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Table of Contents

Giving Your Dishwasher a New Lease on Life

Washing Machine Wellness

Dryer De-Stinkification

Refrigerator Refresh Routine

Cooktop Care

Oven Odor Annihilation

Microwave Maintenance Magic

Schedule laundry appliance maintenance now!

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What's That Smell? 7 Smelly Appliances and Their Freshness Fixes

8 min readUpdated Mar. 20, 2024Kimberly HillegassLaundry Appliances
appliance cleaning hacks

Have you ever noticed an unwelcome scent wafting through your home, only to discover it's emanating from one of your appliances? You're not alone. While our appliances make life easier, they can also harbor lingering smells if not maintained properly. Take a look at the 7 appliances that may cause odors, and the handy life hacks for cleaning them. From your dishwasher, washing machine, dryer, refrigerator, cooktop, oven, to your microwave, we've got the secrets to freshening them up.


  • Regularly tackling food particles, mold, and clogged filters can prevent most appliance odors before they start.
  • Simple household items like vinegar and lemons are powerful tools for neutralizing unpleasant scents in your appliances.
  • Paying attention to seals and under appliances can prevent odor buildup and extend the lifespan of your machines.

Unraveling the Mystery: Why Do Appliances Begin to Smell?

Ever wondered why your kitchen suddenly smells less like fresh cookies and more like last week's fish dinner? Or why your laundry room has a hint of eau de damp sock? It's often your hardworking appliances, quietly harboring odors. Let's break down the usual suspects and how you can bust those smells:

  • The Case of the Lingering Leftovers: Your dishwasher and fridge can become hideouts for old food particles, leading to some seriously stinky situations. The trick? Regular patrols and cleanups. For example, giving your dishwasher filter a monthly scrub can keep it from becoming a smelly saboteur.

  • Mold and Mildew's Favorite Hangouts: Moist environments are like all-inclusive resorts for mold and mildew. Washing machines and dishwashers, with their damp crevices, can start smelling more like a musty basement than fresh appliances. The solution is simple—let them air out. Keeping your washing machine door ajar post-wash invites fresh air in and keeps musty smells out.

  • The Filter Fiasco: If your microwave vent is doing more recirculating than purifying, it might be time to check the filters. Dust, grease, and pet dander can clog them up, turning your microwave into a source of odor rather than a quick dinner solution. Regular checks and cleanings can turn the tide against the stench.

To wage war on appliance odors:

  • Do some detective work inside your appliances for any gunk or grime.
  • Investigate filters and vents for any unwanted guests like dirt clumps or grease blobs.
  • Stick to a cleaning regimen that would make your appliances practically sparkle with joy.
    Regular cleaning is key in preventing odors from returning. By maintaining cleanliness, you can ensure your appliances work efficiently and help keep your home smelling fresh.

Giving Your Dishwasher a New Lease on Life

The dishwasher is your trusty kitchen companion, until it starts smelling like a science experiment gone wrong. With a bit of love and a few handy tips, though, you can get it back to its fresh, efficient self. Give it the spa treatment deserves with these 3 tips:

  1. Filter facial: This unsung hero catches food bits to keep the debris from clogging the pump, but the filter can get pretty gunky. The filter is usually located at the bottom of your dishwasher tub. Pop it out (most are designed for easy removal) and give it a good rinse under the tap to dislodge any loose debris. Got some clingy goo? A soft brush or an old toothbrush will get the goo gone. Once the filter is spick and span, pop it back in, make sure it's snug and secure.

  2. Aroma Therapy: Lemons and vinegar are nature's deodorizers. If you're going the lemon route, halve one and nestle it in the utensil holder or up top on the rack. Run the dishwasher empty with hot water, and let the lemony goodness do its thing. Prefer vinegar? Pour a cup of white vinegar into a dishwasher-safe container, place it on the top rack, and set your machine on a hot, dish-free cycle. Either way, you're neutralizing odors and bidding farewell to funk.

  3. Spray arm pampering: Spray arms work hard to spritz your dishes clean, but can get bogged down by mineral build-up and food gunk, hindering their performance. Detach the arms and give them a good rinse, flushing out any loose bits. For logged nozzles, a toothpick or small brush can clear them out. Really stubborn deposits? Let the arms soak in a vinegar-water bath for about 30 minutes. Once they're clean, reattach them and prepare to be amazed at the difference.

With its day at the spa complete, your dishwasher is revitalized, fresh-smelling, and eager to tackle the next load of dishes.

Washing Machine Wellness

Nobody wants their clean clothes smelling like last week's gym socks. Here's how to keep things fresh:

  1. The Dynamic Duo: Vinegar and Baking Soda: These pantry staples are about to become your washing machine's best friends. Fill the machine with hot water, then add two cups of white vinegar and half a cup of baking soda. Let the mixture sit for about an hour, then run a full cycle without any clothes. This will break up any odor-causing residue, leaving your washer smelling like new.

