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My new dishwasher smells like a wet swampy bird merged with an aquarium...gross!

My beloved high end Kitchen Aid that was the mothership of all dishwashers that busted it's ass for me 5-6 times a week, for 7 years when we built the house, finally went to dishwasher heaven..

Bought a cheaper $700 version floor model since trying to find a mid-range dishwasher in stock is almost impossible...at least in San Diego...there is super cheap or super high end..no middle.

Anyway, I've put vinegar in the rinse cycle because you can really smell the wet swampy bird/aquarium...nothing like trying to drink wine, ice tea and you get the waifs of skunk ape hanging in the Everglades all summer and it's so horrid and it won't go away..

Do any of you have any ideas how to get rid of the smell..
I will forever be thankful.

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  1. Is the interior plastic, fiberglass, stainless or a combo. Can you pinpoint where the odor is coming from? Did you try calling the dealer and asking them if this is why this was a floor model? Did you notice a smell in the floor area where your old d.w. was removed? $700.00 ain't cheap. Baking soda and vinegar, lemon juice and products sold to de-funk sinks all come to mind as long as you don't cause a harsh chemical issue for the appliance parts.

    6 Replies
    1. re: HillJ

      Interior is plastic..and being a floor model, DH thought maybe their was some water in the lines..he's retracted that statement.
      Beloved dishwasher conked out 5 hours before a dinner party at the house and we were frantic to replace since I had a full dishwasher loaded ready for the wash cycle.
      $700 ain't cheap and we were frantic to get a dishwasher before the party..floor model looks just like the other one except the name and the interior is plastic vs. stainless..they took $100 off and they said it was because of a ding at the top that we couldn't see.
      The vinegar worked for the first week and now, its back to skunk ape in a rainstorm with a eau de sulfur smell too.

      I really appreciate HillJ any and all tips you have...would dryer sheets work..hee hee

      1. re: Beach Chick

        If you hired an installer or the dealer sent their own guy, ask about the work he did. Did he use putty at the water line that smells? It could be related to the install and not the dishwasher itself. I would call the dealership. Good luck!

        I'm afraid dryer sheets won't work this time, :))

        1. re: HillJ

          LOL...my 'installer' is my beloved husband..there lies the smelly problem.
          He's a MacGvyer kind of guy...I'll ask about the putty at the water line.
          Thanks!

          1. re: Beach Chick

            Lol is right...your installer-husband does he have a sense of smell? Does he smell the same thing you do, lol!! How about under the dishwasher, anything smelly there? If you tried de=funking the appliance already, my guess is it ain't the appliance but something connected to it.

          2. re: HillJ

            I am wondering if he installed the drain line about the sink trap because it sounds like it might be below the sink trap which would allow sewer gas to get back in the dishwasher.

            There is a possibly that there is water pooling somewhere in the discharge line instead of draining out.

            1. re: Kelli2006

              Yep, this happened to us. We had a plumber come and do it correctly and everything was fine. Usually, you know this is your problem because you'll have water coming back into your dishwasher from the discharge line after the cycle is complete.

      2. I also read this, sit a dish filled with baking soda inside the dishwasher for a day or two to absorb any remaining odors.

        1. Have you called the dealer and told them about the problem?

          1 Reply
          1. Beach Chick - try this - take a paper towel and run it down along the front edge of the dishwasher tub, between the door hinges, from side to side. There's a rubber flap that seals that area when the door is closed, and it can get really funky in there. Mine gets a film of black mildew, and a good wiping out with bleach water helps. I got a Samsung just a year or two ago, and have had this problem from the beginning.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jmcarthur8

              Wow, excellent call, jm. But gosh you had that odor on the rubber from the minute you bought your box? That's some lousy funky rubber!

            2. OK, you have got to be more specific.

              Is that "swampy bird" an egret, a seagull, a sea-eagle, an osprey, a frigate bird, or maybe a wet albatross? Each smells different, so it might be useful to know exactly WHICH "swampy bird" you are talking about. I'd guess a Gray Gull, but could be wrong.

              Now, let's address the smell, regardless of the species of "swampy bird," and get on with things.

              Do not load the dishwasher with dishes. Place 2 tbs. of Borax, or Boraxo (the "20 Mule Team " stuff, that President Reagan touted, before you were born), and then run your kitchen faucet on hot, until the water IS hot. Then, run your dishwasher on the max (I know Kitchen Aid units,but not sure what you got). Let it complete the cycle. Open the door, and prop it open for a day.

              Smell inside. "Swampy bird" still there?

              If so, repeat, but add one half cup of vinegar, right into the bottom of the unit. Run hot water, until it IS hot, then turn on the dishwasher. Let cycle complete, and dry.Smell again.

              If you still have a "swampy bird" smell, please remove he dead albatross from the upper rack, and try again.

              Good luck

              Hunt

              9 Replies
              1. re: Bill Hunt

                Laughing my ass off on your post Bill...
                ;- )

                1. re: Beach Chick

                  Yeah he's a real hoot. Did you figure out the culprit?

