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Why does my dishwasher smell like the dishtank at Applebee’s?

Aspen D. recently asked:

Q: HeyEd, why does my dishwasher smell like the dishtank at Applebee’s? This happens when I go to put the newly cleaned dishes away. Help!

A: Hey Aspen, here are a few suggestions to try:

  1. Try hand washing your actual dishwasher thoroughly without any harsh abrasives, ( they will scratch the plastic and absorb even more odors).
  2. After that, do the vinegar thing and run it 2 or 3 times without any dishes in it, or if you have a rinse or clean cycle only, use that.
  3. Do you have an air gap? Some plumbing codes don’t require one and instead allow a “high loop,” which means taking the dishwasher drain hose and attaching it as high inside the cabinet as possible, then letting it fall back down again to the sink drain, (or disposal, however it is arranged), in order to keep the drain water from running back into the dishwasher. If you have one of these arrangements, check to see that the hose is attached high enough, then goes back down to the drain inside the sink cabinet. Often the waste water getting back into the line can be the source of the smell.
  4. Sometimes the smell from the garbage disposal can back draft into the dishwasher, clean out your disposal using lemon grinds and old ice cubes, then take an old toilet scrub brush, dis- infect it with real hot water and push it up and down the disposal cove, turning the blackish brown nasty sludge under the lips out and wipe off. Try it and let me know!

Winkleman Home Inspections

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