  2. Detox Your Detergent Drawer and Rubber Door Seal: That detergent drawer and rubber seal are collectors of gunk and old fabric softener. Pull out the drawer, let it soak in some sudsy water, and give it a good scrub. The rubber seal? A nice wipe-down with a vinegar-water mix will do the trick, helping keep mold at bay.

  3. Mold and Mildew Beware: These unwelcome guests love a damp environment, so don't roll out the welcome mat. When not in use, leave the door open to let your washer air out and dry.

With these steps, your washing machine will not only smell better but also work more efficiently. Remember, a little routine love and care can go a long way!

Dryer De-Stinkification

Your dryer might be your favorite appliance (hello, warm towels!), but it needs some regular love to keep it smelling fresh and working hard:

  1. Lint Trap TLC: That lint trap isn't just a chore; it's a safety feature. A clogged lint trap can smell musty and even pose a fire risk. Unplug, detach the vent, and get in there with a vacuum attachment or brush to evict that lint. Your dryer will thank you with better performance and fewer odors.

  2. Don't Overcrowd the Party: Overloading your dryer is a no-no. It makes your dryer work harder, increases drying times, and can leave your clothes damp and musty. Stick to the recommended load size to give your clothes room to dance around and dry properly.

By keeping these areas clean, you're not just preventing odors; you're also extending the life of your dryer. So, show your dryer some love, and it'll return the favor.

Refrigerator Refresh Routine

The heart of your kitchen is your refrigerator. Not only does a clean refrigerator help prevent odors, but it also ensures that your food stays fresh and safe to eat. Here are a few tips to keep your refrigerator clean and organized:

  1. Leftover Lovin': We've all been there—discovering a Tupperware container in the back of the fridge that's turned into a science experiment. Regularly date your leftovers and keep an eye on their shelf life. Your nose (and taste buds) will thank you.

  2. Vinegar Victory: A mix of vinegar and water is your fridge's spa treatment. It cuts through grime and knocks out odors without leaving any chemical residue. Give your fridge a good wipe-down every few months, or whenever you spot a spill.
    Staying on top of these tasks will not only keep your fridge smelling sweet but also ensure it's a safe place for your food.

Cooktop Care

Your cooktop sees a lot of action, which means it can also be a major source of kitchen odors if not cleaned regularly:

  1. Drip Pan Drama: Those drip pans are grease and food particle magnets. Regular cleaning will prevent them from burning and stinking up your kitchen. Soak them in vinegar and water if debris is cooked on.

  2. Undercover Clean: If your cooktop lifts, don't forget to clean underneath. It's a favorite hideout for crumbs and spills. A quick wipe can prevent a whole lot of smelly trouble down the line.

These easy habits will keep your cooktop in shape and your kitchen smelling great. Plus, they'll make cooking a cleaner, more enjoyable experience.

Oven Odor Annihilation

A dirty oven can impact flavors and fill your kitchen with less-than-appetizing smells, so here's how to keep it in check:

  1. Spill Patrol: Keep an eye on spills and splatters. Wiping them up promptly prevents burnt-on messes and odors the next time you heat things up.

  2. Self-Clean Smarts: If your oven has a self-clean function, use it wisely. It's like hitting the reset button on odors and grime, but always remove bigger debris first.

These steps are straightforward but mighty, ensuring your oven is ready to bake, roast, and broil without any olfactory offenses.

Microwave Maintenance Magic

Last but not least, your microwave can be a major odor offender if neglected. Here's how to keep it fresh:

  1. Splatter Management: Wipe food splatters from the interior after each use. A vinegar-water solution can tackle the tough spots and keep your microwave smelling neutral.

  2. Exterior and Filter Vigilance: Don't forget the microwave's outside and filter! These areas can harbor dust and grease, which affect performance and cleanliness. Regular wiping of exterior surfaces keeps your microwave efficient and odor-free. Clean mesh filters in hot water and dishsoap, and replace charcoal filters every 4 to 6 months.

By giving your microwave this level of attention, you're not just preventing odors; you're also prolonging its life. It's all about keeping things clean and fresh, meal after delicious meal.

Got a glitch with an appliance or just aiming to keep it humming at its best? Give us a call! At Sears Home Services, we're more than just your go-to fixers; we're your partners in making sure your home appliances are always ready to roll, whether it's for routine maintenance or urgent repairs.

Schedule laundry appliance maintenance now!

Regular laundry appliance maintenance can help prevent costly breakdowns, reduce energy costs and extend the life of your washer and dryer. We’ll perform a 31-point inspection on your washer and dryer.

Call (213) 596-2538 or schedule online now.

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