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Why Does My Dishwasher Smell Bad—Like a Wet Dog?

If you have a dog for a pet, you know how bad he or she can smell on a hot summer day after getting wet from a rain shower or playing in a pool. For a variety of reasons, your dishwasher can have that same wet dog smell.

While the odor isn’t a health risk, because everything was cleaned with detergents at high temperatures, the wet dog smell may stop you from wanting to use your dishes. Luckily there are many ways of eliminating this lingering odor.

Person Unloading Bad Smelling Dishwasher

Why Does My Dishwasher Smell Like Wet Dog?

The most common reason a dishwasher smells bad is a dirty filter. The filter collects decaying food particles when they’re too big to go down the drain. Since it has to go somewhere, it stays inside the dishwasher with moisture and humidity.

How to Get Rid of Bad Dishwasher Odor

Getting rid of bad smells is just as easy as shampooing your dog, with these useful tips and suggestions:

  • Clean the dishwasher’s filter. Most modern dishwashers have a removable filter in the base of the unit. Pull out the bottom rack, and you should see it under the lower sprayer arms.
  • Clean the dishwasher’s screens. The screens on the bottom of the dishwasher may be removable, like the filter, for easy cleaning. If not, use a wet sponge and wipe gently, making sure to not push things into the screen holes. If the screens are non-removable, you can use a toothpick to remove any food particles trapped in the holes.
  • Clean the sprayer arms. Wipe down the sprayer arms and verify the spray holes are not obstructed with food. If they are, use a toothpick to carefully pull it out—not push it in.
  • Wipe and clean around the door seals and lip. Food particles, grease, and grime can build up around the door lip and seals. It is a good idea to wipe them down every few wash cycles to prevent smells.
  • Use an approved dishwasher cleaner once a month. Even with regular cleaning of your dishwasher, you will want to give your dishwasher a bath, just like you do your dog. The easiest way to do this is with a dishwasher cleaner. Dishwasher cleaners help remove bacteria, mold, mildew, and other smells. Most cleaners are easy to use and require running a normal wash cycle.
  • Leave the dishwasher door slightly ajar in between cycles. There will be a small amount of water left in the bottom of the dishwasher at the end of each cycle. By leaving the door slightly open, it will allow this water to evaporate, preventing mold, mildew, and stinky smells.

Even with Regular Dishwasher Care, It Still Smells—Now What?

Sometimes, the cause of dishwasher odors is not from the dishwasher but related to your other connected plumbing. For instance, if the plumbing lines are dirty or have grease, hair, or food trapped inside, the smells could make their way up the dishwasher drain and into the dishwasher.

If you also have a bad habit of pouring hot grease down your drains or using your garbage disposal frequently without cleaning it, you could be creating undesirable odors and stinky smells inside your dishwasher.

If you still notice smells coming from your dishwasher, even though you clean it regularly, then it is time to schedule plumbing repair service with an experienced plumber from MET Plumbing & Air Conditioning. Give us a call at 281-599-3336 or contact us online today!

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