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Why Does My LG Dishwasher Smell?

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There’s nothing quite like opening your dishwasher after a cleaning cycle, only to be greeted by an unpleasant smell. It’s a common issue many LG dishwasher owners face. But why does this happen? This comprehensive guide explores the common causes of this issue and provides practical solutions to keep your dishwasher smelling fresh.


Your LG dishwasher may smell due to food debris buildup, a clogged or dirty drain, mold or mildew growth, standing or hard water, or infrequent use. Regular cleaning and maintenance, including cleaning the filter, using a dishwasher cleaner or deodorizer, checking and cleaning the drainpipe, running a vinegar rinse, and regular use can help prevent and eliminate these odors. If the smell persists, it may be time to seek professional help.

The Culprits Behind the Smell

Several factors can contribute to a smelly LG dishwasher. Here are the most common culprits:

  1. Food Debris Buildup: When leftover food particles and grease accumulate in the dishwasher, they can lead to unpleasant odors. This buildup often occurs in the filter and at the bottom of the unit.
  2. Clogged or Dirty Drain: A clogged or dirty drain can cause lingering smells. Make sure the drainpipe is clear of any obstructions.
  3. Mold or Mildew Growth: If your dishwasher smells like a wet dog or mold, it could be due to mold or mildew buildup. This can occur on the gasket seal or in other crevices of the dishwasher.
  4. Standing or Hard Water: Clogged drains can cause standing water in the dishwasher or in the drain pipes, leading to unpleasant odors.
  5. Infrequent Use: If you don’t use your dishwasher regularly and allow dishes to pile up over time, the smell could be from the food degrading inside the dishwasher before running the cycle.

The Solutions: How to Clean and Maintain Your LG Dishwasher

Now that we’ve identified the common culprits, let’s look at how you can address these issues.

Clean the Filter

The dishwasher filter plays a crucial role in trapping food bits and debris. If it’s not cleaned regularly, it can cause a bad smell. LG recommends cleaning the filter at least once a month with a soft brush under running water.

Use a Dishwasher Cleaner or Deodorizer

There are specific cleaning products designed to tackle dishwasher odors. These can help remove any lingering smells and prevent them from returning.

Check and Clean the Drainpipe

A clogged or dirty drainpipe can be a significant cause of bad odors. Ensure it is clear of any obstructions and clean it if necessary.

Run a Vinegar Rinse

Vinegar is an excellent natural cleaner that can help remove odors and buildup. Run a dishwasher-safe bowl filled with white vinegar on the top rack of an empty dishwasher. This can help neutralize odors and break down food particles and grease.

Regular Use and Maintenance

If you don’t run your dishwasher daily, consider running a rinse cycle to remove lingering food particles in between full wash cycles. Regular use can help prevent the formation of bad smells.

When to Seek Professional Help

If you’ve tried all the solutions above and your dishwasher still smells bad, it may be time to seek professional help. Persistent odors, drainage problems, leaks, and clogged or damaged drain lines are all signs that you may need to call in a professional.


A smelly dishwasher can be a nuisance, but with regular cleaning and maintenance, you can keep your LG dishwasher smelling fresh. By understanding the causes of these odors and following the solutions provided, you’ll be well on your way to a cleaner, fresher smelling dishwasher.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I clean my LG dishwasher?

LG recommends cleaning the dishwasher filter at least once a month. However, the frequency may vary depending on usage. If you use your dishwasher heavily, you might need to clean it more often.

Can I use any type of vinegar for the vinegar rinse?

It’s recommended to use white vinegar for the rinse as it’s a natural deodorizer and cleaner. Avoid using other types of vinegar like apple cider or balsamic as they may leave stains or odors.

Are dishwasher cleaning products safe for my LG dishwasher?

Yes, dishwasher cleaning products are designed to be safe for use in dishwashers. However, always ensure to follow the instructions on the product label for the best results.

What should I do if my dishwasher has a leak or drainage problems?

If your dishwasher has a leak or drainage problems, it’s best to seek professional help. These issues could be a sign of a more serious problem that needs professional attention.

How can I prevent food debris from accumulating in my dishwasher?

One of the best ways to prevent food debris accumulation is by scraping off food particles from your dishes before loading them into the dishwasher. However, do not pre-rinse the dishes as the dishwasher detergent needs some grease and grime to work effectively.

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