How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposal

Posted on May 27, 2016 by Anytime Plumbing, Inc

One of the handiest things to have in your kitchen is a garbage disposal. It makes quick work of cleaning off dishes, pots, and pans. Plus, you do not have to worry about putting food in your garbage cans that might entice vermin.

Most garbage disposals work by flipping a switch above the sink. All you have to do is put small scraps of food in it and run cold water while it disposes of the waste.

How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposalUnfortunately, anything that handles waste is going to collect smells after a while. If you use your garbage disposal a lot, it is naturally going to get some build-up that will stink. Often, it starts as a slightly sour smell around the sink. If you let it go for a while, a dirty garbage disposal can smell up the whole kitchen.

Sometimes the whole disposal may get clogged, and you need a professional plumber to fix it. One of the biggest culprits of clogged and smelly garbage disposals is grease.

Some people may not think about dumping a bunch of oil down their disposal. When it cools, the oil can make a big clog in the disposal or the drain pipes. Grease also can build up and cause terrible smells.

There are a few things you can do to keep your garbage disposal clean and fresh. You just have to be careful what you put down it and be sure to run water in it while it is working. The best remedy is prevention. If your garbage disposal smells like something died in it, try some of these proven remedies to make it fresh again.

1. Use Natural Remedies

  • Baking Soda and White Vinegar: One of the greenest ways of freshening your garbage disposal is to pour ¼ cup of baking soda in it, then add a cup of white vinegar. The bubbling reaction naturally kills bacteria and germs that cause odor. Let it bubble for a few minutes and then run some water through the disposal. This method also cleans away mineral deposits that can be harboring smelly germs.
  • Borax: This is a powerful mineral that cleans and destroys odor. Use a half cup of borax in your garbage disposal once a week to keep in smelling fresh.
  • Salt and Ice: When used together, salt and ice clean all the gunk out of the disposal that is responsible for the awful odors. It also cleans the disposal blades well.
  • Mouthwash: Many people do not know that the original mouthwash started out as an antiseptic treatment to sterilize surgery tools. If mouthwash can kill germs that cause bad breath, it will work just as well in the garbage disposal. Just rinse your disposal with a cup of mouthwash whenever it needs to be refreshed.

How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposal2. The Power of Citrus

Citrus fruits are acidic and contain natural oils that are antibacterial and anti-fungal. Plus, they make your garbage disposal have a pleasant, citrus smell. Most of these oils are in the rinds of oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes.

To take advantage of Mother Nature’s lovely deodorizer, grind a handful of peelings in your garbage disposal whenever it starts to stink. Some people like to cut up slices and use the whole fruit. The citrus oils kill odor-causing bacteria and whisk away stinky residue in the disposal.

3. Scouring Powder

There are several brands of quality scouring powders that are safe to clean your garbage disposal. Just sprinkle about ½ cup of your favorite brand down the disposal and add a little cold water.

After it has sat for about 15 minutes, run the disposal with some more cold water. The gentle abrasion of the powder will clean the blades, and the ingredients will take away bad smells. If you do not want to use scouring powder, then plain baking soda will do the same thing.

4. Avoidable Objects

How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposalSome foods do not grind up well in a garbage disposal. They can easily cause dull blades, build-up, and clogs. Where there is a build-up, there will be a foul odor. Avoid these things in your garbage disposal:

  • Oils and fats: These can cause fat clogs that would require professional plumbing help.
  • Meats: Cooked or uncooked
  • Stringy vegetables and fruits, such as celery, onions, rhubarb, corn husks, and banana peels. The strings get all wrapped around the blades and can burn out the motor. Plus, the build-up on the blades causes odor.
  • Egg shells

5. Bottle Brush

Use a little dishwashing liquid and a bottle brush to scrub out your disposal. Make sure the disposal is turned off. NEVER stick your fingers in a garbage disposal to clean or dislodge anything.

