Why Does My Bosch Dishwasher Smell?

It's easy to stick dirty dishes in a dishwasher. Activate a few buttons, and it's clean in a few hours. Bosch is one manufacturer that provides reliable dishwashers. However, like any dishwasher, it begins to smell at some point. If you're wondering why that is, let's discuss the details. 

Dishwashers don't work through magic. The leftover food on the dishes needs to go somewhere. Unfortunately, it goes in the dishwasher's filter. After a while, enough food particles collect and create a stinky odor. To get rid of the smell, you need to clean the filter.

It would be amazing if dishwashers could do it all. While it eliminates the effort of washing dishes by hand, there's still some effort involved. However, this time you'll need to clean the dishwasher itself. Thankfully, it's not a difficult task. To learn more on this topic, keep reading.

An opened Bosch dishwasher, Why Does My Bosch Dishwasher Smell?

How Does A Dishwasher Work?

Dishwashers work by using dish detergent and spraying hot water. It takes a long while to complete a wash cycle because it ensures all the leftover food is removed from the dishes. 

If you look inside a dishwasher, you'll see that it doesn't have too many components. There are some racks and spray arms that point upward. If it sprays water upward, it means everything must come down. Therefore, food particles, liquids, and sauces will gather along the bottom. 

However, it doesn't allow everything to go through. Dishwashers will have two filters. One catches smaller particles, and the other catches big ones. 

Since there's a spray bar along the bottom, it will accidentally catch some of the food. This is why dishwashers become less effective at cleaning as time goes by. That's if you don't clean it routinely, however.

If you're wondering what goes on inside a dishwasher as it's cycling, here's a video demonstrating it:

How Does A Dishwasher Become Stinky?

All the dirt and grime gather at the bottom of the dishwasher. Accordingly, that's where you will likely find the source of the odor. The odor is likely the result of large pieces of food that have begun rotting.

Getting rid of the smell requires you to clean the filters. You'll also have to clean the spray bar. The spray bar has tiny holes that food can settle in. If the smell is still there, you might need more help to combat the odor. Before we get to that, let's discuss how to clean a Bosch dishwasher filter.

Cleaning A Bosch Dishwasher Filter

A high tech Bosch dishwasher in the kitchen

The first step in cleaning the filter is locating it. Fortunately, the location of a dishwasher filter is the same for most models. It will be under the bottom rack. So, remove the rack on the bottom to access the filter. If necessary, you can also remove the top one. 

Removing The Filter And Spray Bar

There will be two components that should immediately catch your eye. The handle-like component is the spray bar, and it sits over the filter. 

The filter is the cylindrical component. You can remove the spray bar by pulling it up. However, the filter releases when you turn it counterclockwise. Then, you can pull it up. 

The method to release the filter may vary from model to model. If you're having trouble, look at the owner's manual. This way, you can avoid breaking components accidentally. 

Cleaning The Filter And Spray Bar

Now you should see the cylinder filter under the mesh screen. The condition of it will vary from dishwasher to dishwasher. Some might have a small accumulation of food on there. 

Others might have a ton of food particles there. Regardless of the situation, you don't want to start by rinsing it in the sink. Otherwise, the items causing your dishwasher to stink will make the drain stink. 

For this reason, you should grab a cleaning brush and head to a garbage can. Scrub the muck off the filter. Remove as much grime as you can before you head to the sink.  Then, rinse the filter with warm soapy water. Wash all sides of it. Make sure to rinse the mesh screen too. 

Here's a YouTube video demonstrating the process in detail:

Spray Bar

To clean the spray bar, you'll need a toothpick. Alternatively, you can try using pipe cleaners. In any case, it needs to be narrow enough to enter the holes of the spray bar. 

Click here to see these pipe cleaners on Amazon.

Clean each hole until there is no food debris. Then, rinse the spray bar under warm water. Afterward, let the water run through the funnel in the middle of the spray bar. 

