Peaking at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 chart, the album was also well received by music critics. It has since been certified four-times platinum by the RIAA and gone on to sell five million copies worldwide, making Dirt the band's highest selling album to date. It is the band's last album recorded with all four original members, as bassist Mike Starr was fired from the band in January 1993. The album spawned five singles: "Would?", "Them Bones", "Angry Chair", "Rooster", and "Down in a Hole"; all with accompanying music videos. Dirt was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance. The music video for "Would?" was nominated for an MTV Video Music Award for Best Video from a Film, as the song was featured on the soundtrack to Cameron Crowe's 1992 film, Singles.
The songs on the album focused on depression, pain, anger, anti-social behavior, relationships, drug addiction (primarily heroin), war, death, and other emotionally charged topics. The track "Iron Gland" features Tom Araya from Slayer on vocals. Most of the music from the album was written by guitarist Jerry Cantrell, but for the first time vocalist Layne Staley wrote two songs all by himself: "Hate to Feel" and "Angry Chair", both also feature Staley on guitar. Rolling Stone listed the album at No. 26 on its list of the 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time. Dirt was included in the 2005 book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. It was voted "Kerrang! Critic's Choice Album of the Year". Guitar World named Dirt as the best guitar album of 1992. Loudwire named it as one of the best Metal albums of the 1990s, and Rolling Stone ranked it at No. 6 on its list of "50 Greatest Grunge Albums" in 2019.
Alice in Chains' fourth studio album, Black Gives Way to Blue, was released on the 17th anniversary of Dirt, on September 29, 2009.