Why Your Dishwasher Smells Like Eggs

Why Your Dishwasher Smells Like Eggs

If your dishwasher smells like a rotten egg, your worry isn’t just the terrible odor. You also have to think about your dishes becoming filthy and unhygienic.

So what makes your dishwasher smell and what can you do to fix it? Let’s jump right in.

Why does your dishwasher smell like eggs?

Your dishwasher smells because of a dirty door seal, filter, or interior parts. It can also come from leftover wastewater or a clogged sink drain.

To fix it, clean all the interior parts such as the door seal, nozzle, filters, racks, and walls. Test the drain pump and unclog the drain hose.

If the odor still hasn’t disappeared, try the following steps:

  • Unclog your sink drain or garbage disposal. Make sure to remove all food residue that may be causing the odor.
  • Pull out your dishwasher from the cabinetry and clean the cabinet walls. Sweep all the dirt build-up or dead pests that might have been stuck underneath your appliance.

Keep reading below to learn more about how to perform these troubleshooting steps.

Important note: For your safety, unplug your dishwasher and turn off the water valve before you do any repairs. Press the power button and make sure that the panel no longer lights up.

Causes and Solutions

There are 6 possible reasons your dishwasher smells like rotten eggs.

  1. The door seal is dirty.
  2. The filter assembly is riddled with food waste.
  3. The interior parts have caught leftover food.
  4. There is leftover wastewater in the tub.
  5. The sink drain or garbage disposal is clogged.
  6. There’s a dead pest underneath your dishwasher.

Here are a few quick solutions to resolve each issue.

Dirty Door SealOpen your dishwasher door and wipe the outer part of the door seal using a clean cloth soaked in white vinegar.

Make sure to scrub all food waste and dirt build-up that are stuck in the rubber seal. If the dirt has made its way into the channel, remove the door seal and clean it thoroughly using a cotton swab and mild detergent.
Clogged Drain FilterRemove the drain filter assembly and disassemble the filters. Wash them in running water and clean them using a soft brush and mild soap.
Uncleaned Interior PartsRun a cleaning cycle on your dishwasher using white vinegar, a dishwasher cleaning tablet, or a chlorine-based detergent. Wipe any excess cleaning agent with a clean cloth.
Leftover WastewaterCheck your dishwasher for clogs in the drain filter, drain hose, or sink drain. Test your drain pump motor for continuity and replace it if damaged.
Clogged Sink Drain or Garbage DisposalPour a mixture of vinegar and baking soda into your sink drain or garbage disposal. Wash the mixture off with hot water after a few seconds.

You can also snake the sink drain out for clogs or remove the P-trap to clean it.
Dead Pest UnderneathUninstall your dishwasher from the cabinetry and pull it out. Clean the cabinet walls and the floor where the dishwasher is seated.

Remove any dead pests in the area and dry all wet surfaces before reinstalling your dishwasher.

Now let’s take a closer look at each cause and the step-by-step guide on how to resolve them.

Dirty Door Seal

The door seal is a black, rubber component that runs along the perimeter of your tub. It provides an airtight seal so the water won’t escape your dishwasher during the cycle.

However, because the door seal is made of rubber, it is easy for food waste to stick to it, making them harder to drain.

Moreover, the door seal is harder to dry than other components inside your dishwasher.

A wet door seal with decaying food grimes is a perfect spot for mold to form, causing the rotten egg smell from your dishwasher.

Solution: Soak a cloth in white vinegar and use it to wipe the area around the door seal. Make sure to scrub all sides and corners of the door seal to remove all dirt build-up and smelly odor.

Remove the door seal if the dirt has made its way into the channel that houses it. Follow the steps below to remove and reinstall your door seal.

