New Dishwasher Smells – Manufacturer Speaks Out

A new dishwasher is a great timesaver for the kitchen, but some people are frustrated when, even after the first cycle, the dishwasher can give off a strange smell, making your dishes and glasses seem dirty or otherwise unhygienic. Even when the dishes were mostly clean when they went in, they can come out smelling worse than before, and the dishwasher isn’t old enough to have a build-up of food.

Why does a new dishwasher smell? A new dishwasher smells because of the heating of residues that are on new motor coils. These heated residues can give off a fishy or even urine-like smell.

When a dishwasher is started for the first time, the motor coils will get hot, and residues from the manufacturing process can react with this heat to give off a number of unpleasant smells. LG, a major manufacturer of dishwashers, claims that this fishy or rubbery smell is normal in brand new dishwashers and will fade over the course of ten to twenty cycles.

How Do I Get Rid of The Smell in my New Dishwasher?

To get rid of the smell in your new dishwasher, try running it empty for ten to twenty cycles. If this fails, running a cycle with some distilled white vinegar, followed by a cycle with some neutralizing baking soda, should go a long way to freshening up a stinky dishwasher.

So, you understand why the dishwasher is making everything smell bad, but what to do about it? Maybe you’ve done a few empty rinses, and it’s still not solving the issue. If this dishwasher isn’t brand new and it’s still making your dishes smell bad, it can be doubly upsetting that the problem isn’t fixed itself. But don’t worry, this is a really widespread problem, and there is an easy and inexpensive solution.

Running the dishwasher for ten to twenty cycles should remove the new dishwasher smell. If other things cause the smell,

Katie Berry, the author of Cleaning on Your Schedule, suggests the following:

  1. Add 2 cups of vinegar to the bottom of the dishwasher
  2. Start the cycle and make sure the vinegar has mixed with the water well.
  3. Stop the cycle by popping the door after one to two minutes.
  4. Leave for 20 to 30 minutes to do its work, then close and finish the cycle.

Vinegar has fantastic odor-removing properties, but it isn’t magic. I recommend the Dropps Dishwasher Lemon Pods. Click to see the current pricing on Amazon. If the source of the smell remains, this will be a temporary fix at best. Ensure that the dishwasher has been run ten or twenty times to get rid of the smells caused by manufacturing residues!

Here is a table that contains extra tips on how to rid a dishwasher of smells. Data was gathered from various online appliance forums:

How to Rid a Dishwasher of Smells
Ensure that the drainage hoses are installed correctly so that they will allow debris to pass through.
Remove the dishwasher door, clean out the grease from the bottom portion of the door.
After each wash, wipe down the rubber gasket that is at the base of the door.
For a Bosch dishwasher, remove and clean the cylindrical filters. To have a replacement Bosch filter on hand, I recommend the Genuine Mesh Filter (click here for Amazon pricing).
Make sure that the water temperature is able to reach 140, lower than that will allow bacteria growth.

Why Does my New Bosch Dishwasher Stink?

Your new Bosh dishwasher might smell because of the components around the heating elements and insulation. Or it could be clogged drainage or a build-up of bacteria. It’s important to isolate to cause to know how to fix it.

The solution to a smelly dishwasher depends on its cause. There are several reasons a new or nearly new dishwasher might smell bad. So, if you’ve run the washer for the recommended number of cycles and it’s still smelling bad, it’s important to find the cause.  Let’s look at some of the most common reasons your new dishwasher stinks:

  1. The internal components are still too new. The heating of coils and insulation wires can release a very unpleasant smell in a new dishwasher, but this will settle over time.
  2. The dishwasher has a build-up of bacteria from previous washes. Even in a new dishwasher, if dirty water is left inside, or dishes aren’t pre-rinsed, the inside of the dishwasher can become a bit filthy. Standing water in the dishwasher drain for many days can be a hotbed for microbes and other distasteful and smell-producing chemicals.
  3. If the dishwasher is connected to the sink, it could be venting air up the drainpipe from the U-bend in the sink. This water isn’t going to be clean or pleasant and can draw smells into the dishwasher.
  4. If a chemical or motor oil smell is coming from the dishwasher, this could also be residues from manufacturing. Sometimes the finishes on the components will make some strange chemical smells when they’re heated.

New Dishwasher Smells Like Oil

A new dishwasher can smell like oil sometimes because new models have materials to dampen the noise coming from the machinery in the dishwasher. These materials can produce a petroleum or oil-like smell that is normal and should dissipate within a few weeks of running the dishwasher.

It’s relatively common in some dishwasher models that the smells coming from them aren’t like fish or rotten food but like rubber or oil. If your dishwasher smells like oil, you might be worried about its ability to keep your dishes clean, but this isn’t usually something to worry about.

Deborah Lynn Dadd, a toxic products consultant fields this question on her forum, to which there are multiple reports of assorted brands of dishwashers producing unpleasant and even unbearable smells from the rubber seals in the doors.

