Why Does My Dishwasher Smell Like Rotten Eggs? Tips & Tricks for Freshening Up

Ever opened your dishwasher only to be hit with a pungent smell reminiscent of rotten eggs? It’s not the most pleasant experience, but you’re not alone in facing this issue. Imagine having your sparkling dishes smelling less than fresh, leaving you puzzled and slightly grossed out.

In this article, you’ll uncover the reasons behind that foul odor wafting from your dishwasher and, more importantly, how to banish it for good. Say goodbye to the embarrassment of serving food on plates that smell less than appetizing. You deserve a clean kitchen and dishes that not only look spotless but also smell fresh. Let’s dive in and solve this stinky mystery together.

Common Causes of a Dishwasher Smelling Like Rotten Eggs

If your dishwasher is emitting a foul odor reminiscent of rotten eggs, a few common culprits could be causing this unpleasant smell. Identifying these issues early can help you address the problem effectively:

  • Clogged filters: Over time, food particles and grease can accumulate in the dishwasher’s filters, leading to bacterial growth and that unwanted smell.
  • Standing water: Water pooling in the dishwasher’s bottom can occur due to improper drainage. This stagnant water becomes a breeding ground for odor-producing bacteria.
  • Hot water heater temperature: If the hot water temperature setting in your home is too low, it might not be sufficient to dissolve detergent properly, leading to residue buildup and odor.
  • Inadequate ventilation: Insufficient airflow in and around the dishwasher can trap moisture and odors, creating an environment ripe for odor development.

To tackle the issue of your dishwasher smelling like rotten eggs, it’s essential to inspect these key areas and address any problems promptly.

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How to Properly Clean the Dishwasher to Eliminate Odors

Cleaning your dishwasher regularly is essential to prevent foul odors. Here’s how you can ensure your dishwasher stays fresh:

  • Step 1: Remove any food debris from the dishwasher drain.
  • Step 2: Check and clean the filter to remove any trapped residue.
  • Step 3: Run a wash cycle with vinegar: Place a cup of white vinegar in the top rack and run a hot water cycle.
  • Step 4: Baking soda rinse: Sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher and run a short hot water cycle.
  • Step 5: Wipe down the rubber seal around the door with a damp cloth to remove mold and grime.
  • Step 6: Air it out: Leave the dishwasher door open after each use to prevent moisture buildup.

Diligent cleaning routines like these can help maintain a fresh-smelling dishwasher and eliminate any unpleasant odors.

Using Natural Remedies to Get Rid of the Smell

If your dishwasher odor resembles rotten eggs, there are natural remedies you can use to eliminate the unpleasant smell. Here are some effective natural solutions:

  • Vinegar and Baking Soda: Create a mixture of vinegar and baking soda, then run a wash cycle to deodorize the dishwasher.
  • Lemon Juice: Place a cup of lemon juice on the top rack and run a hot water cycle to freshen up the dishwasher.
  • Essential Oils: Add a few drops of essential oils, such as lemon or tea tree oil, to a wash cycle for a refreshing scent.

Regularly using these natural remedies can help combat foul odors and keep your dishwasher smelling fresh.

Preventing Future Odors in the Dishwasher

Maintaining a fresh-smelling dishwasher is crucial to avoid unpleasant surprises like that rotten egg smell. Here’s how you can prevent future odors in your dishwasher:

  • Regular Cleaning Routine: Make it a habit to clean your dishwasher at least once a month to keep it smelling fresh.
  • Use Vinegar: Place a cup of white vinegar on the top rack of an empty dishwasher and run a hot water cycle. This helps clean out any lingering odors.
  • Baking Soda: Sprinkle baking soda at the bottom of the dishwasher and run a short wash cycle. It helps absorb odors effectively.
  • Scrape Off Food: Pre-rinse your dishes before loading them into the dishwasher to prevent food particles from accumulating and causing odors.
  • Clean the Filter: Don’t forget to clean the filter regularly to ensure proper drainage and prevent food buildup.

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Fact Value
Odor Prevention Methods Vinegar, Baking Soda, Regular Cleaning
Recommended Cleaning Frequency At least once a month
Prevention Tip Pre-rinse dishes to remove food particles

By following these simple steps, you can say goodbye to unpleasant odors in your dishwasher and enjoy the benefits of a fresh-smelling kitchen every time you run a cycle.

Testing for Residual Smells After Cleaning

Now that you’ve taken steps to cleanse your dishwasher and tackle the rotten egg smell, it’s essential to ensure that the offensive odor is truly gone. Follow these tips to test for any lingering scents:

  • Post-cleaning Smell Check: Run a quick rinse cycle with no dishes. Sniff around near the door and inside the dishwasher to see if the foul odor persists.
  • Check Dishware: Place a clean glass inside the dishwasher and run a full cycle. Afterward, give it a whiff to see if any lingering scent transfers onto the glass.
  • Utilize Baking Soda: Leave an open container of baking soda on the top rack of your dishwasher and run a hot, empty cycle to absorb any remaining odors.
  • Verify Filter: Double-check the filter and drain to ensure they are free of any trapped food particles, which could contribute to unwanted smells.

Practical Tip:

For a more thorough inspection, you can also consult your dishwasher’s manual for specific guidance on eliminating odors and ensuring optimal performance.

Remember, a fresh-smelling dishwasher not only enhances your kitchen environment but also ensures that your dishes come out clean and odor-free after every wash cycle.


Now that you’ve learned how to tackle that unpleasant rotten egg smell in your dishwasher, you can say goodbye to unwanted odors. By following a few simple steps like establishing a cleaning routine, using natural cleaning agents like vinegar and baking soda, and checking for trapped food particles, you can keep your dishwasher smelling fresh. Remember to run a rinse cycle, inspect dishware for lingering scents, and consult your dishwasher’s manual for specific guidance. With these tips in mind, you’ll not only maintain a pleasant kitchen environment but also ensure that your dishes come out clean and odor-free every time. Happy dishwashing!

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Frequently Asked Questions

How can I prevent my dishwasher from smelling like rotten eggs?

To prevent your dishwasher from smelling like rotten eggs, establish a regular cleaning routine, use vinegar and baking soda to neutralize odors, pre-rinse dishes before loading, and clean the filter regularly.

What should I do if my dishwasher still smells bad after cleaning?

If your dishwasher still smells bad after cleaning, run a rinse cycle with baking soda, check dishware for lingering smells, use baking soda to absorb remaining odors, and inspect the filter and drain for trapped food particles.

How can I ensure my dishwasher is odor-free in the long run?

To ensure your dishwasher is odor-free in the long run, consult the manual for specific maintenance guidance, conduct thorough inspections periodically, and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for optimal performance and odor elimination.

Charlie Thomson is Appliance Mastery's expert on laundry appliances. With a degree in mechanical engineering and over 8 years of experience in the appliance repair industry, Charlie is a go-to resource for homeowners who want to tackle common issues with their washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers.

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