Stinky Dishwasher

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Lisa, Sep 1, 2004.

  1. Lisa

    Lisa New Member

    Messages:
    11
    When I bought the house I am in now, the sink and dishwasher stunk so bad that it took my breath away. I thought it was just old and dirty. I bought a new dishwasher, new plastic plumbing parts, and a new garbage disposal BUT my dishwasher still stinks. It smells like dirty sewer smell. I have had two plumbers come out and both said that they didn't know what it was. They wanted to charge me over 300.00 to smoke the lines, to look for a leak. Before anything else, I wanted to try your sight. Any and all help or suggestions will be greatly appriecated. Thanks in advance.
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    [​IMG]

    How is the dishwasher drain connected? Is it connected throught an air gap? At a minimum, is is connected above the sink drain trap?
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 2, 2004
  3. e-plumber

    e-plumber DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    137
    Location:
    New York
    Dishwasher Odor

    Is there a crawl space under the kitchen? There could be a leak below allowing water to pool, become stagnant and give off the foul odor.

    e-plumber
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2004
  4. Lisa

    Lisa New Member

    Messages:
    11
    The plumber said everything is connected correctly. But I don't know what an air gap is ?
  5. Lisa

    Lisa New Member

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    11
    I do have a crawl space but supposedly the plumber checked that and I was told everything looked good. Anything I can do myself?
  6. e-plumber

    e-plumber DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    137
    Location:
    New York
    Dishwasher Odor

    Since you had two different plumbers check the problem, replaced the piping, DW and the disposer unit, (which by the way are known to give off odor at times) have you considered that the hot water is the culprit? It is possible. If you have well water with a water treatment system or a water heater with an anode rod that may be deteriorating, both items can possibly cause a "sewer like" smell.

    e-plumber
  7. Lisa

    Lisa New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Does this make sense ? The smell was so bad in the sink, the first thing replaced was the garbage disposal. We then replaced the white plastic "pipes" below the sink. There was gray gunk in these plastic pvd pipes and the smell made me vomit. Once the disposal and the pipes were replaced everything seems fine until the smell was in the dishwasher. I bought a new dishwasher but the smell still comes thru the new dishwasher. Could what was cleaned out of the pipes somehow got down in the dishwasher ??? I just don'tknow what to do. I really do appreicate you taking the time to help me. Have a great day.
  8. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Since you have replaced the piping under the sink, and I am assuming the dishwasher drain hose is new (came with the dishwasher) there is little left unless you are getting sewer smell.


    Check the diagram which Terry Love kindly added into my reply above. DOes your piping more or less resemble this? Pay close attention to where in this picture does your drain hose connect. (The pipe labeled Vent is inside the wall and will not be visible)
  9. Lisa

    Lisa New Member

    Messages:
    11
    My drain hose does not connect to an air gap fitting. I am at work now so I will not able to explain how it does fit exactly until Monday. If you still are willing to help me, I will talk with you then. Thanks again.
  10. Lisa

    Lisa New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Well, I am back...Yesterday was Thursday !! Before I post this message, let me again tell you how much I appreicate all of the help with my problem. This is really a great thing for people like myself that don't any any plumbing knowledge, that can talk with people who do and who don't mind sharing that knowledge.

    I looked under my sink. The only dishwasher hose that it visible comes from the bottom of the dishwasher and hooks up directly to the side of the garbage disposal.
  11. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,359
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Check the drain hose again

    That hose from the bottom of the dishwasher to the garbage disposal is the drain hose and it should be looped and secured under the counter top. If it goes straight from the bottom of the machine into the drain without the loop, that might be the source of the problem.
  12. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    OK, we might be geting close. If that hose does not have a loop in it...that is looped up high, right to the underside of the countertop...before going down again into the disposer, then dirty sink water can back up in that hose into the dishwasher. This can be the source of the odor.
  13. Lisa

    Lisa New Member

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    11
    ok......I looked and the flexible white hose that comes from the dishwasher directly hooking into the side of the disposal is very long and there is no loop in it.

