Dishwasher Smells Like Eggs? (here’s why & what to do)

There’s nothing worse than running the dishwasher only to find that when the cycle has finished, the dishwasher smells bad. We often get asked about bad smelling dishwashers and one of the most common descriptions is that the dishwasher smells like rotten eggs.

If this is the problem you are having, keep reading. In this article we look at the reasons that could cause your dishwasher to smell like bad eggs and offer practical solutions to fix this issue. As well as suggesting ways to prevent this from happening again.

Why Does The Dishwasher Smell Like Rotten Eggs?

There are several reasons why your dishwasher might smell like rotten eggs which include;

Probable CauseSolution
Clogged filterRemove and clean the filter
Food particles trapped in the dishwasherThoroughly clean the dishwasher
Limescale depositsUse white vinegar to remove limescale
Clogged drain hoseRemove blockage from the drain hose
Clogged drain pumpAccess the drain pump and clear any blockage
Defective drain valveInspect and replace the drain valve as necessary
Stagnant water pooling in dishwasherCheck drainage system and repair/replace as necessary
Smelly drain pipesCheck household drain pipes and clean as necessary

Clogged Filter


The drain filter on a dishwasher is designed to collect and trap all of those food particles and other debris that gets removed from your dishes. These particles get trapped in the filter and if left for too long, they can clog the filter preventing the free flow of water.

The food particles will start to rot in the filter which is where the foul smell will be coming from. To solve this, you should remove the filter and give it a thorough clean.

Soak the filter in warm soapy water and remove all food particles and debris. Any stubborn pieces can be removed using a toothbrush after soaking the filter in a white vinegar and water solution.

Food Particles Trapped In The Dishwasher

It’s not just the filter that can be affected by trapped and rotting food particles. It’s possible for food particles to get trapped in the door seal and the spray arms as well. Any food particles trapped inside the dishwasher could be responsible for that bad egg smell.

You should wipe all around the door seal using a soft cloth dipped in a solution of white vinegar and water in a 50/50 mix. Be sure to get into all of the nooks and crannies of the seal and remember to rinse the solution away using fresh water to finish off.

The spray arms can be removed for proper cleaning which includes checking the nozzles for any blockages as well. Soak the spray arms in warm soapy water to remove any grease or food particles before replacing them in the dishwasher.

Limescale Deposits

If you live in a hard water area (which covers more than 60% of the UK), it’s possible that your dishwasher has a build up of limescale. Limescale is caused by the mineral content in the water solidifying on the hot surfaces of your appliance.

Unfortunately, once limescale forms, it attracts germs and bacteria as well as food particles. All of which can cause that foul smell. 

To help combat the build up of limescale in your dishwasher, place a bowl half filled with white vinegar on the top rack of the dishwasher and run a hot wash cycle. 

Clogged Drain Hose

The drain hose on your dishwasher is the only way dirty water and excess debris can leave the appliance. If it becomes clogged even partially, it can cause dirty water to get trapped in the dishwasher.

This can be enough to cause that rotten egg smell which will only get worse as more food starts to accumulate and begins to rot.

Check the drain hose for any blockages and run a plumber’s snake through the hose to ensure the free flow of the waste water from your dishwasher.

Clogged Drain Pump

The drain pump could become blocked with food particles or debris. This is a particular problem around the impeller. To solve this gain access to the drain pump and inspect the impeller for any debris and clear as necessary.

Defective Drain Valve

loading a dishwasher

The function of the drain valve is to allow dirty water to leave the dishwasher and prevent it from re-entering. If the drain valve becomes defective, it can allow dirty water to enter your dishwasher even when the appliance isn’t running.

Especially if your dishwasher is connected to the drain pipe under the kitchen sink. This can lead to a pool of stagnant water forming in the base of your dishwasher.

We recommend getting a technician to check and replace the drain valve if necessary.

Water Pooling In The Bottom Of The Appliance

If there is a pool of water in the bottom of your dishwasher it can become the perfect breeding ground for germs, bacteria and mould. All of which can cause bad smells forming in the dishwasher.

It’s exactly the same as a dirty pond, the water is stagnant and germs breed in it. This can happen if you don’t use your dishwasher regularly or there’s something wrong with the drainage system on the dishwasher.

Smelly Drain Pipes

In some cases, the smell could be caused by fumes entering the dishwasher via the drain hose. The problem could be a blocked pipe further along the drainage system of your home. 

If the drain pipe is blocked the smells of rotting food stuff could travel up the pipe and into your dishwasher. You will need to check the drain pipe and clear any blockages to solve this issue.

How To Prevent Your Dishwasher Smelling Bad


Now that you have solved the problem of your dishwasher smelling like rotten eggs, let’s look at how to prevent it from happening again.

You should;

  • Rinse The Dishes
    Before stacking your dishes in the dishwasher, run them under the tap first to remove any loose food particles. This will prevent them becoming trapped in the dishwasher and causing it to smell.
  • Get A Cleaning Schedule
    You should aim to remove the filter at least once a month and clean it. At the same time you should run a hot service wash using a commercial dishwasher cleaner or a bowl half filled with white vinegar.

For more detailed information on how to clean & sanitise your dishwasher, see the link below.

SEE ALSO: How To Clean & Sanitise A Dishwasher (to remove smells & dirt)

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get the eggy smell out of my dishwasher?

To get the eggy smell out of your dishwasher, place a bowl in the rack of your empty dishwasher. Half fill it with white vinegar and run a hot service wash. This will remove the smell but you will still need to address whatever problem led to the eggy smell in the first place.

Why does my dishwasher smell like rotten eggs?

If your dishwasher smells like rotten eggs it could be because; the filter is clogged, there are food particles trapped in the dishwasher, there are limescale deposits in the dishwasher, the drain hose is clogged, the drain pump is defective, the drain valve is defective, there is stagnant water pooling in the dishwasher or the drain pipe has a problem which is sending fumes into the dishwasher.

How do you deep clean a dishwasher?

You can deep clean a dishwasher by using a commercial dishwasher cleaner or placing a bowl half filled with white vinegar on the rack and running a hot service wash. This will remove any lingering food particles, grease or debris.

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