  • Step 1: Wear proper work gloves to protect your hands during the process.
  • Step 2: Unplug your dishwasher and turn off the water supply valve.
  • Step 3: Open the dishwasher door and remove the seal from the channel. Start at the edge of the door.
  • Step 4: Remember which side of the door seal faces the outside of the channel.
  • Step 5: Gently pull out the rest of the door seal.
  • Step 6: Use a cotton swab and a mild dishwasher detergent to clean the channel holding the door seal. This helps make sure that the new seal fits correctly into the channel.
  • Step 7: Let the channel dry for a few minutes after cleaning. You can also wipe it with a cloth to aid the drying process.
  • Step 8: Reinstall the door seal. First, find the midpoint of the rubber seal by folding it in half.
  • Step 9: Press the seal’s midpoint to the center of the channel. Make sure that the correct side of the seal is facing outwards.
  • Step 10: Press the rest of the rubber seal into the top channel. Install the rest of the seal evenly on both sides of the tub.
  • Step 11: Press the seal as much as you can into the channel without stretching it.
  • Step 12: Extend one or two inches of the seal beyond the bottom of each side. This helps in sealing the door’s opening.
  • Step 13: Close the dishwasher door and press it firmly against the seal. Open the door again and check if the seal is properly aligned.
  • Step 14: Remove and reinstall the rubber seal as much as necessary to ensure that there are no gaps.
  • Step 15: Close the door for a few hours to help the new rubber seal set in the channel permanently.

Replace the rubber seal if it has too many cracks that could catch food waste. Follow the steps above to install a new door seal for your dishwasher. 

Clogged Drain Filter

Another likely cause of your dishwasher smelling like a rotten egg is a clogged drain filter assembly.

The drain filter sifts larger food residue and stops them from making their way into the motor components below the dishwasher.

Because of that, the drain filter becomes a home for broken-down food waste and bacteria. This will cause a terrible smell when you run a cycle in your dishwasher.

Solution: First unplug your dishwasher and take out your drain filter assembly. If you’re unfamiliar with the process, follow the steps below:

  • Step 1: Open the dishwasher door and pull out the lower rack to gain access to the assembly.
  • Step 2: Hold the propeller down and rotate the filter assembly counterclockwise. Gently pull out the filter assembly.
  • Step 3: Detach the coarse and fine filter from the main filter.
  • Step 4: Wash each filter thoroughly in running water using a soft brush and mild soap. Make sure not to poke a hole in the screens.
  • Step 5: Clean the filter housing or the sump area before reinstalling the filter assembly.
  • Step 6: Use a straightened cloth hanger or handheld vacuum to remove any unreachable dirt lodged in the sump area.
  • Step 7: Reassemble the filters and place them back properly. Avoid deforming them.
  • Step 8: Rotate the filter assembly clockwise to secure it. Insert the lower rack back into the dishwasher.

Uncleaned Interior 

The interior parts of your dishwasher are also vulnerable to leftover food, grease, and fatty oils. 

Since oily residues don’t go well with water, they stick to the interior components of your dishwasher instead.

You may find them wedged in the nooks and crannies of the racks, baskets, the spray arm, and in the corner or edges of the interior walls.

Solution: Run a cleaning cycle in your dishwasher to remove the dirt and oil build-up inside. Check your manual to learn which cleaning cycle is available for your model.

You can also opt to clean your dishwasher manually.

Use a cleaning agent of your choice such as a dishwasher cleaning tablet, chlorine-based detergent, or even as simple as white vinegar.

However, do not mix vinegar and dishwasher detergent at the same time. Also, avoid using bleach as this may cause discoloration or damage to dishwashers with stainless steel interiors.

Perform the following steps below to properly clean the interior of your dishwasher:

  • Step 1: Unplug your dishwasher and press any button to make sure that there is no residual power left.
  • Step 2: Pull out any removable component inside the dishwasher, such as the basket, racks, and spray arms.
  • Step 3: Clean them thoroughly in warm water using a soft brush or damp cloth.
  • Step 4: Inspect the tiny holes in the spray arms and make sure that there is no food waste inside. Use a small pin or needle to clean the nozzle holes and make sure that water can freely pass through the openings.
  • Step 5: Wipe the interior walls and the dishwasher’s base with a damp cloth soaked in white vinegar. Clean any excess cleaning agent left in the tub.

Leftover Wastewater

Standing wastewater at the bottom of the tub is another likely reason your dishwasher smells like rotten eggs.

Since it carries leftovers from your dishes, the dirty water is supposed to be drained away at the end of every cycle to keep your dishwasher clean. 

The drain pump motor forces the wastewater into the drain hose and out of the sink drain or garbage disposal. 

However, if any of the draining components are clogged or faulty, this will slow the draining process or stop it altogether. As a result, dirty water is left at the bottom of your tub.

