Dishwasher

Repair and disassembly guides and support for dish washing appliances.

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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 these tips 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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This sounds to me like the drain hose is incorrectly connected to the drain and kitchen sink waste-water is backing up into the dishwasher.

The dishwasher drain hose sits lower than the 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

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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

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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

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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 backflowcontamination 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

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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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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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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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stefiegold will be eternally grateful.

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