In this article we will learn how to clean a smelly dishwasher. You would think that a dishwasher would manage to stay clean and smell free on its own considering it is constantly being cleaned with hot water and detergent but unfortunately that isn’t the case. Food waste builds up in the filter of the dishwasher over time. If the buildup isn’t too heavy it can break down but more often than not it builds up and must be cleaned out. Continue reading to learn how to keep your dishwasher smelling fresh.
Clean Your Dishwasher Filter
The most likely culprit that is causing the foul odor coming from your dishwasher is almost certainly coming from the filter or the area near the filter. If there are any large amounts of buildup around the filters you’ll want to clear that away first. You will want to grab a rag or paper towel to wipe out the large bits. Once they’re cleaned out you’ll need to pull out the filter or filters depending on your specific dishwasher. When you have the filter out you’ll need to clean it throughly with soap and water. After the filter has been thoroughly cleaned, place it back into the dishwasher making sure it is properly locked into position.
Throughly Clean Inside
To clean the inside of your dishwasher pour some vinegar into the bottom of it. Set the dishwasher to its hottest setting and run. The vinegar is acidic and will help to properly clean the insides and attack the bacteria that has been feeding on the food particles that were stuck in the filter and bottom of the dishwasher.
Scrub The Racks And Baskets
The most effective way to clean the racks and baskets of your dishwasher is to scrub them with a 50 percent water to vinegar mixture and scrub it with a brush. A toothbrush can be extremely helpful for getting into difficult to reach spots which racks and baskets will most certainly have. You may want to soak the smaller baskets or bins in the water and vinegar solution to allow the vinegar to work its magic more thoroughly.
Clean The Dishwasher Door Seal
The second most likely location that can be a source of unpleasant smells is the seal around your dishwasher door. It’s possible that bits of food can collect around the bottom of the dishwasher door. The seal expands and contracts when the door opens and closes and may hide bits of debris. Clean around this area thoroughly with the 50 percent water and vinegar solution. Check for any discolored areas and scrub them thoroughly. Discolored areas could be food buildup or it could be mold that has found a safe place in the seal that doesn’t get too hot to kill it. Be sure to thoroughly clean all the seal crevices.
Make A Second Pass On The Inside
We already thoroughly cleaned the inside by putting some vinegar in the bottom and running it but we need to spend another minute touching up the difficult to reach places that may not have been thoroughly taken care of by simply running the dishwasher. Spray down the interior with vinegar and wipe it clean. If there are any spots with some particularly difficult to remove buildup you can use some baking soda and water to make a paste and use it to scrub with a brush.
Dealing With Mold
If you found any mold during the cleaning process you’ll need to specifically deal with that. Pour a cup of bleach into the bottom of your dishwasher and run it again. This should adequately handle the majority of the mold issues. If your dishwasher is stainless steel on the inside then you’ll definitely NOT want to use any bleach. Bleach will damage stainless steel. You’ll need to address mold or mildew problems in a stainless steel dishwasher manually with a brush and vinegar.
Dealing With Rust
The best method for removing rust stains from the interior of your dishwasher is to purchase a product specifically for dealing with rust stains. Home Depot, Lowes, Menards, or similar stores should have something available that will do the trick. Place a little in the bottom of your dishwasher or in the detergent reservoir and run it. That should remove the stains. Alternatively you can address any of the problem spots manually. Be sure to follow the manufacturers instructions.
Clean The Outside
This is the final touch. Give the outside a good cleaning with the most appropriate clean depending on the material on the outside. A good stainless steel cleaner for stainless steel or some soap and water if it’s simply painted metal.
Cleaning a Smelly Dishwasher
The basics involved with how to clean a smelly dishwasher are not terribly complicated. Occasionally you’ll want to really give your dishwasher a thorough cleaning to keep it in tip top shape and that means a bit more work. If you can occasionally perform all these steps you’ll never need to worry about smelling a stinky dishwasher again. At a minimum you’ll want to keep your filters rinsed occasionally to prevent buildup of left over food particles that can decompose and foul your kitchen.