Dishwasher

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How do I get an awful, rotten smell out of my dishwasher?

It's a stainless steel dishwasher. It was stinky when I moved into the house about a year ago, but running it through a wash cycle clears up the problem... for a day or so. If I leave the door of the dishwasher closed, whether there are dishes inside or it's empty, it develops a rotten smell. It does this even when I leave the door open after running it to make sure it's completely dry. I've tried the following tips that I've read on the internet, to no avail: running a cycle of vinegar and water; running a cycle of bleach in the detergent cup with the racks removed. Any help with how to get to the drainage lines to clean them (or other ideas!) would be appreciated.

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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Have you pulled the dishwasher out to check for a dead mouse under or behind it? Just an idea....

BILL

by HemiBill

As mentioned by others, buy a package of dishwasher cleaner and follow the instructions to clean the dishwasher. Once the dishwasher is clean only place pre-rinsed dishware(not pre-washed)in the dishwasher. It's a dishwasher, not a garbage disposal. The more garbage you load into it, the more garbage gets left behind in the sump, and some of said garbage can jam the backflow valve open on the drain line, which can also lead to said backflow valve being jammed closed, which will stop the dishwasher from draining entirely. Also, if your dishwasher has any sort of extra heat options for the wash and rinse cycles, always turn them on. Extra hot water cleans things better that barely warm water every day, particularly with the wimpy soaps (of all brands)that you buy for your dishwashers these days.

by semiretired48

I put a container of Fresh Wave on the rack between runs. Has worked well!! Don't forget to remove when washing load of dishes!

by ksde

If you're a do it yourselfer, you might want to try disassembling the sump area. The easiest way is to pull the dishwasher out and put it up on something so it's easier to work on, otherwise it's going to be a hands and knees job. You very likely have grease and food deposits collected in the sump ( the ares below the bottom spray bar and filter screen/strainer) due to the previous owners using the dishwasher as more of a garbage disposal than a dishwasher, and then compounding the problem by not using any additional heat, as in the sani-wash/rinse buttons on the control. You will only be wasting money buying dishwasher cleaners, trying homemade concoctions, etc., if you do not first remove the offending debris causing the odor. Once you've cleaned the sump, you want to keep it clean, so always pre-rinse the dishes (rinse, not wash), and always use the heat boost available , because if you don't, the greases and fats will just start to collect in the sump again.

by semiretired48

No one mentioned to check the drain hose! I had that exact problem and it meant dirty water all the time, unbeknownst to me. I got sick and even my cat got sick. So I looked at the drain hose after pulling out the DW. There was a pronounced kink in it. I found the solution on ebay.

by tspriggsabq

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20 Answers

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This sounds to me like the drain hose is incorrectly connected to the drain, causing kitchen sink wastewater to back up into the dishwasher.

The dishwasher drain hose sits lower than the sink drain, and this must be accounted for to keep from having a back-flow situation. There is a simpler way to do this than my instructions below, and while it may work, any future clogged drains will cause your issue again.

The proper and most sanitary way would be to install an air gap into the sink. This device fits into one of the extra holes on the top of your sink and has a cap (usually chrome) to make it look nice. The air gap device has two connections, one that comes in from the dishwasher and the other that flows back down to the drain. The air gap keeps you from having a direct hose connection between the dishwasher and the drain and will allow for the dishwasher to overflow into the sink if the drain pipe gets clogged.

Search google for "dishwasher air gap" and you'll find all the information you need.

Good luck!

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What a great idea! The same thing has happened to me. I will have to try that. Isn't Google a great tool? It helps us with everything. http://www.atlasappliances.com

by Julia Carlson

http://www.ebay.com/itm/111747966817?ssP...

