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Dishwasher Smell Like Wet Dog: Reasons & How to Fix?

Dishwashers are a legendary invention of modern technology. They make life a lot easier. Doing dishes can be very hectic especially, after a long day of work.

Manually doing the dishes takes away the last bit of essence from your long tiring day. To get rid of this monotonous task, the invention of dishwashers played a major role.

However, you will often find your dishwasher stink badly. There can be multiple reasons for that. If you want your dishwasher to co-operate with your hygiene needs, there are a few things that you need to maintain.

Most dishwasher users are swamped by the question of why their dishwasher smells like a wet dog. If you have the same problem and are looking for solutions to fix it, you are at the right place.

Why does dishwasher smell like wet dog?

Dishwashers might end up smelling like wet dogs due to the presence of mildly contaminated water which generates bacteria inside the dishwasher. When the residual bacteria dry the smell is activated inside the dishwasher. This can be caused due to the remaining leftover food from the dishes. 

There are multiple reasons why dishwashers end up smelling like wet dogs. This odor also affects the glasses and plates willing to get cleaned inside the washer but instead is coming with a bad odor.

Dishwashers usually work by the inbuilt heater that warms the water to the appropriate temperature for the program you’ve chosen. The timer causes the detergent to be discharged into the appliance.

The spinning arms around the dishwasher spray hot water and detergent to remove dirt and debris. The contaminated water is drained out.

However, some of the contaminated water is left inside the dishwasher and also the remaining leftover food. This produces bacteria that dry out to produce a peculiar smell like a wet dog.

Dishwasher glasses

Your glasses may occasionally smell like fish or a wet dog after being cleaned in the dishwasher. It’s awful enough to smell anything unpleasant when you’re already thirsty. It might be humiliating if visitors pick up on that odor.

Below given is the detailed solution to the problems that glasses face due to the wet dog-smelling dishwasher.

Contaminated water:

Life became a lot easier because we could simply wash the glasses using a dishwasher. However, if your dishwasher has contaminated water left inside it, chances are there that your glasses will come smelling the same.

Solution: This can be fixed to some extent by letting the contaminated water out after every wash. This way your glasses will not smell like wet dogs because of the contaminated water.

Leftover food:

If you have rinsed other bowls and plates containing food items before the glasses, then the remaining of the leftover food will stay inside the dishwasher causing it to smell like a wet dog.

For this reason, your glasses will wind up with the same smell.

Solution: This problem can be solved by cleaning the dishwasher with vinegar and bleach. The oxidizing property of bleach will help clean the insides of the dishwasher while terminating the dried-up bacteria from the leftover food.

Shape of glasses:

Since glasses have a bent shape, the odor along with some leftovers resides inside the glasses for a long time. It also becomes cloudy sometimes.

Solution: This can be fixed by washing the glasses with old water before putting them inside the dishwasher.

Even if it increases the effort to some extent, it reduces the chances of your glasses smelling like a wet dog because of the dishwasher.

Because of the dishwasher, you should not change the aesthetics of your house by picking regular shaped glasses. You can go for the fancy ones as long as you make sure to clean your dishwasher properly.

Dishwasher plates

Eating healthy is very important but good hygiene is important to the same extent. No matter how delicious your food is, if your plate has a faint wet dog smell then you can be disappointed by the lack of complements for your cooking.

Below given is the detailed solution to the problems that plates face due to the wet dog-smelling dishwasher.

Adhered particles:

The particles adhered to on the surface of the plates are left behind in the washer while it gets cleaned.

The particles give birth to bacteria which when dries out produce the wet dog smell.

Solution: This can be solved by washing the plates with cold water to get rid of the small bits of leftover food.

After that, you can enter it into the dishwasher to have a fresh and clean finish. It can be a bit troublesome however it will save you from a lot of embarrassment.


Sometimes the type of detergent you use leaves a faint smell on the plates which when combined with the contaminated water produces the wet dog smell.

Bacteria are trapped between the surface of the plates and the haze of the layer left by a rinse agent. Increasing the temperature of the dishwasher makes the problem even worse.

Since manufacturers don’t reveal all of the elements they employ, giving up detergents that contain sheeting or drying agents to keep dishes spot-free isn’t an option.

Solution: You may reduce odors on your plates by first removing any accumulation and then by preventing new buildup from appearing.

This can be done by using distilled vinegar. The vinegary water will dissolve the haze and get rid of the wet dog smell all at once.

Is dishwasher smelling like wet dog common?

It is very common to have some of the dishwashers smell like wet dogs because of the way you operate them.

The lingering dried-up bacteria from the leftover food is capable of producing this smell in all brands of a dishwasher.

Few brands of dishwashers are explained in detail in terms of the wet dog smell to help you understand how frequently this occurs.

Bosch dishwasher:

Bosch dishwasher does smell like a wet dog if not cleaned properly. Cleaning the filter is one of the most crucial cleaning procedures to perform if your Bosch dishwasher smells terrible.

Every two to three months, the filter should be cleaned. This guarantees the effectiveness of your Bosch dishwasher and avoids odors.

Whirlpool dishwasher:

Food residue and the warm, damp climate of the dishwasher provide the ideal habitat for mold and mildew to grow and produce foul odors in your whirlpool dishwasher.

Kitchenaid dishwasher:

Kitchenaid also have this fowl wet dog smell for the same reasons as Bosch and whirlpool dishwashers.

LG dishwasher:

This problem in also common in LG dishwasher.

Cleaning the dishwashers with white distilled vinegar helps get rid of the wet dog smell and it needs to be done frequently.

How to keep the dishwasher from smelling between washes?

Dishwashers smelling bad can cause tremendous problems. This issue can be easily fixed by following some steps to get rid of the dried-up bacteria from the leftover food and contaminated water.

Rinsing the glassware:

The very first step would be rinsing the glasses and plates with cold water before putting them inside the dishwasher.

This prevents the leftover food bacteria from forming inside the dishwasher in the first place keeping the wet dog and rotten fish smell away.

Using vinegar and bleach:

The next step would be using effective cleaning methods. You are entitled to wash your dishwasher with vinegar and bleach frequently to keep it clean and free of odor.

Run a cleaning cycle while adding some white distilled vinegar to the appliance to get rid of any bacteria and remaining smell.

While doing the dishes, add a little bleach to the tub beneath the dish rack, shut the dishwasher, and wait an hour before removing the dishes.

Removing the filter:

The last step would be making sure to change the filter frequently. Remove and lay aside the bottom rack. The filter is located at the dishwasher’s base.

Remove the mesh screen and filter by twisting them apart. With warm, soapy water, wash the filter by hand. Ensure that all food and garbage are taken out. Change the filter.

Dry them completely by hand after giving them a cold water rinse.

Final thoughts

To sum up, the wet dog smell is very common in dishwashers which occurs due to the dried-up bacteria from the leftover food and contaminated water left after the rinse. No matter what the brand is, you need to properly clean the dishwasher with vinegar and bleach to get rid of the wet dog smell.