Help-Smelly Dishes

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by homedk, Mar 30, 2005.

  1. homedk

    homedk New Member

    Messages:
    2
    I need help with a persistent dishwasher problem. The dishes get clean (or at least they look clean) but they smell skunky. We even got a new dishwasher and it's the same problem. We have a high loop. The water doesn't smell to drink or shower or wash the clothes, just the dishes. Also, it doesn't always happen; occasionally they smell fine but usually they don't. Also, we used the dishwasher for years with no problem. But now, even when I re-wash them several times they smell unless I use vinegar. What can this be???
  2. HVACtek1

    HVACtek1 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    How old is your water heater? it could be that your anode rod is spent. that sometimes causes smelly water.
  3. homedk

    homedk New Member

    Messages:
    2
    I think we had it replaced about 8 years ago. It's a Pheam electrical water heater. We don't have any problems with the hot water and the confusing thing is; wouldn't I smell it during a shower or while hand washing the dishes or with the laundry?
  4. Dinger928

    Dinger928 New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    Texas
    Ever a suggestion?

    I too am currently experiencing just what the above poster has experienced, to the "T". To me though, the smell is more like a wet dog. All plumbing was redone, even to the street, replaced dishwasher as we thought that was the problem. To no avail, like the above poster, we just can't figure out what the deal is? The water heater is electric 50 gallon unit which was put in before we moved in around 6 years ago. Could it possibly be the hot water tank? We don't notice it in the shower or on our clothes? Is it really worth it to sink another $300 into another water heater? I already feel stupid for replacing the dishwasher when apparently it wasn't the issue.

    If anyone has any ideas, please advise.

    Thanks

    Dinger
  5. Atlantic Canadian

    Atlantic Canadian New Member

    Messages:
    2
    We have had a similar problem with an occasional sulfury-metalic odour. After a great deal of trial and error, we narrowed it down to loading dishes that had egg on them. It seems very odd, but we started to hand wash any dish which was exposed to egg. The problem disappeared. It's a tiny bit tedious, but as we put everything else in the "disher" (including pots and pans), there isn't much hand washing to do.

    I suspect that this condition has something to do with the chemical characteristics of our local water. I have family and friends in other cities who do not have a problem with residual odour on their dishes.
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,313
    Location:
    New England
    No idea if this would make a difference, but do you use the drying cycle on the dw? That extra heat at the end may make a difference. I know I typically don't use it, but when I do, if you open the door right at the end, you get a lot of steam out.
  7. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Kill the Little Gremlins That Make Smells

    You might have something growing in the recesses of the machine.

    Start a wash cycle without any dishes in the dishwasher. When it gets full of water and starts the wash cycle, open the door and put in 1 Tablespoon of bleach. Then let it run for one minute to circulate the water, and open the door to stop it in mid cycle; then close but leave it ajar so it won't run.

    After it cools off (maybe two hours), put in another tablespoon of bleach and run for another minute. Let it stand for 1 hour again and then run it through the rest of the cycle.

    That should kill anything in the pipes and cracks of the dishwasher.
  8. royfred

    royfred New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Texas
    Junior Member

    Hey Dinger928! We are noted as having the worst water in Texas. We don't even drink it directly from the faucet without it going through the reverse osmosis process. We do have a dishwasher but it is so old we don't use it. Other people put in a cup or so of vinegar in the final rinse. We put some vinegar in our rinse water when washing dishes by hand. There are products on the market for that purpose. I don't know the name offhand but it is especially made for dishwashers and hard water.


    Thanks
    royfred
  9. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

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    2,736
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Does the DW itself smell bad after finishing the dishes? Do you use the DW daily, or does it sit for a while between loads?
  10. Dinger928

    Dinger928 New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    Texas
    Thanks for all the replies. We have done the complete bleach test and the vinegar test! We run our dishwasher say twice a week or so, its only the two of us. We did switch out dishwashers and have recently seen the smell come back, even with the new dishwasher in there which is why we are so perplexed by this problem.

    The smell will come from the dishwasher at times at the end of the load, but primarily just from the dishes themselves. We have even gone as far as asking our surrounding neighbors if we could "smell" their dishes. How pathetic is that!
  11. And how many of these dishwashers have an Air Gap?

    Path of least resistance (slow drain) can push wastewater back into the dishwasher.....allowing acidic food waste to sour in the bottom. This becomes airbourne and can be possibly the problem you have.


    Just a guess. It doesn't take much to move fluid uphill through a 3/8" pipe.
  12. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,736
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Do you have a garbage disposer?
  13. prashster

    prashster New Member

    Messages:
    941
    I had a similar problem on handwashed dishes. Except, our odor was that of a wet towel after a week. It'd get really bad in our sponges - even though we'd ring them out and discard them frequently. We traced the problem back to the fragrance in the dishwashing soap. Green Apple fragrance to be exact.

    Have you changed dishsoaps recently?

    The heat in a dishwasher will almost certainly kill anything that's on the plates (with the possible exception of dried-on egg and some fragrances in the dish soap).
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