                  1. re: HillJ

                    He's a piece of work...
                    Called the customer service but closed till Monday.
                    DH thinks there's a little funk in the lines and I think I have Bigfoot with swamp bird living in my dishwasher.

                    1. re: Beach Chick

                      Sounds like you have algae or mold from water pooling somewhere instead of draining correctly.

                    2. re: HillJ

                      Yes. We looked and found that an albatross had gotten into the dishwasher, at just the wrong time. Hey, it happens.

                      We had the smell of a "dead, swampy (though in that case an "ocean") bird, plus there WERE the feathers.

                      After we removed the albatross, and the feathers, a bit of Borax, and vinegar, cleaned things up nicely.

                      Now, had it been a loon, who knows? Those guys are really hard to clean out.

                      Hunt

                  2. re: Bill Hunt

                    *chortle*

                    and here I was going to suggest making sure all the filter baskets have been emptied and rinsed in a mixture of hot water and vinegar....

                    ..make sure you leave the door open (just a few millimetres/a fraction of an inch is enough) so you don't trap a lot of excess moisture when it's not running. A very easy way to do this is just to lay a pencil on top of the door -- the pencil is just big enough to keep the door from closing completely.

                    Run it on the pot-scrubber/hottest/power wash cycle -- empty - with just a spoonful of bleach to really kill all the gremlins that it sounds like you have living there.

                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                      Bill: Boraxo in the bottom AND vinegar in the surfactant port?? OK to add vinegar to the surfactant port if there's still Jet Dri in there?

                      1. re: toodie jane

                        I sprinkle the Boraxo (actually Borax, as I am not sure that the Boraxo brand is still around?), and then I pour the vinegar into the detergent container, and shut the lid. On my Kitchen Aid DW, I run Normal+High Temp Scrub+Sani Rinse.

                        Hope that helps,

                        Hunt

                    2. Make sure he installed a drain loop on the drain hose.The drain hose also shouldn't run thru the flloor to the basement,then back up the the kitchen drain pipes/disposal. It should simply run though the common wall next to the sink to hook up with the drain pipe or disposal.

                      The problem could also be a faulty or broken off anode rod in your water heater that is causing the odor with your water.

                      1. Umm, dead mice between the dishwasher and the wall? Hey, you never know...

                        Jerseygirl111

                        1. I finally got a hold of customer service rep and the nice man said that 3 possibly scenarios..
                          #1..a mouse or small animal in the sump pump area.....freaked the freak out when he was telling me this..#2 air in the lines..not possibly since we have an air gap stop...#3 algae in the hose line.
                          MacGyver the DH, states that the animal situation would be way smellier than swamp bird meets an aquarium..
                          Rep said smells are more common than you think and and 2 cups of white vinegar, usually does the trick and since its under warranty and not to meddle to void the warranty.

                          Loving all your responses!

                          16 Replies
                            1. re: HillJ

                              Fire MacGvyer and bring in Mr. Appliance man..
                              ;- )

                            2. re: Beach Chick

                              not to mention that dead critter doesn't smell like swamp - -it smells like...dead critter.

                              1. re: sunshine842

                                Just the thought of a dead critter in my wash cycle and having 'dead critter' film all over the glasses/dishes...quivering like a chihuahua just thinking about it.

                                1. re: sunshine842

                                  LOL, I have so enjoyed reading all this. Though I know next to nothing about dishwashers (other than my hands), I am familier with dead animals and the smell. With an outdoor cat (that likes to hunt), 2 dogs (also likes to hunt and bring home dead things), nearby fields of cattle, and local deer hunters shooting deers nearby, I know all about the dead animal thing.
                                  Dead animals do not smell like a swamp or wet birds.
                                  I am betting on the algea, mold thing and water not draining properly.

                                2. re: Beach Chick

                                  Now, a mouse in line # 1 is OK, but NOT in line#2. Got to get that sorted out!

                                  My rec. would be to meet Hunt on an Hawai`ian beach somewhere, and let "The Maytag Man" sort things out. THEN, just return, when all was cool, and enjoy your dishwasher.

                                  Hunt

                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                    Aloha Bill...
                                    'My rec. would be to meet Hunt on an Hawai`ian beach somewhere'
                                    Excellent idea and would love that..Mama's Fish House in Maui!

                                    Albatross in your dishwasher...are you pulling my leg?

                                    1. re: Beach Chick

                                      Sounds great, but NO, I am not kidding.

                                      An albatross smells a bit different, than a gray gull does. If your dishwasher smells of albatross, then I would definitely use Borax (two tablespoons) and then add white vinegar to the surfactant dispenser (where you do JetDry), and first, run the kitchen's faucet on HOT for about 3 mins.. Then, run the empty dishwasher (make sure that there are NO albatrosses, or gray gulls in it), on the max cleaning setting. For me, that would be Normal>Sani-Scrub>High Temp Rinse. Your dishwasher might differ.

                                      Just make danged sure that there are NO albatrosses, or gray gulls IN the dishwasher!

