilities, resulting in bad smells. These tips can dispel clogs and ensure proper drainage:

  • Empty the Garbage Disposal: Dishwasher water drains through the disposal during a wash cycle. To aid in draining, run the disposal before starting the dishwasher. This will clear any food particles that can hinder the flow of water. 
  • Clean the Air Gap: A clogged air gap can cause sink water to back up into the dishwasher. Before starting a wash cycle, clean the air gap by removing its cover and clearing away debris.
  • Dispel Drain Clogs: Dissolve dishwasher drain clogs by mixing a solution of baking soda and vinegar and pouring it down the drain. After 10-15 mins, pour hot water down the drain to dissolve the solution and break up the clog.

If your dishwasher smells bad even after these cleaning tips, a professional repair may be necessary. For the very best in dishwasher repair Springdale, call A-Tech Appliance Parts and Service.

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