If you need a professional plumber to fix your garbage disposal, call Anytime Plumbing, Inc in Las Vegas, NV at (702) 362-9300.

If you’re using your garbage disposal as a catch-all, you may want to reconsider. There are a lot of things you shouldn’t put down the garbage disposal, from eggshells and coffee grounds to oils and grease.

The reality is that sometimes, whether you’re putting the right things or the wrong things down your sink, a foul garbage disposal odor can develop that takes over your whole kitchen!

Before you start lighting candles and spraying air freshening spray, see if you can tackle the smell directly. Not sure how? We’ve got your back!

Read on for tips and tricks from our expert home cleaners on how to get rid of that nasty garbage disposal odor.

Step 1: Start With Some Ice

Believe it or not, the first thing you can try is something you’ll find right in your own freezer: ice! Throwing an ice cube or two down the garbage disposal is something you can do if you need a quick fix to sharpen your blades. It’s also a good way to try to tackle strange smells.

The reason why we suggest starting with ice is that it can help to clean up those blades without any chemicals. Plus, it can help dislodge any food scraps that are stuck in the garbage disposal without running the risk of adding another strange smell to the mix.

Run your garbage disposal and drop one to three ice cubes into it one at a time. Give it at least an hour and see if the smell clears up.

Step 2: Go Natural With Citrus

If the ice doesn’t do the trick (or you want to add some natural freshness to the air), we recommend using citrus fruits to your advantage. You can use a lemon, a lime, or an orange for this trick.

Why is citrus the way to go? Citrus fruits are acidic and can help eat away at all sorts of caked-on or greasy messes. Citrus also helps to neutralize unpleasant odors while filling the air with something much sweeter and more refreshing.

To try the citrus trick, discard the peel of the fruit in the trash–it’s too tough to go down the disposal. Then, cut the fruit into small pieces, turn on your garbage disposal, and throw the pieces in one at a time. Just like you did with the ice, give it about an hour and check again to see if the smell is still lingering.

Step 3: Bleach OR Vinegar and Baking Soda

Please take note that for this step, we’re advising you to use bleach or vinegar and baking soda. Do not use one right after the other and never mix bleach and vinegar. Doing so creates a toxic gas that can cause serious health problems.

Because vinegar and baking soda aren’t harsh on the skin or respiratory system, we do suggest using this method instead of bleach. However, we’ll discuss both methods in case you don’t have vinegar and baking soda on hand.

The Bleach Method

If you’re going to use bleach to get rid of that garbage disposal odor, look for something on the milder side. Turn on the tap and make sure that you’re running cold water–you can leave the garbage disposal, itself, off. Then, pour about a tablespoon of bleach into the running water so that it washes down the drain.

The bleach should knock out whatever is causing your sink to stink. Bleach is also an odor neutralizer, although it does come with a pungent smell of its own. If possible, open surrounding windows for at least 30 minutes after using bleach.

The Vinegar and Baking Soda Method

When vinegar and baking soda get together, they start to fizz and knock out the toughest, most stuck-on goops and greases out there. To try out this method, you’re going to want about one cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar. (Remember, we’re talking white vinegar, not red wine vinegar!)

First, turn on your garbage disposal and dump your baking soda down the drain. Then, turn the disposal off and slowly and evenly pour the vinegar down the drain. You will most likely be able to hear the fizzing or bubbling sound as the baking soda and vinegar react to one another.

Like bleach, vinegar does have a pretty pungent odor. However, it clears out faster than bleach and it doesn’t pose any threats to your respiratory system.

No Dice? Try Speciality Products

If none of these methods are working, you may need to break out the serious stuff. Head to the grocery store or home improvement store to pick up a bottle of cleaning product designed specifically for cleaning garbage disposals. Then, head home and follow the instructions on the bottle or package to hopefully take care of your garbage disposal odor for good!