You can try this too. It worked great for me and is still working great.

by tspriggsabq

That ebay item is a scam. What that scammer is selling you for $22 you can buy yourself for$5 or less at Lowes or Home Depot . It's a total ripoff, and it will only fix a kinked drain hose problem. It will not correct a hose blockage or a problem with an anti back flow valve, and since the part actually reduces the inside diameter of the hose where it goes through this "magical" repair part, it will actually cause drainage problems by plugging up sooner. If your hose is kinked, just straighten it out and squeeze the hose back into its original round shape or replace the hose.

by Al Seaver

It's not a scam if it works. And no , they don't sell one like that at the hardware store. And who are you to call something a scam? based on price alone? You must shop at the Dollar Store everyday.

by tspriggsabq

It is a scam. You can buy the two clamps anywhere for about $2 or less, the plastic elbow is about 50 cents or so, and two scrap pieces of pvc pipe cost nothing. Then all you need is the glue to put the pipe and elbows together. The $22 that the guy on ebay was trying to scam people out of is a complete ripoff. He'd still make too much off of it if it were $10.

by semiretired48

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Many dishwasher installation instructions state the drain hose should be looped up higher than the pump to prevent backflow.

Many installers ignore this.

The high loop is easy to install and test.

Here is some info from http://www.structuretech1.com/2010/07/di...

Kenmore: “The high loop or air gap must be used to prevent potential backflow contamination of the dishwasher. Local plumbing codes generally dictate the requirements in your area. Section 807.4 of the Uniform Plumbing Code states: “No domestic dishwashing machine shall be directly connected to a drainage system or food waste disposer without the use of an approved dishwasher airgap fitting on the discharge side of the dishwashing machine. Listed airgaps shall be installed with the flood level (FL) marking at or above the flood level of the sink or drainboard, whichever is higher, or separately trapped with the airbreak located on the stand pipe.”

GE: “If an air gap is not required, the drain hose must have the high loop from the floor to prevent backflow of water into the dishwasher or water siphoning out during operation.”

Bosch: The high loop in the drain hose of your dishwasher is to keep water from settling in the hose if it were hanging down any lower or horizontally. This keeps the drain hose dried out and keeps any odors from backing up into the dishwasher.

Viking: In testing our dishwashers, we have found that the additional high loop in the back of the dishwasher is required for proper draining of the water. We have seen when this piece is not applied that over time the consumer will have issues with the water back up and causing issues with proper drainage and water pooling in a particular area.

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Many dishwashers already have a high loop built right onto the outside of the dishwasher. Follow fishtech's advice if yours does not.

by semiretired48

Also make sure that your main drainpipe is draining properly

by Rick

I installed a rubber flapper on the drain hose that blocks gases from coming back into the dishwasher. Easy fix.

by Rob Murphy

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My new dishwasher is properly installed and I recently had the sewer gas vent checked. I too had an awful smell in my dishwasher and although I only run the washer every 2nd day or so, I've never had this problem before. In addition to the smell, or maybe the cause, I found weird mold stuff growing down in the filter. I cleaned it periodically with boiling hot water, tide detergent and an oxyclean type bleach alternative (sodium carbonate peroxide) which did a good job of cleaning and removing grease, but the smell would return days later. Finally after much research, I came across some information about copper which I found interesting. Apparently, copper kills fungus, mold, and bacteria. It's suggested that by putting discs cut from copper plumbing pipe in the washer and running vinegar twice a month, it will eliminate mold, and bacteria that may be growing in the dishwasher. Apparently the copper leaches out of the pipe, and kills unwanted organisms. Sounded strange, but I know roofers use copper infused roof tiles to prevent organisms from growing on roofs. I put some discs of copper pipe in my dishwasher and leave them there (they're too big to get down the drain). I run vinegar twice a month and I finally have NO bad smells. It's suggested that using copper plumbing pipe will insure a clean metal, not a copper that may be alloyed with some other toxic metal. Pennies won't work. I know this may sound odd, but google what copper will kill, and you'll see why this works!

