Why do dishes smell after washing

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Why does my dishwasher smell?

"The most common cause of unpleasant smells is leftover food," says Dr. Jörg Kinnius, chemist in the dishwasher product development department at Miele. His most important advice therefore: "Remove coarse and above all odor-causing food residues such as fish or raw eggs before you put the dishes in the machine." Of course, the less the machine runs, the more unpleasant odors there are. But if the machine does not start immediately after loading, you should keep the door ajar - this allows the moisture to escape and the growth of bacteria on the dishes remains limited.

How often is dishwasher cleaner?

"Nothing survives at 70 degrees - you don't need a machine cleaner" (Stephan Scherfenberg / Stiftung Warentest)

Where fat and leftover food are deposited, a breeding ground for unpleasant smells is created. Regular cleaning is therefore the means of choice. Stephan Scherfenberg from Stiftung Warentest recommends running the device empty once a month in an intensive program with a tab or cleaning powder: "At 70 degrees - nothing survives. And then you don't need a machine cleaner." Because all deposits are dissolved and washed away.

Clean the dishwasher sieve

In addition, you should definitely remove and rinse the sieves at shorter intervals. The sieves can easily be scrubbed with a brush - clear water is sufficient. And then reinstall carefully, advises Dr. Jörg Kinnius: "Make sure that you put the sieve back in exactly the right way - otherwise food residues can get into the pump and from there back into the spray arm and clog it."

In the case of the door seals, it is sufficient to wipe them off with warm water and, if necessary, a dash of detergent. Also check: Are the spray arms running freely and no food remains stuck to them? Are the spray openings free? Grains of rice like to settle here.

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Home remedies for bad smell

Lemons, vinegar and baking soda are repeatedly mentioned as home remedies to drive bad smells out of the dishwasher: Lemon halves placed in the cutlery basket ensure a fresh aroma; Spread half a cup of vinegar on the bottom of the machine to help loosen limescale deposits. Alternatively, you can use baking soda (2 tablespoons) to bind unpleasant odors and loosen deposits.

From the point of view of the experts from Warentest and Miele, nothing speaks against it as an additional measure to the cleaning program described above. There is one thing that you should be clear about, however: "Vinegar and lemons are ideally suited to whitewashing smells," emphasizes Dr. Kinnius. "It doesn't fight the cause." The odor-binding and antibacterial baking soda only stays in the device for a short time and therefore has no long-term effect.

Can I also use citric acid and vinegar essence?

Be careful with citric acid and vinegar essence

For "hardship cases" with massive odor development, the use of vinegar essence or citric acid is recommended in many places. "Citric acid and vinegar essence only help against limescale deposits, not against the odor," emphasizes Dr. Kinnius. In order not to damage the seals of the machine, citric acid should not be too high - a maximum of 1 tablespoon of powder per wash cycle. Mainly for health reasons, housekeeper Scarlett Gabriel from the DHB household network advises against the use of vinegar essence: The agent attacks the respiratory system.

What to do if it stinks while the dishwasher is running

Normally there should be no bad smells coming out of the sink while the dishwasher is running. If it still smells like rotten eggs, according to information from Miele developer Kinnius, this can have various causes: Perhaps a foreign object - such as a toothpick - has gotten through the sieve into the drain pump, has jammed there and is blocking the machine's non-return valve. To check this, simply remove the valve (instructions for use!). Also possible: the dishwasher has been connected behind (instead of in front of) the siphon so that the odor trap to the sewage system does not work. In this case, only a professional can help.

Pre-wash - yes or no?

Modern dishwashers usually cope well with dried-on dirt - so pre-washing by hand is unnecessary in most cases. Spinach and herb residues are an exception: if they are not removed beforehand, they will spread on the dishes throughout the machine. Even plastic boxes that contained tomatoes, carrots or other strongly coloring foods should better be cleaned with detergent before the wash cycle. Otherwise permanent discoloration often remains.

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