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Why Does My Dishwasher Smell?

If you get a sewer smell when you are using the dishwasher on a kitchen sink, it often means that the dishwasher filters needs to be cleaned or there is a blockage in the vent or the drain of the pipes inside the wall. Bad odors within dishwashers is a common occurrence and can develop overtime through regular use. It is usually caused due to buildup of food particles in the dishwashers filter, in it's vents or in the drain pipe. Checking these three areas will narrow down where the bad smell is coming from. Typically, the filter is the place to check first and as dishwasher filters are easy to remove. Checking vents and drain pipes require a bit more knowledge and best inspected by a professional.

How to Fix Dishwasher Smells Caused by Dirty Filter

Most dishwashers have a drain filter which prevents food particles from reaching the drain pipe and resulting in a blockage. Food particles can begin to buildup in the filter, and over time, begin to emit a bad odor. This is the most common cause of bad dishwasher smells.

Follow these steps when cleaning your dishwasher filter:

  1. Remove the drain filter from bottom of the dishwasher.
  2. Wash the filter in your kitchen sink using soap and warm to hot water. If you have one, use a bristled cleaning brush so that you can reach all surfaces.
  3. Check the drain and remove any food particles. Using a sponge to clean this area is recommended.
  4. Reinstert the filter and run the dishwasher. After it's done running check to see if the odor is still present. It may take one or two cycles to clear the odor.

While you're cleaning the filter, we also recommend cleaning the door of the dishwasher as well. Food particles tend to build up in this area as well.

Dishwasher Smells Caused by Blockage

If you have a clogged vent on the roof, then the back-pressure that is created when you try to put water into the pipe, will slow the water down and it will begin to clog the pipe. In order for water to enter a pipe, it has to have an open vent on the roof of the house. This is a pipe that is attached to the drains, but instead of running down to the city, runs up to the roof. Since both water and air take up volume in the pipe, in order to put the water into the pipe, you have to push the air aside. The vent redirects the pressure up to the roof at the same speed the water is flowing. So if either the drain or the vent are clogged, then there is no place for the water to go without first forcing the air back into the room, which is combined with sewer gas. This is another culprit for bad dishwasher smells and is best handled by a professional plumber.

Still Have Bad Dishwasher Smells?

If you've cleaned the filter and your still having bad dishwasher smells then you may have an issue with your vent or drain pipe. Give the professionals plumbers at Roto-Rooter a call and we will help you with all your plumbing needs.