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Do you run the dishwasher with the copper in there?

by sam funk

You could also cut a couple 3" lengths of the copper pipe and put them in the silverware basket or slip them over couple unused tines on either the upper or lower rack.

by Al Seaver

I tried all of the above solutions and the ONLY one that worked is the copper piping! THANK YOU so much! It's AMAZING! I asked my husband if we had any pieces of copper piping and he did. I put two pieces of 3/8" diameter copper piping (one is 4" and the other is 3" long) over the upper rack tines. The very first time I ran the dishwasher the horrid smell was gone, and it no longer overpowers us when we open the door to newly cleaned dishes.

by Kathleen

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A home remedy that you may want to try is cleaning vinegar. I found it locally at Wally World. Run the dishwasher empty, and after the initial pre-rinse and refill, dump a healthy dose of the vinegar into the water and let the dishwasher finish. The problem area is most likely in the water return sump beneath the strainer in the bottom of the tub. Also, if you're good at taking things apart (and remembering how they go back together), you can remove the lower spray bar and disassemble what's below it to get into the sump area to clean it with a small brush or whatever will do the job. Until that sump is clean, you will continue to have the smell return.

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Virtually all dishwashers have a filtration type system in the bottom. I have a Kenmore Elite and the instructions that come with it recommend cleaning every so often. When I start getting a bit of a smell, I know it's time to remove the spray bar, remove the perforated metal cover & pull out the metal filter and scrub it good to remove the gunk that has built up. Various solutions and air drying will not remove the odor if the filtration portion is gunked up. For some reason, the gunk in mine is always a pinkish color. Who knows what from? For those who aren't real mechanically inclined, get a digital camera or your phone and take pictures before you remove each piece. Then you have a blueprint for reinstalling each piece in order backwards from the last photo.

by Crystal Griffith

Vinegar is the ultimate green cleaner, it really can do wonders! Vinegar works a treat to get that awful orange tinge off the inside of my dishwasher after a big night of Spaghetti Bolognaise. Didn't realise it worked with the Washing Machine though, cheers for that info! Greets! Lily,Mayfair Carpet Cleaners Ltd. http://mayfaircarpetcleaners.org.uk/

by lilyharrold1

The drain at the bottom of my Bosch is sparkling clean. No particles or residue. Two plumbers have checked the connection pipe to the garbage disposal. Clean both times. The garbage disposal is clean. I've tried everything you can imagine to get that awful smell out. Am now putting the little yellow lemon balls in the bottom of the dishwasher to hide the smell. They are normally used for cleaning your garbage disposal but at least I can get a lemony smell instead of that awful stench. That gets expensive though. My cleaning lady thought we had rotting meat in our waste basket under the sink because of the odor. Nope just the dishwasher!

by Carol Britton

Ditto: plus I regularly clean that filter thing (it's never particularly dirty as no food goes into my dishwasher, and cleaning it makes no difference to the smell). We noticed this problem almost immediately. I think I will try your method. Do you leave the yellow balls in when you run a cycle?

I haven't looked for a kink underneath (not sure how you could verify there was no kink when you put the dishwasher back in anyway). I have the high loop, I think: it's not a loop per se but the drain hose is fixed to the top of the cabinet and then comes down to the disposal. Just seems to me the dishwasher isn't able to pump out all the water when it's done. It's gotta be a design flaw.

by peri

We also bought an expensive Bosch dishwasher with the same problem. It had a faulty door so we got a brand new one. Same smell. It is foul! We have tried all these solutions without relief. It smelled from the day we got it, so residual food is not the issue. We keep the drain and the door to the dishwasher closed or our whole house smells. We will try to find those yellow ballsbut, I have little faith we will solve the problem. May have to replace the dishwasher but thats money down the drain.

by just trying

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Purchase a dishwasher cleaning solution and run through about every three months also rinse dishes off prior to placing into dishwasher and wash as soon as possible

Ianf

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Strange as it may seem, that bottom door rubber thing may be the culprit. I followed Josh's suggestion and cleaned it. It was not very dirty (perhaps because my dishes are rinsed of all food before going into the machine) so I didn't think the little bit of grayish scum (like what's in the filter) that I wiped off could make much difference ... but it's been a couple weeks now, I've repeated the process once more, and the smell seems to be gone. I'll remember to do this whenever I wash the filter.

