How to keep your dishwasher from smelling like wet dog

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We have a constant battle with our dishwasher.

There is rarely a time where everything is clean 100%

Sometimes all the cups are dirty inside.

Sometimes it doesn’t rinse fully.

Sometimes nothing on the bottom rack got clean.

Sometimes nothing on the top got clean.

Sometimes the silverware is still dirty.

I never, ever get to put ALL the dishes away.  There are always at least a few that go back to be re-cleaned.

One of the worst problems we have is that every once in awhile our dishwasher and all the GLASS items washed in it smells like wet dog.  How the heck does that happen?  I’m CLEANING my dishes.  With soap.  Yet they smell worse than they did before I washed them.

Well, it’s really a simple answer.


If you have ANY egg residue on any of your dishes before you put them in the dishwasher, there is a good chance when you open your dishwasher after the cleaning cycle that it will smell like this:

The solution?

First, remove all the dirty dishes and run a clean cycle with Lemonade flavored Kool-Aid (only lemonade, not sure why) instead of your regular detergent.  Simply pour the contents of the packet into the detergent dispenser.  The citric acid does an amazing job cleaning your dishwasher and making it smell fresh.  Plus, it’s safe.

Then, from now on, clean egg residue off your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.

No more wet dog smell.


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    I have wet dog smell on our dishes, it is not eggs, or hotwater tank, or dishwasher. I have ruled out everything,the conclusion I have come to is that there is a dead animal in the water supply or dead rats in the pipes.

  2. says

    I think you gave the answer as to why it’s only the lemonade that works….citric acid. I know that when you heat a small dish of lemon juice in a microwave it loosens the dried up food and makes it easier to clean with a damp cloth. Also helps the microwave smell cleaner.

  3. Jon says

    Have had the same problem. I mainly use the “Eco” setting on mine. It’s a full size machine and doesn’t get turned on too often so I think the combination of not running while food scraps are in the machine for a few days, and having the door closed with no air circulation whilst dirty, is probably the reason it has that “old milk / wet dog smell”.

    I’ve just tried:
    Filling the tablet drawer with squeezed lemon juice and vinegar, and sprinkling baking soda over the parts of the machine that possibly don’t get washed so easily, like the door hinge etc.
    And then I’ve run a full hottest cycle with it empty.

    Just finished the cycle, I’ve opened the door and let the steam out and left the door open for a whole and… So far it smells fresh and clean!!

  4. John says

    For years I put up with the wet dog smell until a service engineer suggested using LESS powder. As I use a tablet, I cut it in half and hey presto….no more wet dog! Also no more of that occasional slightly sticky feel after a wash. Been this way for a couple of years now.

  5. anne says

    My problem of “wet dog smell” in a very new dishwasher ended up being the brand of dishwasher soap !!! I started to use the “individual chunk , rock like things : (not mention the brand) … but they are White and blue specks with a red ball center, very expensive….. As soon as I switched BACK to liquid Soap with lemon I had no problem….. good luck I might even use dishwasher soap on the dog it works…..

  6. Rebel Chick Jenn says

    Huh, I would have never thought to put kool-aid in my dishwasher, but that’s an awesome idea! thank you!

  7. Queen of the Click says

    Kim I got the gift card – thank you soooooooooooo much.

    During the summer my beautiful dachshund, Reggie died and I am going to use the gc to get a new dog (when one becomes available) :)
    Thank youuuuuu so much!!

  8. courtney says

    my dishwasher always smells like something died! and i think its cheese.. i wonder if this will work for that thanks for the tip!

  9. Janet W. says

    I know exactly what you mean about the egg smell!! I’ve tried using detergent that has lemon in it to help with the odor, but it doesn’t help. Thanks for the suggestion! Plus I learned that lemon in the detergent actually dulls your silerware, too, so that’s not good.

  10. vwbug says

    Makes it smell better than vinegar which is what I have used. In a shallow bowl, on top, with some vinegar in it.

    • says

      I know! I have scoured the web for ways to clean my dishwasher and prevent that smell. Finally I found the culprit and how to clean it.

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