Why Does My Dishwasher Smell? How to Remove Odor in Your Dishwashing Machine

The smell of fresh-baked lasagna coming from your oven is delightful. The smell of leftover lasagna coming from your dishwasher, not so much. Dishwasher odors are a particularly unpleasant problem, but not an uncommon one. If your dishwasher stinks, it’s likely due to food particles that have built up and decomposed over time, and/or limescale build-up where bacteria can grow in hard-to-reach areas. This can cause odors in dishwasher parts like the filter and seal. Luckily, there are a few simple steps you can take to keep your dishwasher smelling fresh and clean.


  • Use Finish® In-Wash Dishwasher Cleaner Tablets once a week
    • Finish® In-Wash Dishwasher Cleaner Tablets removes hidden grease and grime and helps maintain machine parts. Best of all, you can include it in a regular wash cycle with your dishes. We recommend incorporating it once a week for the first three weeks of the month.
  • Use Finish® Dishwasher Deep Cleaner Liquid once a month
    • Unlike the in-wash tabs, Finish® Dishwasher Deep Cleaner Liquid must be used in an empty cycle. It safely and effectively removes mineral and limescale build-up where bacteria can grow in dishwasher parts, including hard-to-reach areas like the heating element and sprayer arms. We recommend using it once a month (in the fourth week, or the week you’re not using Finish® In-Wash Dishwasher Cleaner Tablets).
  • Check the filter
    • One of the main causes of dishwasher odor is food that’s accumulated in the drain filter. Once a month, remove the bottom rack of the dishwasher and wipe the drain filter clean with warm, soapy water.
  • Wipe down the inner lining
    • Food particles may get stuck on the rubber seal that goes around the door of your dishwasher. Wipe it down periodically with a paper towel and some soapy water to keep it clean.

Establishing a routine using the steps above should effectively banish all dishwasher odors. With Finish®, which is the world’s #1 most recommended brand and trusted by GE appliances, you can rest assured that your dishes and dishwasher will look and smell sparkling clean.


More dishwasher brands recommend Finish® products worldwide than any other brand. Recommendations as part of co-marketing agreements.

GE Appliances, a Haier company recommends Finish as part of a co-marketing agreement.