What To Do About A Smelly Dishwasher

It’s gross, but it can happen… So here are some tips to help.
Let vinegar work its magic. Fill a glass cup or bowl with about one cup of distilled white vinegar, and place it snugly on the top rack of your dishwasher between the prongs used to separate glasses. Vinegar is a perfect agent for cleaning a dishwasher since it will cut grease, clear away old detergent build-up, and neutralize food odors. Run the dishwasher through a single cycle on the hottest setting possible. Then, once the cycle is complete, leave the door open for about an hour to let the dishwasher air out completely. (A damp interior could lead to mildew growth, the source of yet another unwanted stench!)
Always take safety precautions. When cleaning your smelly dishwasher, never mix vinegar with chlorine—this can create toxic fumes. While you may not intentionally use the two at once, they could accidentally interact if there’s still some liquid dishwashing detergent left over in the tray from a recent cycle. Best practice: Read your detergent label to see if the solution contains chlorine. If so, make sure there’s no potential for disaster by wiping out the detergent tray with a damp paper towel before you start the machine.
Add a fresh scent. Despite its indisputable cleaning properties, not everyone is crazy about white vinegar’s scent. If you’d like to mask it with something more pleasant, add a few drops of an essential oil to the vinegar. Lavender, orange, lemon, or peppermint oils will create a crisp and welcoming aroma in your kitchen. Plus, the non-toxic essential oils have antibacterial properties to boot!
Repeat to prevent the odor from returning. To avoid a whiff of a smelly dishwasher in the future, repeat the vinegar cleanse once every few months, or whenever it’s needed. Now you’ll always breathe easy in your kitchen—no matter how often you run the dishwasher.
Source: Bob Vila/Amy Lynch
Photo: © Provided by Bob Vila

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