Do your drinking glasses smell bad after washing? Maybe your glassware comes out of the dishwasher stinking like fish or a wet dog? It’s bad enough when you’re thirsty and get a whiff of something not right. When guests notice that odor, it’s downright embarrassing.
Do Your Drinking Glasses Smell Weird?
Why Your Drinking Glasses Smell Bad
Ever since the EPA required soap manufacturers to remove phosphates from dishwasher detergent, many of us have noticed our drinking glasses smell bad even after washing them. Some liken the smell to fish; others say it’s more like rotting meat or a wet dog.
Some Detergents Make Dishes Smell Bad
As if the smell wasn’t enough, you might also see your glasses don’t look clean after washing. Instead, they have a cloudy haze that makes them look grimy. Over time that film builds up, and your once clear drinking glasses look etched. If you do nothing, that can become permanent.
Even if it’s not built up sufficiently to be noticeable yet, that haze is the source of the smell. Unlike perfectly smooth glass, the film left behind by our phosphate-free detergents is rough enough to hold onto bacteria. And where bacteria breeds, odor breeds. People using detergents with built-in drying agents seem to notice this problem the most. There’s a reason for that.
Sometimes It’s Also Your Rinse Aid
Drying agents or dishwasher rinse-aids work by leaving a thin layer on your glasses, silverware, and dishes. This slick layer helps water bead and roll off the way raindrops roll off of a properly waxed car. But this layer can also trap bacteria between it and the surface of your glasses or dishes. And, as explained above, where bacteria breeds, odors occur.
Why Dishes Smell Worse When It’s Humid
Many people notice their dishes smell the most when it’s humid or when they’ve got their windows open. That’s because warmer, humid air provides an ideal breeding ground for the bacteria causing the problem. Add warm ambient temperatures to the heat of the dishwasher, and the problem gets even worse. Fortunately, you don’t have to wait for cold weather to get rid of the stink on your dishes.
How to Fix Smelly Drinking Glasses and Dishes
So, there are a couple of ways to treat this problem, depending on whether you hand-wash your glasses or stick them in the dishwasher. Giving up detergents containing sheeting or drying agents to leave dishes spot-free isn’t really an option since manufacturers don’t disclose all of the ingredients they use.
But you can minimize smells on your drinking glasses and dishes, first by getting rid of any buildup then by keeping buildup from growing on them again.
In the Sink
- Line the bottom of your basin with a thick towel and arrange glassware on it.
- Add 2 cups of distilled white vinegar, then run the hot water until the glasses are completely submerged.
- Wait 20-30 minutes to give the vinegar time to dissolve and remove the odor-causing haze, then scrub, wash, and dry them thoroughly.
In the Dishwasher
- Pour 2 cups of white distilled vinegar into the bottom of the machine.
- Let the dishwasher run for a minute or two and pause the cycle for 20-30 minutes to give the vinegary water time to dissolve the haze. (In most dishwashers, this involves popping the door open.)
- Close the door and allow the cycle to continue as usual.
Tips To Keep Drinking Glasses From Smelling
• To prevent hazing in the future, fill your dishwasher’s rinse aid reservoir with white vinegar — it works just as well as Jet Dry or similar products and saves money, too.
• Deep clean your dishwasher monthly, so it’s not circulating bacteria-filled water or growing hidden mold. Remove and rinse the filter at least once a week since food residue and other grime build up in there.
• Or try a dishwasher cleaning product. Some get added to your empty dishwasher, and then you run it with just the cleaner inside. Others like Affresh can be added along with a load of dishes.
• Skip the dishwasher now and then in favor of washing dishes in the sink. Use regular dish soap, then rinse them in a sink of water with a cup or two of vinegar added. This will help clear away any haze and bacterial buildup, so your dishes don’t stink again.