The most common solution is time. Sometimes it can take up to three months of heavy, daily use for the dishwasher to lose its ‘new component’ smell and behave normally. A final rinse on clean dishes with extremely hot water seems to get rid of the lasting smell, but there is so far no ideal solution that doesn’t seem wasteful.  

New Dishwasher Smells Like Wet Dog

The wet dog smell on dishes comes from bacteria build-up on your glassware. Hard water may be the cause of this, as it can cause micro-abrasions in glasses over time, creating rough surfaces for bacteria to grow on and reducing the rinsing effect of the water.

There is an interesting incongruence when something that is supposed to clean your dishes smells like a wild animal or a wet dog. This smell is familiar to anyone owning a furry pet and intuitively shouldn’t be associated with anything in the kitchen, let alone a dishwasher. However, a common complaint with dishwashers is that they smell like wet dogs.

Elizabeth Shogren, the science desk correspondent for NPR, suggests that the phosphate ban in detergents has increased this occurrence. There are three main ways your dishes can come out smelling like a wet dog:

  • The abrasiveness of hard water has increased since the removal of phosphates from detergents. This protects the water system from algae blooms but means there’s a lot more limescale in certain hard water regions, which can reduce the effectiveness of rinse cycles and create breeding grounds for bacteria.
  • If it isn’t the hard water, it could also be the drain. Some dishwashers connect to the same line as the sink, which can have some filthy water coming from the U-bend. If this is the case, the fumes and dirty water might be contaminating the dishwasher outlet, causing the smells.  
  • Lastly, it could be a rinse aid. Some chemicals used to help dry the dishes create a waterproof layer on them to prevent water or steam from condensing. This can also trap bacteria, causing them to remain present at the end of a cycle.

The reason that the smell is so familiar is due to volatile compounds such as putrescine and other volatile compounds, which are found in bacteria that live on food particles as well as in dogs’ fur. Therefore, the smells in the dishwasher can be familiar to the wet dog smell.

New Dishwasher Smells Like Sewage

There are two main reasons why a new dishwasher might smell like sewage. Either the drain hose is installed incorrectly, or there is off gassing from some of the components that are being heated during its run. Both have easy solutions.

Sewage, wet dog smell, and fishy odors can all be similarly caused by the build-up or release of volatile compounds such as putrescine and hydrogen sulfide – two of the many components to the familiar ‘garbage’ smell. These chemicals are released by bacteria and fungi that grow on rotting food waste. If your dishwasher smells like sewage, it may be cause for concern, but there could be good news too.

As we’ve mentioned, being connected to the sink drain can cause dishwashers to smell bad inside sometimes. Bad detergent can also lead to bacterial build-up on your dishes even after rinsing. But if the smell coming from your dishwasher is like urine, it might go away with time.

Otherwise, if the drain hose is incorrectly installed, this can be fixed easily, either by yourself or by a trained plumber. If the drain hose is plugged with waste, AHS recommends unblocking it with a bottle brush or knocking out the plug that may have been left inside by the plumber by mistake.

Why Does My Dishwasher Smell Like Chemicals?

Your new dishwasher may smell like chemicals for the first few months due to the newness of the components inside it. Insulation, door seals, motor coils, and even the outer finishes can leave residues and produce smells when they heat up as the dishwasher is used.

If you’re frustrated by the smells coming from your new dishwasher, you’re not alone. Thousands of complaints and requests for support come online to consultants and manufacturers from customers who have been experiencing chemical smells coming from their new dishwashers.

These smells can be irritating or even downright nauseating. Some people have even been worried about the damage to their airways from the fumes emitted from their dishwashers, and this is a valid concern.

It seems like this issue is mostly down to the manufacturing process. Many dishwashers use materials that are fresh from the factory, and these have chemicals and residues inside them from their manufacture. Rubber seals are a particularly good example of this. When the rubber heats up, volatile chemicals from these residues enter the air and may fill your room with the smell of tires or worse.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a helpful solution to this problem other than understanding that it is temporary, and once the washer has been running for a few weeks to a few months, the smells should subside. According to forum members, it might be possible to speed up the process by using hotter cycles and adding vinegar to the cycles. But of course, this isn’t as energy efficient as you might like.  

Many manufacturers will return the item if the problem is too severe, but it’s also been reported that replacement models come with the same problem. It really does seem to be an industrial issue. If the smell becomes unbearable, it’s recommended that you search for a brand with a lot of reviews claiming that the new dishwashers don’t smell.


There are so many factors affecting why a new dishwasher smells. These range from bad plumbing to manufacturing processes, as well as detergent and water quality. If the dishwasher is brand new, the smell is coming from the new components and will disappear after enough use.

If you are wondering why is there water in the bottom of my dishwasher, you are not alone.

It could be a drainage issue if the smell is more like a wet dog or rotten food. Usually, smells from dishwashers have a simple fix, but if you’ve tried everything and it’s not working, call an expert.

Aron Blake

I am the lead copywriter on Homezesty and the Webmaster. I have a lot of experience in home renovations and the creation of style. I enjoy writing and sharing my tips on how to create the best living environment. My Linkedin Profile, My Twitter Account

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