(Some cleaning products contain chemicals, which means that you’ll want to take precautions. You may want to wear gloves and other protective gear. You may also need to turn on a fan or open a window to increase ventilation in your kitchen.)

No Time to Tackle That Garbage Disposal Odor? Let Us Take It From Here

Some smells love nothing more to linger no matter what you do. If that garbage disposal odor is one of them and you’re tired of giving it all of your free time, it’s time to sit down, relax, and get back to what you want to do. We’ll take it from here!

To find out more about our services or request a free quote for your next cleaning, contact us today. We pride ourselves in helping keep houses across Georgia clean so that you don’t have to!

If there’s an unpleasant stench wafting from your garbage disposal, it’s time to give it a good cleaning. Here’s how to get rid of stinky food residue in your disposal.

By Bob Vila | Updated Sep 22, 2020 4:37 PM

How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposal How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposal How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposal How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposal

How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposal

There’s no denying the convenience of the garbage disposal: It simplifies so many of the activities that take place in the kitchen. Frequent use of the appliance, however, can sometimes lead to foul odors. If you’ve noticed a not-so-pleasing scent emanating from yours, don’t worry—it’s nothing permanent. Getting rid of a garbage disposal smell is by no means an arduous task. In fact, you probably have everything you need for it in your pantry, and the job won’t take more than 10 minutes.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS Available on Amazon
– Scrub brush
– Dish soap

STEP 1

Start by dabbing about a tablespoon of dish soap onto your choice of either a scrub brush or dish wand. Scrub the visible portion of the garbage disposal, paying special attention to the seam where the disposal flange meets the sink basin. Small particles have the tendency to linger there, and even mold can sometimes grow.

How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposal

STEP 2

When you run the kitchen faucet while operating the garbage disposal, its housing never completely fills with water. That’s normal. But if your garbage disposal has begun to smell, it can be a huge help to give the guts of the appliance a good soak. Here’s how to do it: Plug the drain in your sink, fill the basin about halfway with water, and then add a bit of dish soap (or vinegar, a natural cleaner). Next, unplug the drain and activate the garbage disposal. Doing so propels the soapy water through the housing, rinsing off its hidden nooks and crannies.

STEP 3

Even after the bath you gave the garbage disposal in Step 2, there may still be slimy residue left inside the appliance. To dislodge it, you need to go only as far as the spice rack: As it happens, kosher salt can be an effective abrasive cleaner. Pour a large cup of ice cubes into the garbage disposal, switch on the appliance, then add one-half cup of the salt. Together, the ice and salt should combine to grind away what remains of the odor-causing residue.

By now, the garbage disposal smell that had been bothering you should be gone. If you’ve got an extra lemon lying around, why not imbue the kitchen with a fresh citrus scent by simply grinding a few peels through the appliance?

Preventing Bad Smells

Although it’s easy enough to eliminate a garbage disposal smell, prevention is perhaps the best cure. Bear in mind these simple guidelines, and you’ll cut down on the accumulated food residue in the disposal that causes the foul odors in the first place. First, remember to use the disposal only for the organic materials it was designed to handle. Also, try to keep fibrous vegetables—for example, celery—and starchy foods like potatoes out of there. Meanwhile, don’t be hesitant to put eggshells and small fruit pits through the machine, as they actually go a long way toward cleaning its blades. Finally, dispel persistent particles from within the housing by always running the machine for five seconds longer than you think is strictly necessary.

With regular care and a bit of extra attention on occasion, your garbage disposal can be a boon to your everyday life without becoming a stinky inconvenience.

It happens in every kitchen, sooner or later – one morning you walk in for a much-needed cup of coffee and instead encounter a disgusting mystery odor coming from your garbage disposal.

How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposalIt’s understandable, considering all of the food waste we throw down there on a daily basis, but fear not – deodorizing a disposal is simple! Here are five easy ways to get rid of the funk.

