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Jun 8, 2012 02:09 PM

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.

          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.

            2 Replies
            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!

              1. re: jmcarthur8

                One way to resolve this is to leave the door open or ajar to allow it to thoroughly dry, just like people with front load washing machines need to do.
                I usually leave the door wide open all night after I unload the dishwasher and have never had a mildew problem.

              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


                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.


                    2. re: Bill Hunt


                      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,