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If you’ve noticed a foul odor coming from inside your dishwasher after you’ve used it to clean your dishes and silverware, you’re not alone. A pungent sulfur smell is not something you want to associate with your clean dishes.

Over the years we’ve heard all sorts of descriptions from people saying their dishwasher smells bad or reeks of a pungent odor after simply running it to clean their dishes. One of the more common descriptions we hear from customers though is that their dishwasher smells like rotten eggs.

In today’s kitchen appliance guide I’m going to share with you a few causes and reasons your dishwasher might have this stinky issue.

3 Reasons Your Dishwasher Smells Like Rotten Eggs

Mechanical failure of the drain valve

The first cause I’d like to discuss is the mechanical failure of the drain valve allowing dirty water to re-enter the dishwasher. Just because your dishwasher is new doesn’t mean it’s going to necessarily perform perfectly as soon as you start using it.

The drain valve’s job is to allow waste water to be pumped out of the dishwasher and then prevent that water from returning to the dishwasher.

Mechanical failure of the drain valve will allow contaminated wastewater from your sink disposal to re-enter your dishwasher during the wash cycle and even after the wash cycle is completed and the dishwasher is not running.

This can create a pool of standing dirty water in the bottom of your dishwasher. The inside of your dishwasher is already a warm and dark environment.

Add contaminated dirty water and you have the perfect environment for bacteria to grow, resulting in an odor that can smell like sulfur or rotten eggs.

Food Caught in the Dishwasher’s Filter Basket 

I’ve discovered over the years that many people are surprised to learn that the filter basket in their dishwasher is removable and can be cleaned.

Removing your dishwashers filter basket to carefully clean it should be one of the first thing you check if you’re dishwasher is emitting a foul odor.

Often the culprit can be found in the filter basket and is simply food that has been caught in the filter and has begun to soil and smell terrible.

How Often Should You Clean Your Dishwasher’s Filter Basket?

I would start by checking your dishwasher’s filter basket for debris at least once a week. If you’re not finding any deposits or any food materials caught in the filter then switch to checking the basket filter once a month.

Whether it’s once a week or once per month, it should be cleaned on a regular basis.

I would also mention that how often you need to clean your dishwasher’s filter basket has a lot to do with how much food you leave on your plates when you put them in your dishwasher to be cleaned. Dishwashers are capable of cleaning dirty dishes so there really isn’t a need to totally wash your dishes before you put them in the dishwasher.

That said, it’s not unusual to find a little bit of non-biodegradable materials that were on your plate in the filter basket which means the filter basket is doing its job. It’s catching the debris and keeping it out of the circulation pump and spray arms.

 Where is the Dishwasher Basket Located inside a Dishwasher 

The dishwasher filter basket is always located inside the dishwasher and usually on the bottom of the dishwasher where the water is designed to pool. All modern dishwashers have removable and cleanable baskets in them.

How to Clean Your Dishwasher’s Filter Basket

You can clean the filter in your kitchen sink using warm water and a soft brush. Delicately scrub the mesh until it is clean. Again these filters are delicate and if you scrub them with something too hard you’ll actually ruin the basket material.

If this happens you will want to replace that filter basket before using the dishwasher again.

Can You Buy a new Filter Basket for Your Dishwasher?

Yes. If your dishwasher filter basket is damaged or can no longer be cleaned, you can order a new one online. It’s important that you find your exact dishwasher make and model number when ordering replacement parts.

There are generic micro filter baskets available online but they don’t always properly fit and the use of improper replacement parts can invalidate your dishwasher warranty.

Some appliance brands take this a step further and will no longer honor your warranty if certain replacement parts are not installed by a certified servicer or technician.

Pro Line Appliance Installation are a certified service company for Miele, BlueStar, Viking, and Liebherr.

Natural Buildup of Deposits 

The third reason for your dishwasher to develop an odor like rotten eggs is a buildup of minerals, and detergent deposits inside your dishwasher. These deposits can show up as a film or a powder on the interior walls of your dishwasher.

However, you may be able to smell these deposits inside your dishwasher before you see them.

Keep in mind that these deposits will be throughout your dishwasher and its components, such as the circulation pump, spray arm, and all the connecting pipework.

Dishwasher “Cleaners” and “Conditioners” are available for purchase and can be quite effective at removing these deposits and their odors.

These cleaners circulate through the entire machine and work to remove deposits from inside the pump, the pipework, and the spray arms.


If you’re in the greater Richmond Virginia area and you’re looking for professional appliance installation, give Pro Line Appliance Installation a call at (804) 464-2545.

We install every brand of kitchen and laundry appliance.

While we do install every brand of kitchen and laundry appliance when it comes to appliance repair, our appliance repair teams are specialized in a select few brands.

The Pro Line Appliance Service Department is recognized as Factory Certified Repair Technicians for the following appliance brands:

  • Miele
  • BlueStar
  • Viking
  • Liebherr

In addition to being a factory certified service and repair company for Miele appliances,

We also sell Miele appliances.

We sell Miele ovens, steamers, cooktops, washers and dryers, ranges, coffee machines, refrigeration, dishwashers, and much more!

If Miele makes an appliance, you can buy it from us, we can deliver it, install it, and if you ever need it serviced or repaired, we can do that too!