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Dishes Smell After Dishwasher: Reasons & How to Fix?

A smelly dishwasher is one of the irritating and worse things you experience in the kitchen. Generally, a smelly dishwasher is the main reason for dishes’ smell after dishwasher. But determining the smelling cause might be a little tricky.

You might be confused about why your dishes smell after the dishwasher. You might want to know the reasons behind the foul odor of your dishes.

Moreover, learning about problem-solving techniques is also essential. Besides, odors can be of different types. So, knowing about different smells and fixing methods are necessary.

Dishes smell after dishwasher

Your dishes might smell after the dishwasher cycle when the dishwasher is dirty. When dirt and food particles are clogged in the dishwasher’s interior, it might create a smell. Moreover, damaged drain hose, overloading dishes, faulty water filtering system, leakage, etc., can also be responsible.

However, smelling the dishes after a dishwasher cycle is not a dangerous problem. Sometimes, it can be solved with some simple steps. But to solve the smelling problem, you have to know the reasons behind it.

Moreover, the smell can be different types. You can identify the smelling type; each smell can indicate a different problem. So, let’s see about the different odors of dishes and the issues behind them.

Dishes smell like eggs:

Sometimes, the dishes might smell like eggs after a dishwasher cycle. The smell of eggs is also the same as sulfur. Let’s see the corresponding reasons behind it. Moreover, the solution for the associated problem is also provided.

Clogged garbage disposal hose:

When the garbage disposal hose is clogged, it can create an egg smell inside the dishwasher. The hose can be blocked with dirt or food particles.


You have to disconnect the dishwasher and see the disposal hose. After getting the garbage disposal hose, you can clean the hose with water. If the dirt or food particles don’t go away, you have to use something inside the hose so that the particles can come out of the hose.

Clogged door gasket:

Sometimes, the door gasket can be clogged and create a foul odor. Generally, a door gasket is a black rubber seal. This seal can keep the dishwasher door sealed during the cycle. Sometimes, dirt and food particles can stick to the door gasket and create the smell of egg.


Cleaning the door gasket is the way to solve the problem. Removing the door gasket might not always be possible, so you can keep the gasket clean always. To do this, you can wipe the gasket with warm water after every wash.

A clogged or damaged filter:

When the drain filter of the dishwasher becomes clogged or damaged, it can cause swelling of the dishwasher like eggs. Generally, a clogged filter will not pass the dirty water thoroughly. So, the food particles will stay inside the dishwasher.


To solve this problem, you need to clean the filter manually. But if the filter is damaged, you must replace it with a new one.

Dishes smell like soap

You might see that your dishes smell like soap sometimes after a dishwasher cycle. Let’s see the reasons and solutions to this problem.

Dirty filter:

Generally, the dishwasher filter is manually attached to the machine and must be cleaned regularly. After some cycles of the dishwasher, the filter becomes dirty. If you don’t clean the filter regularly, it can cause the dishwasher and the dishes to smell like soap.


You must keep the dishwasher filter clean. For cleaning the filter, you can use a brush and dishwashing soap. Then clean with sufficient water flow. You must keep the filter clean regularly after some cycles.

Hard water:

When you use hard water in the dishwasher, it will not work well with the dishwashing soap. So, the cleaning process will not be effective.

The dishwashing soap will also not work correctly. So, the residual soap and smell of the soap will remain on the dishes after the dishwasher cycle.


You have to avoid using hard water in the dishwasher. Moreover, you can also use a water softener on the dishwater to make the water soft.

Using inappropriate soap:

Sometimes, you might use inappropriate or random soaps in the dishwasher. Even some people use laundry detergent in the dishwasher. But random soaps will not clean the dishes well. Moreover, the smell of the soap will remain on the dishes.


The only solution to this problem is to use appropriate dishwashing soap. Moreover, you can check the dishwashing soap container while buying it. Then you will learn about the ingredients and operating techniques.

Dishes smell like fishy:

A fishy smell in the dishes after a dishwasher cycle is not familiar. But some reasons might be responsible for this. Let’s see the causes and solutions to this problem.

Food particles in the filter:

A common reason for smelling dishes like fish is a clogged filter. Generally, food particles are clogged in the filter over time. So, it can create a fishy smell inside the dishwasher and spread the smell to the plates and glasses.


The immediate solution to this problem is to keep the filter clean. You can manually clean the filter. But if the filter can’t be cleaned, you can replace the filter.

Dishes smell like mildew

When a mildew smell is present in the dishes after the dishwasher cycle, there might be a problem with the dishwasher. Let’s see the reasons and solutions for this problem.

Bacteria build-up:

If there is bacteria build-up inside the dishwasher, it can cause a mildew smell in the dishes. This problem can be unhygienic. When the dishwasher parts are not cleaned for a long time, bacteria can build up inside the dishwasher.


The primary solution is to clean the dishwasher and its parts thoroughly. You can run an empty cycle in the dishwasher with vinegar and baking soda.

Vinegar and baking soda will remove the bacteria build-up and the smell. To prevent this unhygienic problem, you must keep the dishwasher clean always.

Can I put vinegar in my dishwasher to eliminate dish smells in the dishwasher?

Yes, you can put vinegar in your dishwasher to eliminate the dish smell in the dishwasher. Even vinegar is a perfect cleaning solution for the dishwasher. Using vinegar in the dishwasher will clean the dirt, food particles, build-ups, etc.

Moreover, vinegar will also remove foul odor. Besides, vinegar will create a pleasant smell that will neutralize the food particle smell. But while using vinegar, you can dilute the vinegar with water.

If you want to make the actions of vinegar strong, you can also use baking soda with vinegar. You can also mix these ingredients to eliminate the dish smell. You have to take a cup of vinegar and a cup of vinegar. Then mix the ingredients together.

Now you can run an empty cycle without any dishes in the dishwasher. This will remove all the foul odors from the dishwasher.

Moreover, it will prevent smelling the plates and glasses after the dishwasher cycle. So, you can use vinegar in the dishwasher for effective cleaning and odor-removing purposes.

How do you fix smelly dishes?

Now that you know you can eliminate the smell from the dishwasher, you might want to remove the smell from the dishes. The dishwasher might be clean, but the smell might still be present on the dishes. So, let’s see how you can fix smelly dishes.

Using bleach:

First, you can use bleach to clean the dishes to remove bacteria build-ups from the dishes. 

You have to sprinkle some bleach powder on the dishes and clean them thoroughly. Then you can also wash the dishes with dishwashing soap to smell the dishes fresh.

Using vinegar:

If the first step doesn’t remove the smell, you can also use vinegar to remove the smell from the dishes. You can add two cups of white vinegar to a bucket of water. Then you have to submerge the dishes into the bucket.

Keep them in the vinegar water for at least half an hour. Then you have to scrub the dishes with sponges or clothes. The dishes will be free from the foul odor.

Using lemon:

Finally, you can use lemon juice while cleaning the dishes. You can add one tablespoon of lemon juice to a bucket of water. Then keep the dishes in the water for half an hour. Then clean the dishes well, and the smell will go away.

Final Thoughts

Dishes can smell bad after a dishwasher cycle for various reasons. The smell might be different. But some common reasons are clogged filters or hose in the dishwasher. Moreover, clogged food particles in the door gasket or inside the dishwasher can cause a foul odor in the dishwasher.