This way, it can flush out any food debris lingering inside. If you need visual guidance, here's a YouTube video to help:

Cleaning The Bottom Of The Dishwasher

Before putting the filter and spray bar back into place, clean the bottom of the dishwasher. Remove any clumps of muck that you find. Depending on how long you've held off on cleaning, you might want to use a sponge that you don't mind throwing out. 

If there's an excess of water near the impeller, remove it. Use a sponge to absorb the liquid. Afterward, place the spray bar and filter back into place. 

It shouldn't take any effort to place them back. Of course, turn the filter clockwise to lock it back into place. At this point, you've taken out the source of the odor. 

How To Remove Odors From A Dishwasher

Bosch dishwasher appliances for sale at a store

Eliminating the source of the smell isn't enough in some cases. For this reason, you'll need the help of some cleaners. You don't have to purchase one; you can make use of some materials you have at home. 

Fill a cup with distilled white vinegar. Then, place it on the top rack of the dishwasher. Run a normal cycle. Once the cycle finishes, remove the cup of vinegar. You will need to run a second cycle. However, you'll need to sprinkle baking soda along the bottom. Take a cup of it and spread it around. 

Finally, let it cycle. Once it finishes, your dishwasher should be odor free! Here's a YouTube video demonstrating the process:

How To Prevent The Dishwasher From Developing Odors

Man removing the dishwasher filter

No one likes to open a dishwasher only to discover a funky smell. It makes the process of loading it unbearable. The odor can get bad enough to make anyone gag.

If you want to avoid this situation from happening frequently, you'll need to change your habits. You should be more mindful of the dishes you load into the dishwasher. Yes, the dishwasher is in charge of cleaning your plates.

However, that doesn't mean you should eliminate all effort on your part. Before loading dirty dishes into the machine, scrape any large food particles into the garbage. Lightly rinse it under the sink too.

Afterward, let the dishwasher do the rest of the work. Of course, it's essential to clean the filter periodically. In addition, run vinegar and baking soda cycles shortly afterward. Make this a part of your monthly routine. This way, there won't be an odor problem at all.

How Often Should You Clean A Dishwasher?

Man removing the dishwasher filter to clean it

Appliances make our lives easier. But, they can make it harder if we don't maintain them. You don't have to clean the dishwasher every month, but it's recommended to clean it a few times each year to keep it functional and odorless. With that said, if you use it frequently, consider cleaning it monthly.

Otherwise, once every two to three months is the better choice. It's a good timeframe for general cleaning. You could also reserve one day of the year to deep clean it. Deep cleaning of the dishwasher involves scrubbing components like the filter, seal, drain, etc.

The Danger Of Forgetting To Clean The Dishwasher

It's not uncommon to find some dishwashers in homes that haven't been cleaned in a while. Some people hold it off for too long, and others aren't aware that dishwashers need maintenance at all.

Forgetting to clean the dishwasher has no consequences initially. It will work, but it will become less efficient over time. Odor is one symptom, but the worst outcome is a drain blockage.

The dishwasher will not wash the dishes because the food will block the water from reaching the spray bar. In other instances, a dirty dishwasher will only redistribute the food it's supposed to clean.

Did you ever run a cycle only to find food particles all over the place? It's on your cups, plates, and maybe even bowls. This indicates there's too much food debris at the bottom.

If anything, the filter cleaning video above should be enough reason to stop holding off on dishwasher maintenance. Would you want to mess with that yellow muck under the filter all the time?

In Closing

An opened Bosch dishwasher

Machines make our daily chores a breeze. However, these machines need care too. Dishwashers become stinky when the filter becomes clogged with food. Hopefully, you manage to get rid of the smell.

Before you go, do you have other dishwasher concerns? Do you need help unclogging the drain hose? To learn more, check out:

How To Unclog A Dishwasher Drain Hose

Is your Bosch dishwasher not working? We can help you find the culprit. For more information, check out:

Bosch Dishwasher Not Working – What Could Be Wrong?

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