You open up your dishwasher, and you get hit with the smell of rotten eggs. The sulfur smell is atrocious, and there is no way that you want to put your dishes in there because they would never seem clean because of the smell.
The good news is that this is usually a straightforward problem to solve. There are only a few things that can cause this problem, and most of them can be fixed fairly simply.
The main issues that will cause your dishwasher to smell like egg are:
- Dirty dishwasher gasket
- Dirty dishwasher filter
- Backed up garbage disposal
- Dirty or kinked drain hose
- Dead pest
Before you begin troubleshooting, you should try running a dishwasher cleaner through your unit. These are available at your grocery store and only require that you dump the product in the dishwasher while it is empty and run a full cycle. Most of these cleaners are citrus-based, so it breaks up grease and residue and cleans the entire inside of your unit.
Problem 1: Dirty Dishwasher Seal
The first place to check for a rotten odor in your dishwasher is the gasket/seal of your dishwasher. Over time, the seal can get grime and food build-up which causes the dishwasher egg smell.
The first thing you need to do is wipe the gasket with a dry towel or cloth. Then you will make a cleaning solution with either warm water and soap or baking soda. Use a clean cloth with the cleaning solution on it to wipe down the seal. Dry the gasket thoroughly and the dirt and grime should be gone.
With the same cleaning solution you will want to clean the area of the dishwasher that the gasket touches for maximum effectiveness.
This is also an excellent time to check for any wear to the seal. You will also want to look at the edges where the seal touches on your dishwasher to make sure that this area is wiped down as well.
Problem 2: Dirty Dishwasher Filter
The dishwasher strainer is an essential component of the dishwashers drain cycle. As the water leaves the dishwasher compartment it passes through the filter. Larger food particles will get trapped in the filter and begin to create that dishwasher egg smell.
Location of Filter
Typically, the dishwasher filter is located at the very bottom of the unit under the rack and wash arms. it will most likely be a cylindrical shape where you will twist a round piece and pull the filter out.
Note that not every dishwasher will have a filter. How you determine if your dishwasher has a filter is by opening up the unit locating the product sticker and typing the model name into google. The dishwashers product sticker can be found inside the main compartment or on the edge of the door when you open it up.
Cleaning the Filter
Cleaning your dishwasher filter is very simple. All you have to do after removing the filter is scrub them with soap and hot water in the sink and rinse thoroughly. Make sure to wipe the area down where you pulled the strainer out of. This will ensure that all food particles will be knocked loose and cleaned.
Problem 3: Dirty Garbage Disposal
There is a solid chance that your dishwashers drain hose is connected directly to your garbage disposal. If the garbage disposal is dirty or blocked up with food or grease, it can cause your dishwasher to smell when it is used.
Cleaning your Garbage Disposal
The easiest way to clean your garbage disposal is to put a stopper on that side of the sink and fill the sink halfway full with cool water. You will then want to add 5 or 6 pounds of ice cubes to the water and about a 1/3 cup of lemon juice and a ¼ cup baking soda. Once everything is in the sink, turn on the disposal and remove the plug.
The ice in the water serves a dual purpose. It will freeze and lift grime off of the blades, and it will help sharpen the blades as the ice is crushed. The lemon and baking soda will remove food, grease, grime, and odor from your unit.
It is probably wise to always run your garbage disposal for a minute or two before running your dishwasher to make sure that it is clean. This helps prevent backups into your dishwasher.
Problem 4: Dirty or Kinked Dishwasher Hose or Sump Pump
You drain hose is connected to your sump pump which takes out the dirty water after a wash cycle and transports it to the drain or garbage disposal (which ever set up you have).
Sometimes the dishwasher drain hose can become kinked, or gets blocked up with food gunk. This can also cause your pump to get dirty. If this is the case, you will need to pull your dishwasher out from the cabinet and check the hose.
Fixing your Drain Hose
You will want to remove the drain hose from your dishwasher and either replace it or simply clean it. In order to remove the drain hose you will have to follow these steps:
- Turn off the power to your dish washer
- Unplug the dishwasher (or unhook the wiring if it wired into the junction box)
- Remove the drain hose where it is connected to the dishwasher
- Remove the drain hose where it is connected to the drain
- Fire some soap down one end or baking soda and water and and plug the other end
- Shake the hose around and then let the water run through the hose
- Run more warm water through the hose to get rid of the cleaning solution
- Hook everything back up in the reverse order and your dishwasher should not be smelly any more!
Problem 5: Dead Pest
On rare occasions, the foul smell coming from your machine may not be the machine itself, but something behind it. If you have cleaned the filter, gasket, and ran cleaner through your unit and you still have a bad smell, you will need to check behind the machine.
A mouse may have become stuck behind your machine, or food particles may have moved underneath your machine. The only way to get rid of the smell is to pull the unit out and clean behind and underneath the machine.
Make sure that when you remove the machine from the wall that you disconnect the water and the power. Safety first, cleaning second. When you put the machine back in, make sure that you are careful about not kinking the hose. Run an empty cycle in your machine after placing it back in the wall so that you know everything is working right before putting in dishes.
Call Service If You Cannot Find The Problem
If you have tried all of these dishwasher hacks and the machine is still giving off a terrible smell. Or, if you do not feel comfortable working on your dishwasher hoses or removing it from the wall, call a repair service to check your machine. Your safety is your top priority, and you should not make repairs to any appliance that you are not comfortable repairing.