Dishwasher Not Drying and Smells: Troubleshooting Guide

If you’ve just searched “dishwasher not drying and smells”, you’re not alone. This guide provides a comprehensive, step-by-step walkthrough to address these problems.

Common Reasons For This Issue

Understanding the root causes of these issues is the first step in troubleshooting. The most common reasons include:

Blocked Vent

Malfunctioning Heating Element

Food Residue

Use of Suboptimal Detergent

Fixing the Drying Issue

Here’s how to tackle the drying issue…

Step 1: Check the Vent

Here’s what you’ll need to do…

Locate the Vent

The vent is an essential component of your dishwasher, as it helps with the drying process. Usually, you’ll find the vent on the inner door or at the bottom of the dishwasher. Consult your user manual if you’re having difficulty locating it.

Inspect for Obstructions

Once you’ve located the vent, inspect it carefully to see if there’s anything obstructing the airflow. Common obstructions can be food debris, pieces of broken dishware, or even accumulated grease.

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Remove Debris

If you do find any obstructions, use a soft cloth or an old toothbrush to gently remove them. You might also consider using a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment for more stubborn debris.

Confirm Airflow

After removing any obstructions, place your hand near the vent and confirm that you can feel the air flowing when the dishwasher is operating (you’ll need to plug it back in temporarily for this). If the airflow is consistent, you’ve likely solved the drying issue. If not, proceed to the next step.

Step 2: Test the Heating Element

Here’s how to test this part…

Safety First: Unplug the Dishwasher

Before touching any electrical components, it’s crucial to unplug your dishwasher from the electrical outlet. This ensures your safety while you’re working on the appliance.

Locate the Heating Element

The heating element is usually a loop of thick wire located at the bottom of the dishwasher. It’s what heats the water and helps in drying the dishes. Your user manual will have specific instructions on how to access it.

Use a Multimeter for Testing

To check if the heating element is functional, you’ll need a multimeter. Set your multimeter to test for continuity—this will allow you to see if electrical current can flow through the heating element effectively. Attach the multimeter’s leads to the element’s terminals.

Interpret the Results

A continuity test will either show a reading or not. If your multimeter shows no reading (or a reading of “0”), it means that the heating element is faulty and must be replaced.

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Replacing the Heating Element

If you determine that the heating element is faulty, consult your dishwasher’s user manual for replacement instructions, or consider hiring a professional to replace it for you.

Eliminating the Bad Smell

Here’s how to deal with the bad smell…

Step 1: Clean the Filter

Do the following…

Locate the Filter

The filter is a crucial component in your dishwasher that catches food particles and other debris. You’ll typically find the filter at the bottom of the dishwasher’s interior. If you’re not sure where the filter is, your user manual should provide clear directions.

Remove the Filter

Once you’ve located the filter, gently twist or unlatch it to remove it from its housing. Some dishwashers may have locks or clips holding the filter in place. If so, carefully disengage these mechanisms.

Wash Thoroughly

Take the filter to your sink and run it under warm water. Use a soft-bristled brush, like an old toothbrush, to scrub away any food particles or other debris. You may also use a mild dish soap for more stubborn grime.

Inspect and Reinstall

Before reinstalling the filter, give it a thorough inspection to ensure that all debris has been removed. Once satisfied, place the filter back into its housing, making sure to securely latch or twist it into position.

Step 2: Run a Vinegar Cycle

Ensure that the dishwasher is empty and that you’ve replaced the now-clean filter.

Fill a Dishwasher-Safe Cup

Locate a dishwasher-safe cup or bowl, and fill it with white vinegar. You’ll need about one cup of vinegar for this process. White vinegar is an excellent natural cleaner that can help remove odors and clean the internal components of your dishwasher.

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Place the Cup on the Top Rack

Put the cup filled with vinegar on the top rack of the dishwasher. Make sure it’s secure so it won’t tip over during the washing cycle.

Run a Hot-Water Cycle

Close the dishwasher door and select a hot-water cycle. Some dishwashers have a “sanitize” setting, which is ideal for this purpose.

Start the cycle and let the dishwasher run through it completely. The vinegar will disperse throughout the dishwasher, cleaning and deodorizing it.

Ongoing Maintenance

To prevent these issues from reoccurring, regularly clean the filter, use high-quality detergent, and periodically inspect the heating element and vent.

For more articles on dishwashers, click here: Dishwasher Problems and Solutions: Your Ultimate Guide to Hassle-free Dishwashing

Conclusion: Dishwasher Not Drying and Smells

Addressing the issues of a dishwasher not drying and emitting unpleasant smells can be stressful, but it’s usually something you can manage without requiring professional help.

By methodically checking each component, from the vent to the heating element, and taking the time to clean your dishwasher’s filter and run a vinegar cycle, you can often solve these problems yourself.

Remember that maintenance is key; taking preemptive steps can prevent these issues from reoccurring. By following this comprehensive guide, you’re not just troubleshooting— you’re investing in the longevity and effectiveness of your appliance.