                                      Aloha,

                                      Hunt

                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                        Bill, wouldn't that be albatri? ;-)

                                        1. re: jmcarthur8

                                          Or maybe albatroiss?

                                          Not sure what would be correct, for a "gaggle" of albatross birds. Hey, are a bunch of them a gaggle, or maybe a "herd," or something else?

                                          Hard to say, but let's just state that if the dishwasher smells like more than one albatross, then something is wrong.

                                          Hunt

                                        2. re: Bill Hunt

                                          How the hell did an albatross fly into your dishwasher?
                                          Inquiring minds want to hear all about this one.

                                          1. re: Beach Chick

                                            Could have been a gray gull, who just ate a bunch of Monterey Bay sardines, and smelled rather like an albatross?

                                            What if it was really a wet loon?

                                            Still, I'd do Borax and vinegar. Should be helpful.

                                            Hunt

                                              1. re: Beach Chick

                                                While it is true that large dead animals smell putrid, dead mice sometimes have a sour or baby diaper smell. I used to work for an air duct cleaning company and we pulled all sorts of dead animals out of air ducts -and walls- mice, snakes, birds, bats, rats, squirrels, raccoons, etc. in our office we had a dead mouse behind the built in desks in the office, we could not find it for the longest time...it does not smell like your average large dead animal, it just smelled like sour milk.

                                                1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                  Dead mouse smell like rotten cheese

                                  2. Please don't leave us hanging. You must come back and tell us what the final answer/solution was.....

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: acgold7

                                      Hey ac!
                                      Going to make an appt that will be paid for under warranty but the smell hasn't come back in the last couple of weeks..
                                      I'll video tape when Mr. Appliance man is here so I can see him pull out the flock of seagulls and a small aquarium..
                                      ;- )

                                          1. re: Beach Chick

                                            Oh come on now, that was a given!

                                          2. re: HillJ

                                            Now, I knew that LG had some 'fridges, that had video monitors on the front door, but dishwashers? That is new to me.

                                            Hunt

                                          3. re: Beach Chick

                                            Oh great. We'll get a half-hour of your plumber, bending over the DW, with his trousers half-way down his backside... [Grin]

                                            No, please DO let us know the "cure."

                                            Good luck,

                                            Hunt

                                        1. Have to weigh in on this and say my newer Bosch has had the same problem. Old gym socks soaked in green aquarium water is how I'd describe it. It gets bad sometimes. My plumber thought maybe bits of food stuck in discharge line, but pulled it and it was fine. He says to run bit of hot water to fill the bottom of tray, add cup of bleach and run. This works for a few days, then the smell returns.

                                          I do regularly clean the mesh screen in the sump area, but water that stands there is always a bit funky. The thing is our original cheapo contractor-installed Generous Electric (Thump-O-Matic plastic model) got dishes sparkling and never smelled. The next, a Maytag, left ground-up food residue dried on. Now the stainlessBosch (about $1K) is stinky.

                                          Is this just another round of Appliance Hell? (new Whirlpool fridge has already had new thermo and new freezer drawer glides @ 3 months. sheesh.)

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: toodie jane

                                            toodie

                                            how often do you run the DW? there is always standing water in a DW to keep the seals wet. you should be running a few times a week.

                                            also check the drain loop to make sure that has no kinks and has a smooth high run to the drain

                                            1. re: tfed

                                              Running almost daily . Hose run looks good. but THANKS. Do you think it'd be ok to put a couple --2-- drops lavendar oil in the water? It's a disinfectant and antibacterial.

                                              Hubby would've been able to fix ;-(

                                              1. re: toodie jane

                                                I wouldn't -- just because it will then deposit a thin film of oil right back on your dishes. Probably not enough to taste, but enough to make a smeary film.

                                                1. re: toodie jane

                                                  I don't know that two drops of EO will make dishes greasy. I put more grease in there via my plates all the time. BUT: what about an enzyme cleaner? Whenever I catch a whiff of dishwasher funk, I squirt a generous amount of Biokleen Bac-Out around the thing and let it sit. It works well.

                                              2. re: toodie jane

                                                Going back some years (well probably a decade), we had a DW that got rather funky. It died, and we replaced it with the top-of-the-line GE Monogram of the day. One thing that it had was a "waste food grinder," that pumped into the garbage disposal. For the two years that we lived there, never a bad smell.

                                                Moved and had a Kitchen Aid, that was an upper-level "builder's" model. After about 8 years, it died, and we replaced it. I looked for something like that old GE, but found zero. Finally went with the top-of-the-line (for that time) Kitchen Aide, and I do get some funky smells, but just do my cleanup routine, about every two months.

                                                What I normally get is a stale milk/cream (old lactic acid) sort of smell. It does help if we do a pre-rinse of the dinnerware, prior to inserting into the DW. Not sure how "green" that might be?

                                                Still, if the smells get real notice, the Boraxo and vinegar come out, and things are "clean and sweet smelling" for a month, or two.