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And if you think that the bottom edge door seal gets dirty, just imagine what builds up on the back side of the inside door cover above the "seal" ( which is actually more of a splash guard than a seal). I have taken apart many door panels that had a large amount of gunk buildup on the inside, and when you have exhausted every other odor removing remedy and still have a stink problem, it's time to take that door apart to clean that inside panel. You will probably be shocked at what you find there.

by Al Seaver

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I too had the odor problem with my Bosch dishwasher. After watching a youtube video where the guy uses the brand of detergent that is solid with the red "ball" in the middle I tried that. I haven't had the odor problem since. You have to run the machine on full cycle and ignore the red light indicator to add rinsing agent, but everything has been fine so far. It's been several months and I'm now a satisfied customer!

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I use red "ball" detergent and still get the smell in the Bosch. Using Lemi-Shine is much more effective. Bosch has a high loop built into the hose so that is not the problem. Also, since a cleaner or Lemi-Shine helps, it doesn't seem that it would be gunk buildup. I do have well water with a fair amount of minerals including calcium carbonate and I suspect the problem is caused by a reaction with the water. Kind of a fishy smell.

by tlrinker

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You'll probably think I'm crazy when I tell you this, but it's completely true. We bought a new house (new to us anyway) and it had a Bosch dishwasher in it. We were incredibly impressed with the cleaning power of the dishwasher, but like many people have commented... it started to stink, even when it was clean and didn't have dirty dishes loaded in it. I did the usual stuff, like checking the hose mounting locations and running vinegar through it. Basically, everything a rational person would do to resolve the issue. Nothing worked. Here's the part you aren't going to believe... if you want to solve the problem, after you are done taking the dishes out of the racks (after it is run & clean) WIPE ALL THE WATER OFF OF THE DOOR BEFORE CLOSING IT!!! DO NOT lift the door and let that water go back down into the dishwasher. We started doing this and the smell has been gone ever since. Crazy as it seems, it's totally true. I don't know if this will work for you like it did us, but it's definitely worth a try. Best of luck to all the fellow Bosch dishwasher owners out there. Eric.

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Also, if you are in the habit of emptying the clean dishes out of the machine as soon as it's done running, open the door and leave it open for a few minutes to let them and the inside of the dishwasher dry out from the heat that is still in the machine. It will only take a few minutes and the dishes and insides of the dishwasher will dry all by themselves.

by Al Seaver

I pull out over 8 oz of nasty water that the bottom that the repair man said is normal from my Bosch, I would have to leave the door ope forever to get that much out!

by alicemmoore

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I had the same problem with my Samsung dishwasher. The problem is the "check valve" that doesn't function properly. It's just a little rubber valve that's supposed to stop any water from coming back from the hose into the washer. Just google "samsung dishwasher check valve" and you will see the photos. I replaced mine for $15 and the smell is gone. Forever.

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After five years of wrestling with this problem, we finally hired an experienced professional with 40 years' appliance installation experience. He found that the builder's subs had not installed the dishwasher properly 6 years ago, and had not followed the manufacturer's instructions as to the location and height of the drain hoses. Debris from the disposal had been backing up into the drain hoses and rotting there. Our dishes were very clean and safe since the gunk was in the drain hoses, but the smell was horrible. We had tried so many other solutions over the years and they each helped a bit so we had thought we were done with the problem, but now I know we are. The hoses he replaced looked like clogged arteries.

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Have you tried removing the pump and cleaning. Some times food will get stuck on the propeller and sit there and rot. Search Google for a how to and you will be OK.

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had the same problem of a smell after days of none use. was using cascade pellets

switched to finish quantum by reckitt benckiser problem is gone!

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Had a real bad odour in my 1 year old Samsung dishwasher. Took apart the pump screan and found it to be clean of any food particles. I then checked under the door bottom on the inside!!!!! OMG! The amount of food residue that was trapped in there was ridiculous. What a stupid design. I cleaned this up with a solution of water,a touch of laundry soap and bleach. Armed with a small paint brush and a spray bottle full of my cleaning solution I got her done in no time. Ps,to those who think you need to wash your dishes prior to placing them in the dishwasher,get real. That is the dishwasher's job! You are simply wasting water. If you feel you need to do that then you either have a bad dishwasher,the wrong dishwasher soap or you don't know how to load a dishwasher properly!