With that in mind, here are the common causes of dishwasher draining issues and how to troubleshoot them.

Faulty Drain HoseDisconnect the drain hose from both ends and run some water in between to test it for clogs. Remove the cause of the blockage and reinstall the drain hose.

Avoid twisting the drain hose. Attach it tightly to avoid gaps in the connections.
Clogged or Damaged Filter AssemblyPull out the dishwasher assembly and clean each filter gently in running water. Be sure to place them back properly to avoid deforming the screens.
Faulty Drain Pump Component Test all drain pump components for continuity. Replace the entire assembly if the impeller, solenoid, or pump motor is damaged.
Stuck or Worn Out Check ValveInspect the condition of the check valve and verify that it is facing the right direction. Remove the check valve and clean its housing before reinstalling it.

If the check valve is damaged, replace it and make sure to position it correctly.

Clogged Sink Drain or Garbage Disposal

It is possible that the dishwasher itself isn’t producing the terrible odor that you’re smelling.

If you have cleaned your dishwasher thoroughly but still smell rotten eggs nearby, it may be caused by a clogged sink drain or garbage disposal.

Food waste such as pasta noodles, meat chunks, or bone pieces could get stuck inside the garbage disposal or in the P-trap of the sink drain.

When this happens, the drain hose won’t be able to empty the dirty wastewater it is carrying, which could result in backflow.

Solution: Clean your sink drain or garbage disposal by using a pouring mixture of baking soda and vinegar into the kitchen sink. To do this, follow the steps below:

  • Step 1: Pour half a cup of baking soda into the opening of your garbage disposal or sink drain.
  • Step 2: Pour in a cup of white vinegar and let it sit for more than 10 minutes.
  • Step 3: Run hot tap water in your sink for a few seconds to wash off the mixture.

You can also clean your sink drain manually by removing the P-trap. Here’s how to do it:

  • Step 1: Prepare a bowl and place it underneath to catch spilling water from the P-trap.
  • Step 2: Hold both ends of the P-trap and carefully turn the lock on one end counterclockwise to loosen it.
  • Step 3: Loosen the other end by turning the lock in the same direction.
  • Step 4: Remove the P-trap and pour the water into the bowl.
  • Step 5: Clean it thoroughly and make sure that there is no food waste and mold left in the trap.
  • Step 6: Reinstall the P-trap back in place and make sure that it isn’t loosely connected.

Dead Pests Underneath

Speaking of exterior causes, another possible cause of the rotten egg smell in your dishwasher is dead pests left underneath it.

Since the bottom floor where your dishwasher is seated is dark and damp, it can be home to many insects such as bugs, ants, cockroaches, or even rats.

Cleaning underneath your dishwasher isn’t always easy since it involves uninstalling your dishwasher and pulling it out.

So when a pest dies underneath your appliance, you won’t be able to know it until the smell becomes worse enough to be noticed.

Solution: To clean the floor and cabinet walls that are housing your dishwasher, follow the steps below.

  • Step 1: Unplug your dishwasher and turn off the water supply valve.
  • Step 2: Uninstall your dishwasher from the cabinetry. Unthread the screws that are securing your dishwasher in place.
  • Step 3: Disconnect the water supply hose from the pipe. Also, disconnect the drain hose from the sink drain or garbage disposal.
  • Step 4: Feed the drain hose in the hole in the cabinet.
  • Step 5: Pull out your dishwasher gently until you have enough room to clean the cabinet and the floor.
  • Step 6: Clean the cabinet wall using a broom or a brush. Make sure to sweep the floor and remove any dead pests that might be hidden underneath your dishwasher.
  • Step 7: Lay your dishwasher down and clean the bottom panel as well. Make sure that the drain hose isn’t pinched while you’re tilting your dishwasher.
  • Step 8: Reinstall everything back in place once the area is completely clean and dry.

As a bonus tip, you can also use a dishwasher cleaner with odor sanitizer to completely remove any residual smell coming from your dishwasher. You can also select a Sanitize cycle to kill most food-borne bacteria.

Still, these are just temporary measures, and cleaning your appliance should be your number one priority.

If some of these repairs are a little too hard for you, call your dishwasher’s support center or hire a professional for help.

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