Dishwasher smells like wet dog

Dishwasher smells like wet dog. The smell in the dishwasher, resembling a wet dog, is caused by contaminated water.

The bacteria in this contaminated water, after time, dry and causes the wet dog smell. The food leftovers in the dishwasher that are left after washing also cause the wet dog smell.

As I entered my kitchen after a week because of my trip abroad, I almost vomited. The kitchen reeked. I thought there was a wet dig in the kitchen causing this smell.

Then I remembered I didn’t have a dog and wondered what was causing the smell. I checked my kitchen and found the smell’s source was actually my dishwasher and not a real wet dog.

Well, a wet dog would have been better. After finding the dishwasher as a smell source, I figured out the cause of the dishwasher’s smell and applied the method to exterminate the smell.

Read to learn!

Dishwasher smells like wet dog

The smell of the wet dog is absolutely the worst smell. The smell from the wet dog can make you vomit and even get you sick. The cause of the wet smell in the dishwasher is not a wet dog but the contaminated water in the dishwasher.

The dry bacteria in the dishwasher make this smell after they get dry.

The food leftovers in the dishwasher after washing the dishes are left in it, and they also cause the smell of wet dog if not cleaned for some time. Stagnant recycled water can also be left over and cause a smell.

Causes of smell

causes of smell

Before knowing the wet dog smell extermination tricks, it’s better to point out why the dog smell has been formed in the dishwasher. Did you actually wash a dog in the dishwasher? Just kidding.

If there wasn’t a dog in the dishwasher, then the source can be the food leftovers that weren’t removed from the dishwasher because they got stuck.

If all the leftovers were washed, then the water can cause a wet dog smell. The water can be contained in different ways, and the bacteria in the water after drying can result in a wet dog smell too.

The dishwasher filter has made the water stick because of clogging. The water may not be contaminated, but the water can be hard. The drain hose’s incorrect installation can cause the smell too. Let’s see the details below.

Food particles

food particles

The dishes are washed in the dishwasher, and that’s what makes their dishwashers. The point is that the dishwashers have multiple dishes that it washed, and the dishes contain food particles of the food that you ate.

Some particles of food are not removed from the dishwasher. The food particles, after being washed, can sometimes remain in the dishwasher.

The particles of food may have gotten stuck in the dishwasher’s filter, and the stuck food particles get to stay there for a subtle time, which causes the smell of the wet dog to be formed because of the food particles or simply leftovers.

Impure water

impure water

The water, if not the leftovers, can be the reason for the wet dog smell. The water can have bacteria, and these bacteria make the water impure.

This impure water, in your term, is contaminated water. The water, if coming directly, can have bacteria in it, and even the filters water can have bacteria if the filter is faulty.

The rust in the lines through which the water passes can be rusty and make the water impure. The bacteria in this impure water dry, and those dry bacteria are the wet dog smell culprit.

Leaving the contaminated water aside, the impurity in the water can be from the hardware, and the minerals in the hardware can also dry and clog the dishwasher making the dog smell get more enhanced.

The sanitizing because of accumulated minerals in water becomes slow and results in smell.

Standing water

standing water

The last water culprit of the wet dog’s smell is the standing water. Even if the water in the dishwasher was soft and there weren’t any contaminations in the water, the smell could still form through it.

The reason is standing. If there is water standing in the dishwasher, it will get impure later, and this standing water in the dishwasher won’t just smell like a wet dog but will give you diseases too.

Untended washer

The washer can remain untended for some time, and this causes the water to stand and miners to form, and even the food particles will remain if the dishwasher is untended, but the worst is the closed dishwasher.

The dishwasher that has been closed for a long time will have all the above issues, and that will lead to the wet dog smell. Untended washers are because of no use for some time.

Drain hose/incorrect installation

drain hoseincorrect installation

The last tremendous wet dog smell causing the issue is incorrect installation.

The incorrect installation of the dishwasher filter or the drain of the dishwasher and the incorrect installation can be corrected through different means like reinstalling the drain hose and the filter.

The incorrect installation leads to sticking, and the sticking and standing water are the above reasons.



Now that the reasons for wet dog smell have been explained in detail, getting rid of the dog smell is more important. The ways to get rid of the unruly wet dog smell are listed below.

Particle/standing water

As the particles that stand are the first mentioned cause, the fix of the food particles should be listed first.

So the food particles stand because the dishwasher can have clogs, and the filter of the dishwasher gets stuck with particles.

The standing water is mentioned with the particle sticking because the fix to both the stuck particles and standing water is the same.

The reason the food particles can’t pass through the dishwasher drain can be because of the filter, and the filter of the dishwasher won’t let water pass either when there are particles in its way.

The dishwasher drain with the filter can also be clogged, and the dishwasher will let the water stand and particles remain with its clogging.

The cleaning of the particles will get rid of the smell, and even the standing water that causes the smell will be gone because of it.

Remove the filter of your dishwasher by checking your dishwasher’s online manual.

Pour hot water and soapy water to open the clogged drains. Use baking to clear the drain, and the filter should be cleaned or replaced. Flush the drain once the filter and drains are cleared to test them.

Impure water solution

impure water solution

If the water is impure and it has minerals, then the water will form deposits in the dishwasher.

After the hard water, the contaminated water will do its art and form bacteria, and after the bacteria from this water gets on the mineral and remains with them.

The smell of the wet dog is even worse, so clean the filers and drain as above in the standing water point to get rid of the smell at that time.

After the smell has been taken care of for the moment, move to permanently rid of the smell. The permanent rid of the smell is through the water getting pure as impure water minerals caused it with bacteria.

Then they should be cleared so that they won’t form the minerals, and the bacteria are eliminated and won’t remain to get dry and cause the smell.

If the water you are using is recycled, there are chances of contaminants in it. And normal water will carry hardness.

So to get rid of hard water and bacteria water, the installation of a water filter is a good idea. Install a water filter at the main supply or the supply line to the dishwasher to make it pure.

Correct installation

correct installation

The smell was formed by incorrect installation of the drain and the dishwasher, which caused water to stand, so fixing the drain line.

Remove all the dishwasher parts and disassemble them. Now check the relative dishwasher guide, depending on the brand.

After checking, start installing your dishwasher parts by parts. Make sure the instruction for assembling is completely followed.

Install the drain lines and the filter at the correct position, and after assembling the dishwasher, check it so that there isn’t an incorrect installation this time. A plumber can install your dishwasher if you want.


If your dishwasher smells like a wet dog, you should wear a mask and get the tools. Gloves will help. Now check the reason for the cause of wet dog smell.

There are probably clogs that are stuck in the food particles, and the clogs cause standing water which is making the awful stench.

The hard and contaminated water can result in the stench of wet dog too. Use a filter to remove contaminants and minerals in the water. Thanks for reading!

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