                                                Hunt

                                                1. re: toodie jane

                                                  Having a rotten egg smell from my bosch everytime I start it, just now found black and white smelly gunky crap along the inside where door closes, my kenmore that lasted 22 years never did this, this one is supposed to be so great I hate it! If I had not spent 900 on it I would throw it out the door and go get a 400 one again.

                                                  You remember the tire lady with the tire throwing it through the window well imagine what I would like to do with this Bosch!!!!! Yes called manufacture, wants 80 dollars first 15 minutes then 75.00 per half hour for a plumber, tried vinegar, bleach, dishwasher cleansers, cleaned out bottom drain, cleaned disposal where smell comes from when I start the darn thing, have run water down gas vents on roof to make sure nothing is trapped there, this sewer smell is like a giant farted in my kitchen. when I start it run to the other end of the house. am lost on anyting else to do, can not afford a plumber, oh and have made sure drain line is above disposal!

                                                  1. re: magiccatdancing

                                                    That sounds a lot like the problem we are having. I swear it has to do with the way they have reformulated the dishwasher detergent. Combine that with the new energy saver dishwashers and you have a big problem. What sort of detergent do you use?

                                                2. I am still waiting on pins and needles to find out if this ever got resolved....

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: acgold7

                                                    LOL...you are a riot acgold7!
                                                    All is good with the smelly new dishwasher...gave it a splash of white vinegar and let it sit in the bottom for awhile and then ran and so far...so good.

                                                    The wet swampy bird has left the dishwasher...can I get a hallelujah.

                                                      1. re: Beach Chick

                                                        Glad to hear the problem is solved, but was really hoping for something more dramatic. Was leaning towards Hunt's suggestion of the Albatross with the sardines.

                                                        Anyway, glad it's fixed.

                                                    1. Please keep us posted on future success. After a year of ownership, I have had the same problem periodically with Kitchen Aid DW. I don;t know which is worse: the smell itself, or the embarrassment of having a guest come in the kitchen and catch me sniffing their glass and plate before serving. Yes, running a load with a cup of white vinegar in pyrex measuring cup in bottom basket gets the dead fish stink off the dishes but a few days/weeks/months later it comes back. I scrub off egg; I run disposer before starting DW; I keep rinse agent filled; I wipe out inside 'dead' area under door where goop can collect; I scream curses at my husband when he puts an unrinsed salmon salad dish in the DW. This has never happened with any other DW and since this didn;t happen for the first year I owned the Kitchen Aid I don;t believe it is a kink in the line.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: Sarasa

                                                        When this happened to my sister it was a dead rat in her crawl space. The rat died near the line in the space and the fumes finally caught wind in the kitchen area. Once the animal was removed and the space it got in through dealt with, smell never returned.

                                                          1. Two possible solutions:
                                                            1. Use a bottle of "Dishwasher Magic" to clean up the unit
                                                            2. Use Orange Cascade liquid or equivalent in lieu of Bosch's recommended tablets.

                                                            Note some dishes actually retain the bad smell...might have something to do with the glaze type.

                                                            Since doing the above, we've had a sweet smelling dishwasher experience.

                                                            1. New possible solution: reduce the amount of dishwasher soap to 1 tsp or 1 tbsp.

                                                              To see if it's your soap that's causing the problem (i.e. too much soap being used0, run your dishwasher with dishes and do not add any soap at all. When I did this, I had no odor at all. Further, once I reduced the amount of soap to between 1 tspn and 1 tbsp., the odor has not returned.

                                                              1. I'm having almost the exact same problem and just posted another post seeing if there are any new answers to this problem. I've read every suggestion here and tried every one of them. In addition to reading here on Chowhound, there are tons of other posts all over the internet describing comparable situations.

                                                                My challenge is that this problem is only happening every 20 cycles or so, making it challenging to track down the problem.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: wintersummer

                                                                  I am having the swampy dead bird smell also with a brand new Whirlpool. I've only used it 3 times. Went away for the weekend and I could smell it as soon as I entered the front door. Any word out there? Did anyone check the drain line or drain hose per the earlier suggestion? I had a handyman install rather than Lowes. Wondering if that voids any warranty?

                                                                  1. re: Gregoryr

                                                                    Before I had my new dishwasher installed by the contractor who was doing my kitchen remodel, I phoned the appliance dealer to find out if using the wrong installer would void the warranty. I was told that many buyers install dishwashers themselves, and that it wasn't necessary to use an "authorized" installer.

                                                                2. The inside of my new Bosch (SS interior) smells more like slowly-rotting fish. WHAT is with these dishwashers?????

                                                                  12 Replies
                                                                  1. re: CindyJ

                                                                    I have a new Bosch (ss interior) less than a year old -- I use it every 2-3 days and it doesn't smell at all.

                                                                    1. re: CindyJ

                                                                      I just got rid of my second Bosch dishwasher (they replaced the first one cuz they couldn't get rid of the odor. The second one was just as bad. They let me swap for another model so I tried the LG (high end model) - guess what!!! really bad odor already in my 2nd week after install. Have no clue what is going on as we tried every solution given with the Bosch and nothing worked... now i have to start all over again with this one... I miss my old GE low end dishwasher... so much for remodeling and upgrading appliances :-(

                                                                      1. re: poohkids2

                                                                        but that's a screaming underline, italics, bold-face, and flashing neon sign that the problem is NOT with the dishwasher(s) -- three dishwashers statistically cannot have the same problem.