1) The Simplest Solution

The first thing to try is a simple hot water flush. Plug up the disposal with a rubber stopper, then fill the sink with hot water and a couple of drops of dish detergent.

Then, use rubber gloves or kitchen tongs to pull up the rubber stopper carefully (don’t burn yourself!).

The rush of hot water will hopefully remove any bits of smelly food stuck to the sides of the disposal. For better results, you can repeat this method a few times in a row, as well as daily to keep the stinky smells at bay.

2) Use Natural Remedies

Many things around your home can be cleaned with simple baking soda and vinegar, and the garbage disposal is no exception! Simply pour a cup of vinegar down a running disposal with cool water, or sprinkle in half a cup of baking soda. Either one will work well on by itself, but for the toughest jobs, you can combine them for extra cleaning power.

Take one cup of vinegar, and half a cup of baking soda, as before, but don’t mix them yet! Sprinkle in the baking soda first, then pour the vinegar on top. They will react to form a natural foaming cleanser and deodorizer. Leave it to set for about five minutes, then finish with a hot water run of the disposal.

3) The Ice Method

Toss some ice cubes down the disposal – anywhere from a handful to a whole tray will work – and pour in a little of your favorite cleaning solution. Turn on the cold water faucet, and run the disposal. As the ice gets crushed up, it will scrape away all of the old food particles, giving the disposal a good deep cleaning.

How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposalThis can be done once a week for ongoing maintenance, more than that will eventually dull the blades. You can also substitute kosher salt for the cleaning solution if you prefer a more natural method, as the salt will provide abrasive scrubbing as well as kill any smell-causing bacteria.

4) The Power of Citrus

There’s a reason many cleaners are fragranced with citrus oil – it smells fresh and clean! An easy way to deodorize your garbage disposal is to peel any citrus fruit – lemons, limes, oranges, even grapefruits – and throw the peels into the disposal (eating the fruit is optional). Remember to only add the peels, being especially careful to remove any pits, seeds or cores as they will harm the disposal.

Run cold water as you turn on the disposal, and in just a few seconds a lovely citrus scent will replace the bad odor. You can do this anytime you think about it to keep the disposal smelling fresh and clean.

5) Prevention is the Cure

Ideally, it would be best to avoid a smelly garbage disposal altogether. Fortunately, there are some simple things that can be done in just a few minutes every day to prevent bad odors, such as:

  • Always use cold water when running the garbage disposal. Though hot water is great when trying to clean it, cold water will help prevent buildup from melted grease and oils.
  • If you are cooking with eggs or citrus, save the eggshells and fruit peels to run down last. The eggshells will act as an abrasive, scrubbing the grime off the sides of the disposal, while the peels will deodorize and freshen.
  • Always run the disposal an additional 20-30 seconds after you hear that all of the food particles have been pulverized. This allows sufficient water to run through the disposal, effectively rinsing it clean for less chance of lingering odor.
  • Remember to occasionally clean under the rubber seal of the garbage disposal, as gunk will build up there as well. Any easy way is to put a few drops of dish soap or cleaning solution on a handled scrub brush and maneuver it under and through the flaps. In some of the newer disposal models, this is removable, making it even easier to clean once or twice a week.

How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposalAdditionally, there are certain things that you should avoid putting down the garbage disposal, such as:

  • Grease/Oils: while most liquids will go down the drain just fine, avoid pouring any cooking oils or grease down, as they can solidify inside the disposal and create clogs.
  • Coffee grounds: you would think coffee grounds might be a perfect candidate to run through the disposal, but they can get caught in the drain trap and eventually cause problems.
  • Rice and Pasta: these items have the ability to expand in water, thus potentially causing a messy blockage.
  • Bones, seeds, fruit cores, and pits: for the most part, these are too hard for your garbage disposal to handle and may break the blades.
  • Vegetables with fibers, such as celery and artichokes: the fibers in these types of foods can wrap around the edges and damage the garbage disposal.
  • Non-foods items: this might be obvious, but often a bottle cap or straw or even a piece of silverware can slip down the disposal drain accidentally. Before turning the unit on, always check to make sure nothing is down there that shouldn’t be!