    I wish I could stick around and get this fixed today but it is time for me to go to work now. I bet you this is something I can do myself with your direction. Any and all advise id GREATLY APRRECIATED.
  14. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,143
    Location:
    New England
    It's not that tough, except for the possibility that there is little room to do what you need to do.

    Basically, the hose comes out of the dishwasher's pump (generally on the bottom of the machine). That hose must go up as high as possible (and at least a few inches higher than the exit in the garbage disposer - the top of the cabinet is better) prior to draining into the garbage disposer. Some hoses come with a clip or clamp to screw or nail the clamp where it needs to go and hold the hose in place. You may need to buy something. A sturdy piece of wire wrapped around a screw or nail and then the hose would work, too, but a clamp is better (less likely to get a kink or fall off).

    This loop prevents drain water from going back into the dishwasher - once it is pumped over the high spot, it drains into the garbage disposer.
  15. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,359
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Clamping drain hose

    I would not use wire, it could cut through the hose in time. Plumber's tape would be better. I'd make 2 or 3 clamps to avoid the possibility of the hose kinking. You want to keep the loop as gently as possible. I'm amazed that 2 plumbers missed such a basic thing! I don't think I'd call on them again.
  16. Lisa

    Lisa New Member

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    11
    This weekend, I started working on the suggestions. The hose that is there now is not long enough or flexible enough to do what I need it to do. I will need to purchase a hose,clamp , etc. I will keep you posted. Thanks. I hope this will solve the problem.
  17. Lisa

    Lisa New Member

    Messages:
    11
    I was able to fix the dishwasher drain hose this weekend with the help of my father and a friend. I am going to try it out and see if the smell is gone. I will let you know. Is there anything I should do first .......maybe pour a cleaning solution in the bottom of dishwasher ? anything like that before I wash dishes again ?
  18. Deb

    Deb Plumber

    Messages:
    200
    Location:
    Idaho
    Deb

    You can pour some bleach in the dishwasher and run it through a cycle. Always use bleach by itself, never mix with any other types of cleaners.
    I am beginning to question if what you have is a plumbing related odor. What exactly did the plumbers say about the odor? Did they believe that it was sewer gas (although I don't know how much trust I would put in plumbers that did not notice the non-loop in the dw drain line and deal with it)? Did they check to make sure trap was maintaining its water seal? Was any kind of test done on the vent to be sure that there is not a break there? Even though the dishwasher hose is not looped, this should not be causing the horrible smells you are describing, especially from all new piping, disposer, dw. The major reason for the loop/air gap rule is so that if the sink backs up, the backup will not run through the dishwasher hose and into the dishwasher.
    You have basically replaced everything that comes in contact with the drainage system from the fixtures to the wall. So, I would be maybe looking for another source for the smell--a small dead animal(s) rotting in the toe kick or wall, mold, mildew, etc. Odors can be tough to identify, but it is necessary, since the remedy is dependant on the cause.
    Deb
    The Pipewench
  19. Lisa

    Lisa New Member

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    11
    Deb, I think the smell came from the the garbage disposal at first. When the old one was removed and the pvc pipes replaced, the gray gunk that was in the pipes definetly was the smell and honestly, it made my gag.

    I was really shocked when I replaced everything and still smelled it. I don't think it is an animal smell. But then again, since I don't know what it is, how could I say that! But the garbage disposal does not smell now, just the dishwasher. The dishwasher is finished it cycle and you open the door, most times you should smell a lemonly clean smell. but I don't. The smell is nasty, dirty,I would say a sewer smell. So I don't know. I will run the bleach thru and test it after that. Thanks very much , it is appreicated.

    Lisa
  20. BrianF

    BrianF New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Here is a guess

    I would definitely check out the dead animal thing. It could be a mouse or other creature that expired near or inside of an enclosed area and the smell shifting.

    Sewer gas is nasty. Probably what it is. Is the house properly vented overall? I have seen some houses that have all the traps clear out when you flush a toilet.

    A vacuum could exist in your system causing a trap to empty out and allow sewer gas to enter the home.

    Brian
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