                                                                        There's a problem with your plumbing and until you isolate and fix that problem, every dishwasher you install will have the same problem.

                                                                        (I'm going on just over a year with my Bosch and thus far it doesn't smell like anything at all)

                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                          I have been searching for an answer to this same problem for years, and have asked everyone, including several appliance repairmen, with no luck. One repairmen thought I was imaging things.

                                                                          When eating certain foods, such as milk products like ice cream or cereal when milk is added, it sets off the smell in the bowl and on the spoon so badly I cannot finish. So, I went out and bought Styrofoam bowls and plastic spoons so I can eat in peace.

                                                                          I now believe I have the answer and would like to share it with you. Please provide any feedback but first research this topic on the internet for articles providing characteristics including its smell. The answer is: It is in the water and it is called Iron Bacteria.

                                                                          This Iron Bacteria sticks to the plumbing and inner walls of your toilet tank and shows up as a rust-colored deposit or brown slime. It also builds up in the dishwasher’s plumbing and internal parts.

                                                                          The heat from the running dishwasher activates and bakes this bacteria onto the load of dishes and leaves its characteristic smell. That is why you do not typically smell it from unheated water. You will sometimes smell the same after a rain storm where the rain water activates the Iron Bacteria in the soil.

                                                                          I have a well but it will happen with city water also and here is why; the chlorination they put into the city water is too weak to kill the bacteria. Also, after the slime or biofilm builds up on your plumbing, inside your dishwasher and on the city’s water delivery system piping, the bacteria actually hide, live and reproduce within this film which is impenetrable and safe from chlorine treatment.

                                                                          That is why sunshine’s new dishwasher no longer smells but the smell will return over time as the bacteria builds up.

                                                                          I heavily treat my well water with chlorine, shock and algae guard and since this water is coming from its source, the well, it is also treating my entire plumbing system, including dishwasher, with that same concentration.

                                                                          Guess what? This application eliminates the smell for about 3 – 4 weeks and then it returns. Again, the bacteria are living within the slime and protected.

                                                                          So, the final answer is: Live with it until someone comes up with an answer or chemical that will successfully treat this problem. Please excuse me now, I have to go outside and chlorinate my well.

                                                                          1. re: TallSlimGuy

                                                                            I never experienced this problem until about a year ago with a dishwasher I never had a problem with (for over 4 years) until it all of a sudden started to smell. I am convinced the answer lies in the changes in the dishwasher detergent over the last few years.

                                                                            I have tried a couple of things which have helped (but not totally eliminated the problem). The first is that I have switched from the tablets back to the liquid detergent. Secondly, we have turned up our water heater. (Be very careful if you do this as even a slight turn can really increase the temperature of the water coming out of the faucets and shower.). I also clean out the filter in the base more often and once every week or two,I put a cup of white distilled vinegar in the top drawer of the empty dishwasher (along with the filter I have taken out of the bottom of the dishwasher) and I run it through a wash cycle. I don't really have the smell issue anymore but do see the grayish film start to build up in my filter after a few weeks. I may try powder detergent next to see if that makes any difference.

                                                                            1. re: TallSlimGuy

                                                                              sunshine's old dishwasher(s) never smelled, either.

                                                                              Sunshine also lives in an area that has a) treated municipal water, and b) in an area that has a very, very low level of dissolved iron in the water (very high calcium, though -- limestone substructures).

                                                                              I'd be installing a whole-house water purifier -- pronto.

                                                                              1. re: TallSlimGuy

                                                                                We are on a private well that has iron bacteria. When we first moved into this house 3 years ago the water was really smelly. Yet at that time the dishwasher did not smell. We put in a system that chlorinates and then filters the water. No more smelly water! The hot water still smells a little, something to do with the anode rod in the water heater, I forget the details now.

                                                                                Anyway, a year or so ago our dishes started to smell after washing them in the dishwasher. The dishwasher is about 14 years old. It smells like a cross between rotten fish and a stagnant swamp. It's very intermittent. It may not happen for weeks and then, bam! Swampy, fishy dishes. The dishwasher itself does not smell. It does not have filters that come out for cleaning, it has a food grinder. The drain line has the proper high loop. We don't have a garbage disposal.

                                                                                It is so frustrating. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason as to when it happens. I'm using Oxiclean dishwasher detergent, it's been happening less frequently but it still happens. I want to replace the dishwasher because it's extremely loud and the racks are rusting, but I'm afraid the new one will have the same problem.

                                                                                1. re: GinnyD

                                                                                  after 14 years, you're probably on rather limited time with the dishwasher.

                                                                                  if you have iron bacteria and rusted racks (and TallSlim's theory is correct) -- you've set up a perfect environment for the bacteria to thrive.

