How to Get Rid of the Mildewy Stink in Your Dishwasher

I’m always surprised when my dishwasher takes on a strange, smelly odor. With all that hot water and soap swirling around in there, you would think that mold and mildew wouldn’t be able to grow. Unfortunately, certain types of mold do just fine in hot, humid environments. If your dishwasher starts to smell moldy like mine did recently, here’s how to get rid of the smell.

Clean it out first. Occasionally, funny odors will come from food that’s been trapped in the bottom of the dishwasher. To reach these particles, remove the lower wire shelf and reach in back of the machine behind and around the mesh basket covering the drain. Any large chunks of food found there can be easily removed with the fingers. Don’t forget to check out the paddles for tiny particles of food that may be trapped in the spray holes. I found that a pair of tweezers works best for clearing food obstructions here.

Add bleach. Since the mildew in my dishwasher had turned the walls a peculiar shade of pink, I knew that a plain old vinegar rinse wouldn’t strip the mildew without repeated washings and gallons of hot water. I reached for the bleach instead and poured about 1/2 cup in the base into the empty dishwasher. The dials were set to a standard wash and the machine was allowed to go through a complete cycle which solved the problem. Not only did the stink go away, the interior was back to be being white. To clean the part of the door that the bleach couldn’t reach, a hot soapy rag finished the job.

Getting rid of the mildewy smell in your dishwasher is easy to do with a bit of bleach and a some elbow grease. This easy bit of DIY maintenance is something that should be done a couple of times a year to keep a dishwasher smelling fresh.

More by this contributor:
4 easy fixes for a noisy dishwasher.
How to replace the drip pans on a range top stove
How to hook up the ice maker on a new refrigerator.

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