Do your dishes smell like wet dog after running them through the dishwasher?
The wet dog smell on dishes after running them through the dishwasher can be caused by the accumulation of food particles, bacteria growth, or a malfunctioning dishwasher. Citrus-based dishwashing liquids will remove smells. Proper drying and storage after washing will help to stop unwanted odors.
In this article, we’ll guide you through the steps to eliminate the wet dog smell from your dishes so you can keep your dishes smelling fresh and clean.
Why Do My Dishes Smell Like Wet Dog After Dishwashing
Dishes can have many distinct smells depending on where or how they are washed or even the area where the dishes are stored.
Before we go into bad smells after hand washing or using the dishwasher, I have had experiences where I had a new wooden cabinet, and every time I took a glass or plate out of it to use, it smelled like fresh-cut wood, maybe the wood wasn’t sealed well but what I did to stop it was placed a silicon mat where the dishes were sitting on and the smell was no more.
Food particulates can be so small that the eye sometimes cannot see it and can be stuck on the internals of the dishwasher.
Food can also get caught inside crevices within the dishes which can have unpleasant smells.
After some time, it food particulates will break down and rot causing the dishes to smell like something similar to a wet dog or even worst.
What does Wet Dog Smell Like
To accurately describe what wet dog smell is like, imagine a strong, pungent odor that lingers and permeates the air around you. It’s a smell that can be quite unpleasant and hard to ignore.
The wet dog smell is characterized as musty and earthy, animalic and musky, slightly sour and tangy, strong and pungent, and lingers and permeates the air.
You may not smell it distance but up close the smell becomes very noticeable.
Dishes Smell Like Wet Dog After Dishwasher
Dishes may smell like a wet dog after dishwashing if there is excess food on the dishes when placed into the dishwasher.
Foods like eggs and protein-based foods will tend to leave a lingering smell if they are not washed clean.
This can also be a telltale sign that the spryer is malfunctioning. If your dishwasher is filling with water but not spraying, sometimes a simple blocked spray arm caused by overloading the dishwasher may be to blame.
A more serious problem like a malfunctioning circulation pump or overfill switch could prevent your dishwasher from spraying properly.
How to Fix a Dishwasher that Smells Like a Wet Dog
To fix a dishwasher that smells like a wet dog you have to clean your dishwasher thoroughly and there are a few simple steps you can take.
1. Inspect and Clean the Filter
Start by inspecting and cleaning the filter to eliminate the unpleasant wet dog smell from your dishwasher. Here are three simple steps to follow:
- Remove the filter:
Locate the filter in your dishwasher, usually at the bottom, and remove it carefully. It may be held in place by clips or screws.
- Clean the filter:
Rinse the filter under warm water to remove any debris or food particles. For a deeper clean, soak the filter in soapy water and scrub gently with a soft brush. Rinse thoroughly afterwards.
- Reinstall the filter:
Once the filter is clean and dry, place it back in the dishwasher and secure it properly. Make sure it fits snugly and is properly aligned.
2. Sanitize the Door Seal
Clean the door seal to eliminate the wet dog smell from inside the dishwasher. Sanitizing the door seal is an important step in getting rid of the strong odor and ensuring the cleanliness of your dishes.
Not only does a dirty door seal contribute to the unpleasant smell, but it can also pose health risks due to the accumulation of bacteria and mold.
To sanitize the door seal, start by wiping it down with a mixture of warm water and a mild detergent.
Use a soft cloth or sponge to clean the seal thoroughly, making sure to reach all the crevices. For stubborn stains or mold, you can use a solution of equal parts water and bleach.
Be sure to rinse the seal thoroughly and dry it completely before closing the dishwasher.
3. Open the Door to Air Out
One other way to address a dishwasher that smells like a wet dog is by opening the door to allow for proper ventilation and fresh air circulation.
This simple step can help eliminate the unpleasant odor and prevent it from returning.
4. Make Sure the Drains are Clean
To fix a dishwasher that smells like a wet dog, ensure the drains are free of debris and odor-causing buildup. The drains in your dishwasher can become a breeding ground for bacteria and cause unpleasant odors. Start by removing the dish rack and inspecting the drain area.
- Use a flashlight to check for any clogs or food particles that may be causing the smell.
- Clean the drains by using a mixture of vinegar and hot water.
- Pour this solution down the drain and let it sit for a few minutes before running a normal cycle.
If the smell persists, it may be best to call an appliance technician who can further inspect and clean the drains to eliminate any hidden buildup.
5. Clean the Internals of the Dishwasher
Inspecting the internals of your dishwasher is key to eliminating the wet dog smell and ensuring your dishes come out fresh and clean.
Here are three steps to help you clean the internals of your dishwasher effectively:
- Remove the racks and utensil holder: Start by taking out the racks and utensil holder from the dishwasher. Scrub them with warm, soapy water to remove any built-up residue or food particles.
- Clean the spray arms: The spray arms are responsible for distributing water and detergent during the wash cycle. To clean them, remove them from the dishwasher and rinse them under running water. Use a toothpick or small brush to remove any clogs or debris from the spray holes.
- Check the filter and drain: The filter and drain can easily get clogged with food particles, leading to unpleasant odors. Remove the filter and drain cover and clean them thoroughly. Use a toothbrush or sponge to scrub away any residue.
6. Remove trapped soap scum buildup
To fix a dishwasher that smells like a wet dog, start by removing trapped in soap scum buildup. Soap scum can accumulate in your dishwasher over time, leading to unpleasant odors.
