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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 they can smell when they get wet on a hot summer day. Unfortunately, your dishwasher can have that same wet dog smell for several reasons. 

Now, that odor isn’t a health risk, so your home is safe. Everything in the dishwasher gets cleaned with detergents at high temperatures. However, that wet dog smell does not make you want to use those dishes. 

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to get rid of this lingering odor. First, let’s look at the causes.

Why Does My Dishwasher Smell Like Wet Dog?

Dirty filters are the most common reason a dishwasher smells bad. Your filter collects food particles that don’t fit down the drain, and they start to decay. It has to go somewhere, right? So, it sits inside the dishwasher with all that extra moisture and humidity.

How to Get Rid of Bad Dishwasher Odor

Getting rid of that wet dog smell is as easy as shampooing your dog. Check out these helpful tips and suggestions: 

  • Clean the dishwasher filter. Most modern dishwashers have a removable filter. You should see it after you pull out the bottom rack. 
  • Clean the dishwasher screens. The screens on the bottom of the dishwasher may also be removable for easy cleaning. If not, use a wet sponge to gently wipe down the screen. Be sure not to push anything through the screen holes. If the screen isn’t removable, use a toothpick to remove food particles stuck in the holes. 
  • Clean the sprayer arms. Wipe down the sprayer arms and make sure there’s no food blocking the spray holes. If there is, carefully use a toothpick to pull the food out (making sure not to push anything in).
  • Wipe and clean 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 cleanings, an occasional bath can help you get rid of that wet dog smell. 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 ajar between cycles. Dishwashers don’t drain completely, leaving a small amount of water at the bottom after each cycle. Leaving the door slightly open allows the 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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