How to Keep Dishwasher from Smelling Between Washes?

Even the best of us have experienced it. When we open the dishwasher, we anticipate being greeted by freshly washed dishes’ comforting aroma but are assaulted by an offensive smell. For your dishes to come out clean and odor-free, it’s crucial to keep your dishwasher clean in between loads. Here’s a guide on how to Keep Dishwasher from Smelling Between Washes. With a few simple steps and consistent maintenance, you can ensure that your dishwasher remains odor-free.

Rinse Dishes Before Loading:

Even though contemporary dishwashers are made to manage food residue, too many leftovers can build up and start to rot, giving off an unpleasant odor. Before placing them in the dishwasher, give your dishes a short rinse to get rid of any large food particles.

Regularly Clean the Filter:

Most dishwashers come with a removable filter that traps large food particles, preventing them from getting into the drain. Over time, these particles can break down and cause odors. Check and clean your filter at least once a month to prevent this from happening.

Schedule Monthly Deep Cleans:

Once a month, run an empty dishwasher cycle using a dishwasher-safe cleaner or a cup of white vinegar placed on the top rack. This will help to break down any lingering residues and keep the interior smelling fresh.

Keep the Door Ajar:

Mildew and mold thrive in moist, closed-off environments. By leaving the dishwasher door slightly open after a cycle, you allow moisture to escape and air to circulate, preventing the growth of odor-causing molds.

Inspect the Drain:

Occasionally, larger bits of food or debris can get caught in the dishwasher’s drain, leading to blockages and bad odors. Regularly inspect the drain and clear out any obstructions.

Use Baking Soda:

Every couple of weeks, sprinkle a cup of baking soda at the bottom of your dishwasher and leave it overnight. Run an empty cycle the next day. Baking soda is excellent for neutralizing odors and will help maintain a fresh-smelling dishwasher.

Check for Stagnant Water:

If water is not draining properly from the dishwasher, it can become stagnant and produce a foul smell. Ensure that the dishwasher is draining correctly after each cycle.

Rotate Detergents:

Using the same detergent for an extended period can lead to a residue buildup. Rotate between different brands or types of dishwasher detergents to prevent this accumulation.

Use a Commercially Available Freshener:

There are several dishwasher fresheners on the market that can help maintain a pleasant scent in your appliance. Choose one that suits your preference and use as directed.

Address External Factors:

Sometimes, the source of the smell might not be the dishwasher itself but the sink or garbage disposal nearby. Ensure that these are clean and free from clogging to prevent backflow odors into the dishwasher.

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Use Salt and Vinegar Combo:

Occasionally, you can sprinkle some coarse salt at the bottom of the dishwasher, add a cup of white vinegar, and run a short cycle. The salt acts as an abrasive, helping scrub off residue, while the vinegar disinfects and deodorizes.

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Address Hard Water Issues:

Hard water can leave mineral deposits in your dishwasher, which can trap food particles and cause odors. If your home has hard water, consider using a water softener or adding a dishwasher salt designed to combat limescale and mineral buildup.

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Clean the Seals:

The rubber seals around the dishwasher door can trap food particles and moisture, leading to mold growth. Wipe them down regularly with a damp cloth and a mild cleaner to prevent this issue.

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Regularly Check for Spoiled Dishes:

Sometimes, a forgotten dish or container can be the culprit behind the unpleasant smell. Regularly inspect the dishwasher to ensure no dish has been left behind for too long.

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Clean Spray Arms:

The spray arms distribute water during the wash. Over time, they can get clogged with debris. Ensure you occasionally check and clean the spray arm holes to ensure efficient water flow and thorough cleaning.

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Avoid Overloading:

In addition to reducing water flow and cleaning effectiveness, an overloaded dishwasher can also leave behind food particles that can cause unpleasant odors. Always put the right amount of dishes in the dishwasher to guarantee thorough cleaning of all the dishes.

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In addition to performing better, a well-maintained dishwasher also smells nicer. These actions can be incorporated into your normal cleaning regimen to keep your dishwasher fresh and prepared for the next load. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my dishwasher smell bad even though I rinse my dishes before loading?

Even if you rinse dishes, food particles can accumulate in the dishwasher’s filter, drain, and seals, causing odors. Regularly cleaning these parts can help combat this issue.

How often should I clean the dishwasher filter to prevent bad odors?

 It’s recommended to check and clean the dishwasher filter at least once a month to remove trapped food particles and prevent odors.

Can a clogged drain cause my dishwasher to smell?

Absolutely. A clogged drain can trap water and food debris, leading to stagnation and odor development. Regularly inspecting and cleaning the drain can prevent this.

How do rinse aids contribute to keeping my dishwasher odor-free?

Rinse aids not only assist in drying and reducing water spots but can also prevent film buildup which, over time, can harbor odors.