- Begin by removing the bottom rack and inspecting the drain area for any food debris or residue.
- Use a soft brush or toothbrush to scrub away any soap scum or buildup on the spray arms, filters, and interior walls. You can also use a mixture of vinegar and water to help break down the soap scum.
- After cleaning, run a cycle with a dishwasher cleaner or a cup of vinegar to further eliminate any remaining odors.
7. Run a cleaning cycle
Start by running a cleaning cycle to eliminate the odor of wet dog from your dishwasher. This simple step can make a big difference in eliminating the unpleasant smell and ensuring your dishes come out fresh and clean. Here are three key things to keep in mind when running a cleaning cycle:
Clean The Garbage Disposal
Cleaning your garbage disposal is a simple yet effective way to eliminate any unpleasant smells in your kitchen.
The garbage disposal can often become a breeding ground for bacteria and food particles, leading to unpleasant smells.
To effectively clean your garbage disposal, follow these simple steps:
|1||Turn off the garbage disposal and unplug it, if possible.|
|2||Use a flashlight to inspect the disposal for any visible debris or clogs.|
|3||Use tongs or pliers to remove any large objects or food particles that may be stuck in the disposal.|
|4||Pour a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and baking soda down the disposal.|
The vinegar will help disinfect and deodorize the disposal, while the baking soda will help break down any remaining food particles.
Allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes before rinsing it away with hot water. Repeat this process once a month to keep your garbage disposal clean and odor-free.
Monitor What’s Being Placed into the Dishwasher
Make sure you carefully monitor the items that are being loaded into your dishwasher to prevent any lingering odors in your kitchen.
It’s important to keep track of what you’re putting in the dishwasher to ensure that everything is dishwasher-safe and won’t leave behind any unpleasant smells.
Here are three key items to consider when monitoring what goes into your dishwasher:
- Scrape off food debris: Before loading your dishes, make sure to scrape off any leftover food particles.
Food residue can accumulate in the dishwasher and cause unpleasant odors. By removing the excess food, you can prevent these odors from developing.
- Avoid plastic items: Plastic containers, especially those that are not labeled as dishwasher safe, can release strong odors when exposed to high heat.
Be cautious when loading plastic items and opt for dishwasher-safe plastics or hand wash them separately.
- Remove sponges and wooden utensils: Sponges and wooden utensils are not designed to withstand the high temperatures and strong detergents used in the dishwasher.
These items can absorb odors and even become damaged. It’s best to wash them by hand to maintain their longevity and prevent any lingering smells.
Why Do My Dishes Smell After Hand-Washing
If dishes smell bad after handwashing it could be that the dishwashing liquid may itself be the problem.
Some dishwashing liquids tend to have stronger unpleasant odors than others especially if they are expired.
Another reason may be if the dishwashing detergent is in an opened container with a wide mouth, food can find its way into the container when washing and end up being recirculated back onto the dishes when being washed, and the same goes for the scrubber (foam sponge) being used.
These “recirculated” food items will begin to smell like rotting food, and some will give off odors similar to a wet dog after the dishes are washed and allowed to sit for some time.
What Takes the Smell Out of Dishes?
Use Lime or Lemon Detergents
To remove any smelly odors from dishes you can simply rewash the dishes by hand using a lime or lemon-based dishwashing liquid or detergent.
Citrus-y fruits like lemon, lime, and orange have potent and distinct smells that can be used to remove or at least cover up persistent stinky odors. Citric acid can neutralize alkaline odors and break down built-up organic residue.
Steam the Dishes
Run the dishes again through the dishwasher and if possible allow it to run a full steam cycle to have any residual odor removed.
How water can also be used when hand washing to dissolve and remove any protein based smell from dishes.
How to Prevent Dishes from Smelling Like Wet Dog
Proper storage of dishes can prevent them from smelling when taken out to use by preventing the growth of bacteria and the absorption of odors. Here’s how it works:
Before storing dishes, it is crucial to ensure they are thoroughly cleaned. Any food residue or oils left on the dishes can become a breeding ground for bacteria, leading to unpleasant odors. Properly washing and drying the dishes before storage is essential.
After cleaning and rinsing, dishes should be completely dried before storage. Damp or wet dishes create a moist environment that promotes bacterial growth, leading to foul smells. Ensure dishes are air-dried or use a clean cloth to dry them thoroughly.
When storing dishes, it is important to consider their placement in the storage area. Avoid storing them near strong-smelling substances, such as cleaning chemicals or strong spices, as dishes can absorb these odors. Additionally, keep dishes away from areas prone to moisture, like sinks or dishwashers, as they can develop a musty smell.
- The wet dog smell in dishes after running them through the dishwasher can be caused by accumulation of food particles, bacteria growth, malfunctioning dishwasher, lack of regular cleaning, and clogged or blocked filter and drain.
- To eliminate the wet dog smell from dishes, regularly clean the dishwasher, use dishwasher cleaner or vinegar and baking soda to remove residue, check and clean the filter and drain for clogs or blockages, consider using a different dishwasher detergent, and ensure proper ventilation and air circulation.
- The wet dog smell is characterized as musty and earthy, animalic and musky, slightly sour and tangy, strong and pungent, and lingers and permeates the air.
- To fix a dishwasher that smells like a wet dog, inspect and clean the filter, sanitize the door seal, open the door to air out the dishwasher, clean the spray arms, and ensure the drains are clean.