Why Your Dishwasher Might Smell Like Rotten Eggs

Dishwashers are notorious for developing odors. One of the worst conditions is a stench that smells like rotten eggs. What makes a dishwasher develop this terrible and offensive smell? What can you do to fix the problem? If you’re having this issue, then you’re in the right place. Learn what causes your dishwasher to put off this bad smell, and what you can do to get rid of the smell. Here is everything you need to know about a stinky dishwasher and how to solve the problem. There are several different reasons for dishwasher odor. The trick is to identify the issue so you can fix it for good. Some of the reasons that this happens include an issue with the drain, the drain tube, the thermostat, or a lack of a high loop, according to Savvy Sometimes. If you’re not familiar with these parts it’s time to learn about them and how to identify where the smell is coming from.

A high loop

Not all dishwashers have a high loop. It is the part of the dishwasher drain that makes a high loop and it is located under the kitchen sink. It’s a requirement for every dishwasher according to state requirements. It is a part of the drain. If yours does not have a high loop, or it is improperly installed, it can create a rotten egg smell. If yours doesn’t have one you can either install one or you can alternatively install an air gap at the kitchen sink to solve the problem. Make sure that the high loop extends up at least 18 inches above the point of connection. This helps to clear the P trap of debris including old food particles that build up and cause the odor. According to Absolute Appliance Repair, a drain that has a kinked hose, or an air loop that is too low can contribute significantly to the buildup of food particles that do not flush out. When the hose is too low it cannot get the amount of force to push all food particles out. A kink in the hose can also contribute to a bad smell coming from your dishwasher.

A faulty thermostat

If your dishwasher has a high loop, another potential cause of the problem is a faulty thermostat. The best way to check your thermostat is to determine if your dishwasher reaches a temperature of at least 120 degrees during the midcycle of a heated rinse. You can also test it by putting some shortening on a spoon and check to see if the dishwasher completely cleans the spoon. If there is any grease left on the spoon at the end of the cycle, your thermostat may need to be replaced. Replacing the thermostat will help to increase the water temperature and over time, it should help to remove any grease and particle buildups that are responsible for causing the odor, but it will take time for the problem to go away.

Debris located in the filter

Another cause of rotten egg smell in your dishwasher is a dirty filter. Pull out the filter and clean it with a detergent that is known to eliminate grease buildup. Dawn dish soap is one of the best for the job. After pulling the filter out, scrub it well with Dawn. Use a brush with bristles and hot water to remove all of the residues that have built up. The type of dishwasher detergent you use can contribute to a buildup of gunk around the filter. You may also want to consider changing the brand of detergent if this is the case. A dirty filter can lead to the disgusting smell of rotten eggs. The dishwasher filter is usually found at the bottom of the unit near the washing arms.

Dirty dishwasher gasket

Appliance Houz points out that another potential problem that can make your dishwasher smell like rotten eggs is dirty dishwasher gasket. Grease and food particles can also collect in this area. When that happens, bacteria can form that is responsible for the smell of rotten eggs. The dishwasher gasket is located around the inner part of the door. It is the material that seals your dishwasher when the door is closed. Inspect this carefully and give it a thorough cleaning with Dawn dish detergent to make sure that there are no nasty buildups of grease and tiny food particles. You can also use a solution of baking soda to help eliminate any odor-causing bacteria from the seal.

Dead pest in the dishwasher

Another potential cause could be a pest such as a mouse or large bugs that have found their way into your dishwasher unit and died. It’s a good idea to take the dishwasher apart periodically and check for dead pests if there is a problem with odors. Pests can fit into the smallest places and it’s worth investigating.

Backed up garbage disposal

A backup in your garbage disposal can also cause your dishwasher to smell like rotten eggs. The problem occurs when the dishwasher’s drain hose connects to the garbage disposal. If there are any food particles or grease built up in the garbage disposal it will cause terrible odors to form when you use your dishwasher. The solution to the problem is to clean the garbage disposal. One of the best methods for doing this is to put a stopper in your sink, then fill the sink to halfway full with cold water. Add ice cubes to the water along with a quarter cup of baking soda and a third cup of lemon juice. After you get the solution mixed, just turn on the garbage disposal and remove the plug. Amazingly, the ice freezes any grime off of the blades for removal and it also helps to sharpen them. Lemon juice helps to cut the grease and the baking soda gives it an extra boost while removing any offensive odors from the garbage disposal unit. This is a simple solution with items that most people have in their homes.


The first step for eliminating the smell of rotten eggs from your dishwasher is to identify the source. We’ve provided you with the most common reasons for dishwasher odors. One or more of these issues may be working together to contribute to the vile odor so it’s important to investigate each potential problem area and to take the appropriate steps to fix the problem.

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