Is something fishy about your dishwasher, but you can't put your finger on it? A fish smell on your clean dishes usually means things aren't so clean inside your dishwasher. Think of it as a stinky reminder to do a little dishwasher maintenance.
Cause of Fish Smell
If your clean dishes have a fishy smell, it's likely due to food particles inside your dishwasher. Those food particles can cause the inside of the appliance and the dishes you wash in it to smell. You'll typically find those food remnants in the dishwasher filter, which is at the bottom of the dishwasher. The filter's purpose is to trap the food bits so they don't clog the drain. However, you'll need to clean out the food chunks regularly to keep your dishwasher smelling good.
Video of the Day
Inspect the Dishwasher Filter
First you need to locate your dishwasher filter, which will be on the bottom inside the appliance. Pull out the bottom rack to easily reach the area. You'll see the filter and a screen there. You might need to twist the filter to remove it so you can check for debris. If you see food particles or sludge on the filter, this is likely the source of the smell, and it's time for a deep cleaning.
Cleaning the Food Particles
After you remove the filter from the dishwasher drain area, dump out the food chunks. The remaining food and gunk can firmly stick to the mesh filter. A small cleaning brush or toothbrush works well to dislodge the gunk but avoid anything that could damage the mesh, such as wire brushes or abrasive sponges. Use hot water and dish soap to help remove the gunk. You can also soak the filter in hot, soapy water to soften the gunk if the debris is especially stubborn.
It's also a good idea to clean the rest of the dishwasher. Remove the screen that's near the filter and clean food debris off it. The drain area might also have gunk or food debris in it that needs to be removed. Clean around the gaskets along the door, which can harbor sludge from the dishwashing process.
You can also get special dishwasher cleaner that helps remove additional gunk. You usually place the cleaner inside the dishwasher and run it through an empty cycle. This can help remove the debris that's causing the odors.
Cleaning the Dishes
You'll want to wash the stinky dishes again to help remove the smell and any food debris that might be on them. Once you've thoroughly cleaned out the dishwasher filter, you can run the load through the dishwasher again, or you can wash them by hand.
Ongoing Dishwasher Cleaning
Regular dishwasher cleaning, including the filter, helps keep the buildup to a minimum. At least once per month, check the filter and wipe down the inside of the dishwasher. Using the dishwasher cleaning product once per month can also help minimize odors that make your glasses stink like fish.