                                                                            2. re: poohkids2

                                                                              HI Poo

                                                                              Just interested in whether you read my posting and if it may fit your circumstances.

                                                                              1. re: TallSlimGuy

                                                                                I thought your theory was interesting but I have lived in this house for almost 20 years without having this problem (and the house was built in the late 40's), so I don't think bacteria would suddenly show up after all these years , (and I would think my neighbors would be experiencing the same thing) but I can't say that isn't the issue either. To me the fact that people did not have this issue with the older dishwashers makes me think that there is something about the newer dishwashers and the reconfigured dish washing detergent that is causing the problem. I would be curious to know what dishwasher detergent you use and how old your dishwasher is?

                                                                                1. re: TallSlimGuy

                                                                                  Thanks for your input... i'm still concerned because nothing was wrong until i renovated my kitchen and put in new appliances. Day 2 of the first "new" dishwasher was when it all began. I'm wondering if the plumbing around the garbage disposal may be configured wrong and water is sitting in the "J" tube area. I've cleaned my garbage disposal several times and do not put much down it because i was worried that was causing the issue. last night i ran it with some detergent that came with the dishwasher (almost the exact same as what i was using anyway) and right now it doesn't smell at all. very well could be the different detergents that Stella1006 was mentioning. I do miss the sanitize option i had with the bosch though...

                                                                                  1. re: poohkids2

                                                                                    By George, I think I may have figured this out. (Well, at least my problem, which is a smelly dishwasher and gray goopy stuff on the bottom (and in the filter), along with dishes that don't get as clean as they used to get after I ran the dishwasher.) Anyhoo, after many visits from two different appliance companies (where they replaced a heating element, motor and hose line), which didn't seem to help at all, I spent a lot of time researching this issue this issue on the internet and talking to plumbers and dishwasher suppliers and here is my theory:

                                                                                    In 2009 legislation was introduced to limit phosphates in dishwasher detergent. At some point in 2010, at least 16 or 17 states mandated that phosphates be removed from dishwasher detergents, and most (if not all) dishwasher detergent makers removed the phosphates (not wanting to make two different versions). Within a few months, dishwasher manufacturers, dishwasher detergent companies (along with cutlery and pots and pan manufacturers) started receiving numerous complaints about nasty smells, dirty dishes, speckled cups, pots and pans turning gray, glasses with fingerprints & lipstick and gray goop coating the bottom of dishwashers.

                                                                                    Flash forward to 2013 when I suddenly started experiencing the gray goop and nasty smell in my own 4 year old high end stainless steel Kitchen Aid dishwasher. After many visits from the appliance people and plumbers (and after having my heating element, motor, and water line replaced to no avail), I had had enough and turned to the lovely world wide web (do they call it that anymore?) to research this issue since it didn't seem to be an isolated problem.

                                                                                    I finally put two and two together after googling nasty dishwasher smell and reading all of the comments from this site (and many others), I realized that most of the comments started after the environmentally friendly companies (7th Generation for example) removed phosphates a year or two before the state legislated mandated removal, and really ramped up after Cascade and other main stream dishwasher detergent companies removed the phosphates from their detergent. I also realized that this wasn't an issue limited to one type of dishwasher and that the age of the dishwasher didn't seem to matter either.

                                                                                    This is all to say that it is probably not your dishwasher (or at least it wasn't until the dishwasher detergent clogged up your filter and lines in your dishwasher).

                                                                                    I am still researching what to do next but would be interested to hear from anyone following this website regarding what detergent you use and when your problem started?

                                                                                    As for me, I have just ordered online (from Amazon) two different kinds of dishwasher detergents that still contains phosphates and am going to use them exclusively for awhile to see what happens. Stay tuned.

                                                                            3. I made a comment about this two years ago. Thought I'd post an update. I am no closer to understanding why this happens, ergo, no closer to making it not happen again, but I do have a preventative solution.

                                                                              I pour a cup of cheap white vinegar in a pyrex measuring cup and place UPRIGHT on the top shelf before starting the dishwasher. It will get slowly distributed once the sprayers start. This works to prevent the smell from occurring. (Pouring it in the bottom of the dishwasher doesn't work as it gets flushed out on the first rinse.)

                                                                              Extra work, yes, but having to rewash dishes 2-3x (again, use white vinegar to get the smell off dishes) is even more work.

                                                                              I continue to do my initial "fixes" even though I'm not sure they really helped: wash off egg and cheese before putting in dishwasher, run disposer before, keep rinse agent dispenser filled, use "sani-rinse" (extra hot setting) to kill bacteria if that was what was causing it, and once a week I wipe the inside of the dishwasher just at the bottom of the door as slime can collect there.

                                                                              Such a PITA.

                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Sarasa

                                                                                I thought I would post my problem to save others time in the future. I had a swampy/dead animal smell coming from the dishwasher - it was worse when it was running. My dishwasher is in between the refrigertaor and sink, so the odor would msometimes come out of drawers on from the top of the fridge.