If you follow these tips, your garbage disposal should last you many years smelling fresh and clean. However, if you do have a problem with your garbage disposal, do not hesitate to call in a professional.

We here at PHD Mechanical Inc are a reputable repair service in Wayne, NJ with 26 years of experience. Contact us for a consultation today at (973) 492-5931. We would be happy to help!

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If you’ve noticed a funky smell lingering in your kitchen even after taking out the trash and cleaning the fridge, it could be your garbage disposal. Bits of food can get stuck to the grinder blades, leading to bacteria growth and a stinky sink.

Here are 3 natural ways to clean and deodorize a smelly garbage disposal, using things you probably already have in your kitchen:

Use Ice and Salt to Clean the Grinder Blades

Put a big cup full of ice cubes into the disposal, turn it on, and then add about half a cup of kosher or rock salt. The ice and salt will work together to scrub the gunk off the inside of your disposal.

Use Citrus Peels for a Fresher Disposal

Throw a few lemon or orange peels into the disposal and grind them up to add a clean citrus scent to your kitchen. This can be done anytime, even if the appliance isn’t stinky.

Make a Deodorizing Volcano with Baking Soda & Vinegar

Mixing baking soda and vinegar creates a strong chemical reaction that looks like a giant, fizzy volcano. But these two ingredients also have incredible deodorizing and cleaning powers. Sprinkle half a cup of baking soda into the disposal and add some vinegar. Let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes before rinsing with hot water.

If you try these methods and your garbage disposal still smells, call Reddi Root’r at 316-847-4277. Our plumbing professionals will quickly diagnose and fix the problem.

THE MATERIAL CONTAINED IN THIS ARTICLE IS PROVIDED FOR GENERAL INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE PROFESSIONAL ADVICE.LANDMARK HOME WARRANTY DOES NOT PURPORT TO BE A SUBJECT MATTER EXPERT WITH REGARD TO THIS MATERIAL, AND YOU SHOULD CONDUCT YOUR OWN RESEARCH AND/OR SEEK THE ADVICE OF APPROPRIATELY QUALIFIED PROFESSIONALS WITH REGARD TO YOUR SPECIFIC CIRCUMSTANCES BEFORE YOU TAKE ACTION. LANDMARK HOME WARRANTY ASSUMES NO RESPONSIBILITY, AND SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS ALL LIABILITY, FOR YOUR USE OF ANY AND ALL INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN.

Have you ever been in your kitchen and there’s just a horrible, reeking smell? You’ve taken out the trash, you’ve thrown out bad food in the fridge . what could it be?

As you saw in the post How Does a Garbage Disposal Work?, when you put food waste down the drain and then turn on your disposal, the food is pushed against the shredder ring by centrifugal force, is essentially liquefied, and is pushed out of the waste pipe. Sometimes the food gets thrown onto the sides of the garbage disposal and on the undersides of the rubber splash guard, and starts to rot. We won’t lie to you, those rotting food particles can start to stink!

At Landmark Home Warranty, part of our contract stipulates that we don’t cover for smells or noise coming from your home appliances. That goes for garbage disposals too, so that’s why it’s important to learn how to clean your garbage disposal to get rid of that funky smell.

HOW TO GET RID OF YOUR GARBAGE DISPOSALS SMELLS

First things first, there is a lot of advice out there about how to clean those rotting food particles off of the sides of your garbage disposal. Don’t put drain cleaner down your drain, as it can be corrosive to the parts within. Here are some quick DIY tips to fix dirty garbage disposals or rid those nasty smells from your sink basin.

1. USE ICE

Take 2 cups of ice, and 1 cup of salt and put it in the garbage disposal. Then, run cold water, and turn on the garbage disposal for 5 to 10 seconds at a time until the ice has been crushed. If you want to, you can use frozen vinegar cubes.

