I don't want to wash my dishes after I wash my dishes, either...
March 20, 2008 7:05 AM   Subscribe

How can I get rid of my dishwasher's funk?

There is some form of foul smelling beast living in the drain of my dishwasher and it has started to impart its scent on my dishes. Tap and filtered water both smell almost fishy if I don't first fill the glass with water and pour it out to get rid of the odor. Likewise for other food and baked goods that are on or were made in things washed in my dishwasher.

How can I get rid of the funk? So far, I've tried bleach and copious amounts of baking soda + vinegar. It helped reduce the general funk, but it always reappears when I run the dishwasher and stays on the dishes.
posted by odi.et.amo to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
There is some form of foul smelling beast living in the drain of my dishwasher

Have you taken the drain apart? There actually could be a beast in there. A dead beast. There are great 'this is how to clean out the funk' instructions here. And a family secret, handed down from my grandmother - put two packets of Kool-aid in the soap dispenser, run through the whole cycle with no dishes in the washer. It kills smells and cleans out any soap scum, deposits, and rust in the drain and on the elements.
posted by iconomy at 7:14 AM on March 20, 2008 [6 favorites]

Like iconomy said, if there's no actual dead beast in the works once you take it apart, run a cycle with Tang.
posted by sjuhawk31 at 7:23 AM on March 20, 2008

Run an empty load with some granulated lemonade mix in place of soap.
posted by ducktape at 10:07 AM on March 20, 2008

I personally think vinegar is one of the greatest things ever. However as iconomy says, you could have something crudded up in the drain which will keep anything from working till you cope with it.

If you have a garbage disposal and the dishwasher feeds into it you should also look into some de-skunk for it. We discovered the hard way that if we didn't run the disposal for a few seconds to make sure it was clear before doing a wash that we'd end up with yucky backwash.
posted by phearlez at 10:27 AM on March 20, 2008

My six-month-old Kitchen-Aid dishwasher stinks in a fishy or rotten-egg way, and so do the "clean" dishes -- unless I either use 2 doses of detergent, or run it either on 'hi-temp scrub' or 'sani-rinse.' My guess is that, in order to garner a good energy rating, it was designed to run at too low a temperature and/or with too little water. I have another of the same model in a rental unit....same problem.

I tried vinegar and then bleach, I scrubbed the nooks, crannies and gaskets. I ran the tap water till it reached 125 degrees F before starting the machine. I called Kitchen-Aid and asked, to no avail. Only the extra-hot water (heated by the dishwasher's heating element) works, as does does extra detergent. But the added detergent etches the glassware, so that's no solution.

With the super-hot wash, dishes end up hot enough that they dry by themselves with air only, so I can skip the heated drying part of the cycle. If I do that, I have to dry the plastic items by hand.
posted by wryly at 11:53 AM on March 20, 2008

do you have a garbage disposal? Most dishwashers drain in there if you have one. If there's something funky / crusty down there it could easily waft over to the dishwasher.
posted by jenkinsEar at 1:03 PM on March 20, 2008

One cup of vinegar, empty dishwasher, full cycle. Works wonders.
posted by tr33hggr at 6:38 AM on March 21, 2008

Check the drain hose from your dishwasher, it should go up and then back down to prevent water from stagnating in the line. I just saw an episode of this old house were they had to replace the old drain hose that was full of mold. The old hose was run improperly and let the drained water pool in the line.

The line should run from the dishwasher then is attached to the underside of the counter top and then to the undersink drain.
posted by wrnealis at 6:31 PM on October 25, 2008

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