Clean Dishwasher

How to Clean a Smelly Dishwasher

Cleaning a Smelly Dishwasher

The dishwasher is a great resource to clean dishes in your home. A few of us may recall our mother’s claiming that our hands were the original dishwashers. Nowadays,  in most homes having a dishwasher is standard. Although dishwashers are pleasant and help to make household tasks more simple, they do carry an unpleasant smell every now and then. When the dishwasher has an unpleasant smell, getting rid of the smell isn’t always as simple and easy as it should be. An unpleasant smell of a dishwasher can be an embarrassment, and can even make you reconsider washing dishes until the issue has been resolved. 

Neat N Tidy cleaning professionals have some tips to share with you to help rid the dishwasher of this smelly odor. 

Why is my Dishwasher Smelly?

It may be difficult to believe that a device designed to clean your home, results in a dirty and smelly mess. Similarly, bathtubs and sinks are made to help along with the cleaning process, however; they do build scrum and other sorts of dirt. Even with hot water and rinsing, food particles and grease are stuck in the dishwasher after the rinsing cycle completes. 

Food particles build up in the following areas in a dishwasher: 

  • The bottom of the dishwasher
  • The filter
  • The spray arm port

The frequency of cleaning these areas depends on the usage per day and week. 

Another factor to consider the model of the dishwasher you currently have. Certain dish models have more than three spray ports, instead of one ( standard), which results in a more thorough clean during the washing cycle. If there is more than one spray port, with grime build you will have to clean those areas as well.

Neat N Tidy cleaning professionals suggest to properly clean the inside of the dishwasher at least once per week.


How to Clean the Filter, Spray Ports or Arm and Door lip

If there has been a lingering smell in the dishwasher over an extended period of time, the may be food build up in the dishwasher. Cleaning the filter, door lip and spray arm may be a gross process initially, however; after you understand the process, this process will be simple to upkeep. 


Clean the Drain Filter

Dishwashers will have two different types of filters: self-cleaning or manual. If you have a self-cleaning filter, you should not have many issues with build up. For a manual filter, there may be food and grease build up over time. If you are unsure whether you have a manual or self-cleaning filter, please reference your owner’s manual. 

Time to Clean the Manual Filter:

  • Remove the cylindrical filter 
  • Prepare soapy water with a dish detergent in the kitchen sink
  • Let the filter soak for 5-10 minutes
  • Utilizing a baby bottle brush, wash the filter and scrub in the hard to reach areas
  • Rinse thoroughly and allow proper time to dry
  •  Utilize a sponge or damp microfiber cloth to food buildup or debris from bottom of dishwasher
  • Press and lock in the filter in the proper place in the dishwasher

Normally this process will completely eliminate the odor issues in your dishwasher. Once the filter is replaced, you are fine to continue using the dishwasher. 

Just remember that with manual filters, you will have to consistently clean to prevent excessive debris or food build up over time. Neat N Tidy cleaning professionals suggest to schedule this sort of clean at least once per week. 

Clean Spray Arms and Ports:

Most dishwashers have one spray port. If you have a model such as a Miele Inc dishwasher, then this high-end dishwasher will have two or three spray ports. Food particles and debris can clog the spray ports, which prevent the dishwasher from having maximum effectiveness. 

Neat N Tidy cleaning professionals suggest the following process to clean the spray ports. 

  • Remove the spray ports from the dishwasher (upper and lower, if applicable)
  • Prepare the kitchen sink with soapy water solution
  • Soak the spray arms in the soapy water
  • Check the spray ports and remove food particles with tweezers or toothpick
  • After spray arms have proper dry time, replace spray arms 


Clean Bottom Lip Behind the Door

One common place to overlook build up debris or food particles is the bottom lip behind the door of the dishwasher. This cleaning process may seem very thorough, however once it is done you will be able to resume normally to your dishwashing cleans without unpleasant order. Your kitchen area will smell so pleasant and your dishwasher will be very neat and clean afterwards.

Neat N Tidy Cleaning Professionals Suggest Using the Following Process for Bottom Lip Cleaning:

  • Open Dishwasher door and prepare soapy microfiber cleaning cloth
  • Scrub any food particles, gunk or debris that are inside the lip door or basin
  • Clean the bottom floor of the dishwasher

Use Vinegar and Lemon Essential Oil to Clean the Dishwasher

After you have cleaned the drain filter, spray port and the bottom lip of the dishwasher, you may move forward with using your dishwasher. Your dishwasher should smell fresh and look neat and clean. The processes explained above with help to remove odor from and return your dishwasher to freshness. 

Throughout the week, you may encounter different smells related to certain food used in cooking. Onions and garlic are often pungent and may have your dishwasher begin to smell. To neutralize these smells a cleaning method that is simple and easy will help you to maintain overall cleanliness of your dishwasher. 

First, you will need to use basic cleaning supplies to neutralize your dishwasher: vinegar and lemon essential oil. Lemon essential oil and vinegar combined are safe and natural and remove dirt and grime. 

Supplies Needed: 

  • Distilled Cleaning Vinegar
  • Lemon essential oil 
  • Microfiber cloth
  • A bowl of water 
  • An old toothbrush


Follow these steps to neutralize your dishwasher: 

  • Remove lower rack of dishwasher 
  • Utilize an old toothbrush and soapy water to clean around the crevices of the dishwasher door and seals
  • Remove grime and dirt with clean microfiber cloth
  • Pour a minimum of 1.5-2 cups of distilled vinegar and into a dish-washer safe container
  • Add 6-10 drops of lemon essential oil to the distilled vinegar
  • Place container on top rack of dishwasher 
  • Close the dishwasher and run the dishwasher for a full cycle time on the highest heat. 
  • Open your dishwasher once the welcome how clean and fresh it looks and smells 


Caution: Beware of Mixing Bleach and Vinegar

Vinegar and bleach are both effective cleaning agents, however; do not mix both because they create a toxic gas. Neat N Tidy cleaning professionals do not suggest using bleach in your dishwasher. If you have utilized bleach in your dishwasher, please clean thoroughly with a dish detergent prior to cleaning with vinegar. 


New Knowledge Form New Experiences| No More Smelly Dishwasher

Eliminate the smelly dishwasher issue with consistent cleanings. If you utilize the dishwasher daily (or several times per day) check the filter (if manual) at least once weekly for food build up or gunk. Neat N Tidy cleaning professionals advise to check the spray ports and door lip at least once per month or every other month. Utilize the lemon essential oil and vinegar recipe for quick fixes such as neutralizing odor in your dishwasher. 

Just as the dishwasher has revolutionized the process of dishwashing by making the process quicker and more efficient. Similarly, Neat N Tidy can save you time with a professional house cleaning services in your area. Get your time back; reach out today and receive a hassle-free quote. 


Neat N Tidy 

“Cleaning Made Easy”

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