                                                                                We determined that the dishwasher was the offender, so I puleld it out and there was mouse droppings on the floor and also on the insulation of the washer. I cleaned all of this up, sprayed it with bleach, and put the dishwasher back. The smell did not go away.

                                                                                Removed the insulation this time and inspected the bottom of the washer - there was a mouse nest deep inside underneath the pump motor, not to mention lots of mouse droppings and urine. Had to remove the base from the washer to be able to clean it properly. At that time I found the remains of a dead mouse. Apparently it climbed inside the air hose that comes from the side and died. It slowly decomposed inside the hose, thus the smell when it ran.

                                                                                So in summary, until you inspect the entire dishwasher, I would not rule out a dead mouse. The decomposed remains were stuck inside the hose, so I had to replace that as well in addition to all the insulation. Cost about $100 in parts plus about 4 hours of my time.

                                                                                1. re: jwbst21

                                                                                  Gross!
                                                                                  So does that mean that every time you ran your dishwasher, the decomposing mouse remains would be sprayed around your glasses, dishes and utensils?

                                                                                  Quivering like a Chihuahua just thinking about it.

                                                                                  1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                    Fortunately, it was the air discharge hose, so only decomposing mouse smell going out of the machine. Any other way would have resulted in a new dishwasher!

                                                                                2. re: Sarasa

                                                                                  I had this problem for a year and half. Finally tracked it down to the outside connection of the water line with our sprinkler system. We got our sprinkler guy to redo the connection and dig out below the connection and put in extra drain rock, and problem is finally solved!

                                                                                3. I just bought a brand new Samsung dishwasher and it started to smell after the very first wash. The smell starts ~2 days after the wash cycle. It's not sewer gas, not a dead animal carcass. The supply and drain lines are new. The old dishwasher never did this (dial type, 18y/o), the dishwasher at my last house (GE, ~8y/o never did this.

                                                                                  After finding tons of posts like this one, I have a suspicion that these new machines are poorly designed, or perhaps designed to try to meet some EPA energy super savings baloney.

                                                                                  The service shop told my friend (who has a new KichenAid, same problem), to run the d/w empty through a cycle with vinegar or tang AFTER EVERY WASH. Really? That is a joke.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: keeena

                                                                                    Mine not only has the wet dog smell....there is a film on my dishes...a powdery oily film....and it is grossing me out. I
                                                                                    I live on the second floor,,,does that matter?
                                                                                    Also in the hallway my washing machine has a poopy smell.
                                                                                    Hate my situation.
                                                                                    Maintenance tells me I am imagining things.
                                                                                    Bull crap I am!

                                                                                  2. I have the same problem so I know how you feel. That same smell gets stuck onto the dishes and silverware and makes me sick because I notice it as I am eating.

                                                                                    I believe I know what is making this smell - Do you have a well as your water supply?

                                                                                    Let me know your answer and if you do have a well please describe it such as dug or drilled, how deep and its general condition.

                                                                                    1. Add me to the list of people who found this post after googling terrible smell in dishwasher. Mine started in my 4 year old higher end KitchenAid about a year ago. After 5 service visits (heating element in motherboard and hose linking dishwasher to sink both replaced), we are still were still getting that yucky smell and slimey gray goop in filter and on plastic parts in bottom of the dishwasher. As a last ditch effort, I asked my plumber what he thought and after looking at the dishwasher and starting it, he told me that he believes that the water isn't getting hot enough to dissolve the dishwasher tablets I have been using and therefore the gray slimy is really soap that hasn't fully dissolved. (That made some sense to me as I realized that I had indeed switched from Cascade liquid dishwasher soap to the Cascade tablets a few weeks before this all started). Since then, we've switched back to liquid and I run the washer on Sani-rinse. This has all helped a lot but not totally solved the problem as I can see the gray goo coming back (although not as quickly as before). Because I do not want to pay one more penny to fix this washer, I am throwing in the towel and am going to get a new dishwasher (Bosch this time), and use only liquid or powder soap.

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Stella1006

                                                                                        Stella,

                                                                                        Did you see my post? What is the source of the water used for the dishwasher? Is it well water and if so is it dug or drilled and how old and what condition?

                                                                                        Thank you.

                                                                                        I have the same problem so I know how you feel. That same smell gets stuck onto the dishes and silverware and makes me sick because I notice it as I am eating.

                                                                                        I believe I know what is making this smell - Do you have a well as your water supply?

                                                                                        Let me know your answer and if you do have a well please describe it such as dug or drilled, how deep and its general condition.

                                                                                        1. re: TallSlimGuy

                                                                                          TallSlimGuy,

                                                                                          Did you see my answer. Not sure it went through. No, we don't use well water, only city water. I do think that for some reason, the water isn't hot enough to dissolve the soap tablets all the way and the leftover dishsoap is coating the bottom of the dishwasher so right now, I am hitting the sani-rinse and proscrub buttons and that seems to be helping. Not sure it's totally eliminated the problem though. Will be looking for a new dishwasher soon.