Josh

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Under the door on the inside is a rubber gasket. Just clean that gasket with a paper towel as needed.

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If, after all the aforementioned cleaning remedies have failed and you still have the odor problem, you might want to get adventuresome and try disassembling the door. On some dishwashers, removing the screws allows removal of the front panel, while on others it's the inner panel that is removable. Be very observant as to how it comes apart so you can reassemble it properly. Upon disassembly you will most likely notice a very nasty (and smelly) collection of food residue across the inside bottom edge of the door that is impossible to remove without door disassembly, no matter how many time you wipe the inside bottom edge of the door. Scrape off what you can with whatever tool you choose, and then wipe the rest of it away with a rag and hot water and Dawn dish soap, degreaser, etc. Then, after putting everything back together correctly, run the dishwasher on a short cycle to be sure that it's correctly assembled and that there are no leaks. In the future after this, always pre-rinse the dishes (rinse, not wash) before putting them in the dishwasher. That buildup at the bottom edge of the door is caused by greases and oils, combined with food residue that congeals there because that is the coldest part of the dishwasher while it's running, and because it does not get the blast of water from the spray bars as the bottom door edge covers that area. Also, from what I'm seeing posted on here, a couple short lengths of copper tubing slipped over a couple unused tines on the upper rack will keep the odors at bay as copper naturally kills the bacteria that cause the odors in the first place.

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A lady I was speaking to, suggested I use a good brand of Mouthwash !! Add 2 capfuls to your machine and switch on !! I haven't tried it yet but she said the machine smells fresh afterwards. Worth a try I suppose.

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This is only be pertinent if you the low-end Bosch that was recommended by Consumer Reports: I followed someone's suggestion upthread about wiping down the rubber gasket at the base of the door where it closes, and sometimes the door too. I skeptically did this and saw an immediate improvement. For awhile I did it regularly, now I hardly ever remember - but the smell seems like it's just gotten much better. I do clean the filter thing as well as I'm able, but there's never anything but a tiny bit of residue on it.

Like most of you, I really thought the smell was a deal-breaker. So there's hope. At first I thought I was going to have to run the machine every day, just to reset the smell, which was not in my plans.

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Low water use dishwashers require much less soap, so put in way way less detergent and watch the concern disappear as mysteriously as it maybe appeared. Purchase and add some Borax to help remove mineral buildup and clean the screen or filter screen every single month if needed and yes, it's likely needed! You can get very sick from a dirty screen or filter in your dishwasher!!

Update (09/04/2016)

How may persons know that there are some dishwashers with an area between the plastic drum and the inner stainless steel liner on BOSCH models that have six small vent/drains, at the lower portion of the panels? As the panels flex during washing the holes breath and exhale all sorts of debris and stuff and allow for too large of a buildup of terrible things behind the rinsing abilities of the machine. Stuff and crap inbetween the two stupidly designed walls!

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The smell is from standing water in the bottom of the dishwasher in my case Bosch, I am going to try replacing the check valve and see if there is any improvement, if not 700.00 dishwasher is going to the trash!

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A Bosch and all modern, high end dishwashers do not use a heating element to dry dishes and the water would be the result of the condensation of the high temperature water used in the final rinse. Try Lemi-Shine.

by tlrinker

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I have two houses, two Bosch dishwashers, both stainless, and only one stinks if I use the normal detergent. A fishy like smell that you can smell in glasses. The only difference is the stinky one is on well water full of minerals. Running a cleaner helps for a while but I have found that using Lemi Shine detergent and or booster helps too. It would be interesting to know if folks with a unsolved stink problem are on well water or other mineral laden water. Is it possible that there is an off gassing chemical reaction between the minerals in the water and the dishwasher or the enzyme detergent?

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stefiegold will be eternally grateful.