Even though it handles leftover food every day, it can be an unwelcome surprise when a dishwasher smells like mold. From cleaning the interior to removing clogs, we’ll review what to do when your dishwasher smells bad.

Deodorizing the Dishwasher: What to Do When Your Dishwasher Smells Bad

With each dishwasher cycle, even the smallest food particles can get left behind. These particles then develop smelly mold and mildew in the dishwasher’s warm, moist environment. We recommend regular monthly cleanings to avoid moldy buildup or stop it in its tracks with these simple steps.

 How to Clean Inside a Dishwasher

The inside of your dishwasher is a favorite hiding spot for mold and mildew, specifically around the rubber gasket and dishwasher walls. But what is the best way to clean the inside of a dishwasher? These easy steps detail the first plan of attack when your dishwasher smells bad:

  1. Empty the dishwasher, placing a small, dishwasher-safe bowl on the top rack
  2. Fill the bowl with white vinegar
  3. Run a wash cycle with hot water
  4. Remove the bowl at the end of the wash cycle and sprinkle a handful of baking soda in the dishwasher’s base
  5. Run a quick wash cycle with hot water
  6. For persistent mold and mildew, run a third hot wash cycle after pouring a cup of bleach in the dishwasher base (skip this step if the dishwasher’s interior is stainless steel).
dishwasher smells bad

Image Credit: Denise Cooper Be My Guest

How to Clean a Dishwasher Filter

Your dishwasher filter works to screen larger food particles out of the drain, preventing clogs. But this job can cause it to become blocked with debris, and you may find your dishwasher not cleaning appropriately. Here’s how to clean a dishwasher filter when your dishwasher smells bad:

  1. Remove the dishwasher’s bottom rack, detaching the filter by twisting and pulling upward
  2. Hand wash the filter in warm soapy water, using a soft toothbrush to gently scrub stubborn stains
  3. Rinse under warm running water
  4. Replace the filter

dishwasher smells like mold

How to Clean a Clogged Dishwasher

The final step in how to clean a dishwasher is removing any clogs that could be causing the odor. The steps below discuss how to remove clogs from multiple areas:

  1. Garbage disposal: Run the garbage disposal before starting a wash cycle. This prevents food particles from clogging the disposal and dishwasher’s shared drain.
  2. Air gap: An air gap prevents water from a clogged drain from backing up into the dishwasher. If you have an air gap, take off the cap and remove any accumulated buildup.
  3. Dishwasher drain: Break up dishwasher drain clogs by pouring a solution of vinegar and baking soda down the drain. After ten minutes, follow the solution with boiling water to clear the clog.

If your dishwasher smells bad even after these cleaning tips, dishwasher repair may be in order. Give Sloan Appliance Service a call to help!