                                                                                      2. Major empathy to those with problem. We had similar issue with our Electrolux EWDW6505GS (IKON model I think) about 3 years ago, when it was about 18mo old. Horrid knock socks off odor, kind of white film on dishes. Contemplated replacing, getting plumber, was it septic system, etc etc.

                                                                                        Finally I started to remove the trays so as to run the dw completely empty and I found that a semi-flexible plastic mesh "envelope" that was for washing can lids etc in (orig mfg, came with DW) was starting to deteriorate, in parts had almost turned into mush. That was the culprit. Removed it, ran a couple of empty cycles and all is well.

                                                                                        Called Electrolux to ask for a new one, cust. service didn't have any idea what it was, their online item description did not list it anymore. it definitely had come with that DW. Have never used pods, only about 1/3 amount of liquid or powder Finish detergent and rinse aid.

                                                                                        1. I have been searching for an answer to this same problem for years, and have asked everyone, including several appliance repairmen, with no luck. One repairmen thought I was imaging things.

                                                                                          When eating certain foods, such as milk products like ice cream or cereal when milk is added, it sets off the smell in the bowl and on the spoon so badly I cannot finish. So, I went out and bought Styrofoam bowls and plastic spoons so I can eat in peace.

                                                                                          I now believe I have the answer and would like to share it with you. Please provide any feedback but first research this topic on the internet for articles providing characteristics including its smell. The answer is: It is in the water and it is called Iron Bacteria.

                                                                                          This Iron Bacteria sticks to the plumbing and inner walls of your toilet tank and shows up as a rust-colored deposit or brown slime. It also builds up in the dishwasher’s plumbing and internal parts.

                                                                                          The heat from the running dishwasher activates and bakes this bacteria onto the load of dishes and leaves its characteristic smell. That is why you do not typically smell it from unheated water. You will sometimes smell the same after a rain storm where the rain water activates the Iron Bacteria in the soil.

                                                                                          I have a well but it will happen with city water also and here is why; the chlorination they put into the city water is too weak to kill the bacteria. Also, after the slime or biofilm builds up on your plumbing, inside your dishwasher and on the city’s water delivery system piping, the bacteria actually hide, live and reproduce within this film which is impenetrable and safe from chlorine treatment.

                                                                                          That is why sunshine’s new dishwasher no longer smells but the smell will return over time as the bacteria builds up.

                                                                                          I heavily treat my well water with chlorine, shock and algae guard and since this water is coming from its source, the well, it is also treating my entire plumbing system, including dishwasher, with that same concentration.

                                                                                          Guess what? This application eliminates the smell for about 3 – 4 weeks and then it returns. Again, the bacteria are living within the slime and protected.

                                                                                          So, the final answer is: Live with it until someone comes up with an answer or chemical that will successfully treat this problem. Please excuse me now, I have to go outside and chlorinate my well.

                                                                                          1. I thought I had solved my problem, but it came back. I've managed to rule out the dishwasher - looks like it's something to do with the air outside. Here's what I've done:
                                                                                            1. Hired lab to test my water for bacteria. It came back negative for bacteria.
                                                                                            2. Here's the strangest thing. When I take a clean glass from the dishwasher it smells fine. But, if I take that clean, dry glass outside, and waive it in outside air for 5 seconds, then bring it back inside, after about 30 seconds the glass stinks.
                                                                                            3. Found out that if we unload the dishwasher with any windows open in the kitchen, the same smell is in our dishwasher and all the dishes. If we do it with windows closed, we're fine.

                                                                                            Does this make any sense to anyone??!!

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: mdmdmd

                                                                                              The air from the window is drying out the dishwasher and the smell returns when it is dry. The iron bacteria is at low quantity in the water and not picked up by the lab test.

                                                                                              Stella1006 is onto the answer. The phosphates that used to be in detergents have been removed by law. These phosphates worked well to rinse the dishes clean and removed the iron bacteria smell. When the phosphates went out the smell came in.

                                                                                              Here is the solution: Add a package of Crystal Light to the detergent holder along with your detergent and run a load. The dishes and machine will come out clean and without odor. I also use 1/2 teaspoon of Comet or Comet with Lemon and obtain the same results.

                                                                                              Let me know if it works for you all.

                                                                                              Here is an article to copy and paste into your browser titled Iron Bacteria in Well Water. It refers to wells but applies to all water sources:

                                                                                              www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/wells/...

                                                                                            2. There are hundreds of these posts around the internet. If it's so prevalent, it's not the consumer's washing habits, it's the dishwasher.
                                                                                              Here's some interesting reading
                                                                                              http://debralynndadd.com/q-a/chemical...

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: judith57

                                                                                                Our posting is not complaining about "a strong chemical or plastic smell".

                                                                                                We are having a different problem.

                                                                                              2. Use Affresh dishwasher cleaner at the start of each month. Leave the dishwasher door slightly open when not in use.

                                                                                                 
                                                                                                1. I had that problem and it wasn't the dishwasher, it was the installation. The drain pipes weren't at the proper angle so sour water ran back to the dishwasher from the kitchen sink and made the dishwasher smell like a swamp.
                                                                                                  Once the drains were corrected, no more problem.