Dishwashers are supposed to make your life easier by cleaning and sanitizing all of your used dishes, silverware and other kitchen utensils for you. Most of the time, you’ll never have a problem with your dishwasher, as it does exactly what it’s intended for. However, it’s not uncommon for an unpleasant odor to start developing. It may only be a slight mildewy smell at first, but it can quickly turn into a downright pungent odor if left untreated, which can leave you without the use of a dishwasher. Here we’ll take a closer look at what causes odors to develop in dishwashers and how you can fix them.
Check The Strainer
If you notice a small developing inside your dishwasher, the first thing you should do is check the strainer. You see, all dishwashers have a screen strainer at the bottom that’s used to catch large food particles from entering the drain line. Without this strainer, there’s a good chance your drain line would get backed up with food particles and debris removed from the dishes during the wash. Open up your dishwasher and look at the very bottom of it beneath the racks. You should see a plastic circular piece, which is the strainer. If there’s food stuck on it, take a paper towel, wipe it off and throw it away. Allowing food to sit on the strainer for days or even weeks can produce some rather unpleasant odors.
Cleaning Your Dishwasher
After checking the strainer for food particles, your next course of action should be to give your dishwasher a good cleaning. You can do this is one of many different ways, but I recommend removing the racks and filling the detergent holder up with vinegar instead of soap. Many people are surprised to hear that vinegar can be used to remove smells. Even though it’s rather smelly on it’s own, the high acidity content of vinegar is able to eat away at odors and odor-causing bacteria. After filling the dishwasher up with vinegar, run it two times on a high-heat cycle.
If wash cycles using vinegar doesn’t do the trick, you may need to put a little bit of elbow grease into the cleaning process. Open up your dishwasher and use a mixture of vinegar of baking soda. As you may already know, combining these two ingredients produces a foamy substance. Get a little bit of it on a scrub brush and you’ve got yourself the perfect cleaning ingredient.