2. USE BAKING SODA AND VINEGAR

You can also use baking soda and vinegar to clean our the disposal. Let the vinegar and baking soda foam for a few minutes, and then rinse it down the drain with running water. This will have hopefully cleaned the sludge off of the sides of your disposal.

3. USE LEMON PEELS

Take extremely small slices of lemon rind and grind them up to freshen the smell.

4. CLEAN THE UNDERSIDE OF THE SPLASH GUARD

Don’t forget that the undersides of your splash guard need to be cleaned as well. You can lift up the undersides of the guard and clean it with an old toothbrush.

Even if you’re diligent about food scraps and run plenty of water when using your garbage disposal, it’s likely to accumulate smelly food particles over time. Cleaning a garbage disposal requires both scraping away built-up grime and deodorizing the appliance while paying attention to the disposal chamber, splash guard, and trap.

Although it’s often overlooked, the garbage disposal is an essential item on your kitchen cleaning checklist. Make the process easier by utilizing the natural cleaning materials you already use to clean countertops and kitchen appliances. The best way to clean a garbage disposal is a combination of the methods outlined below. These tips for cleaning a garbage disposal will remove odor and grime while helping to keep the appliance running smoothly.

How to Clean a Garbage Disposal Chamber

Before cleaning your garbage disposal, turn on cold water and run it to empty the chamber of debris. If it sounds like something might be stuck, turn off the disposal. For safety, wear rubber gloves and unplug the disposal before putting your hand in the chamber. Carefully reach in and pull out any large debris.

How to Clean a Garbage Disposal with Ice

Check out the product manual (often easily downloaded from the manufacturer or retailer website) for cleaning instructions for your disposal model. For example, Insinkerator suggests grinding hard materials, like ice, to scour the chamber.

To clean a garbage disposal with ice, place a few cups of ice into the chamber. Turn on cold water, then the disposal, running both until well after the ice is gone. For additional friction to remove pesky interior crud, add salt—large rock salt is especially effective—with the ice.

Although the popular hack that pairs ice cubes with hot water might seem effective, professionals and product manufacturers do not recommend using hot water while running the disposal.

How to Clean a Garbage Disposal with Baking Soda and Vinegar

Another common cleaning solution is baking soda, which acts as both a deodorizer and a scouring agent. For example, KitchenAid recommends stopping the drain and filling the sink with warm water and 1/4 cup baking soda, then removing the stopper while turning on the disposal. Similarly, you can pour both baking soda and distilled white vinegar into the chamber, letting it sit for a few minutes before turning on the tap and disposal to rinse.

How to Clean a Smelly Garbage Disposal

Cleaning a garbage disposal chamber will help remove food residue, but it might not entirely eliminate odors. Scrubbing the splash guard and adding a natural scent will freshen up any lingering smells.

How to Clean a Garbage Disposal Rubber Flange

The garbage-disposal splash guard—the rubber flanges around the drain that prevent food particles from coming back up—can be a major source of gunk and odor. To clean, apply grease-cutting dish soap to an old toothbrush and scrub under the splash guard, scraping off any residue that clings underneath. For extra protection, use an antibacterial cleaner to help combat smelly bacteria buildup.

How to Clean a Garbage Disposal with Lemon

In addition to the baking soda and vinegar method, lemon can be used to eliminate garbage disposal smells. Grind lemon, lime, or other citrus peelings to remove odors and grease the grinder blades for a good clean, too. To combat disposal stink, recommendations vary from fresh or frozen peels to wedges or quarters of lemon. Experiment to find what works best with your disposal and the strength of your grinder.

How to Clean the Garbage Disposal Trap

Running cold water helps flush debris in the disposal trap (the S- or P-pipe that connects to the disposal under the sink). However, if it is clogged or draining slowly, it could mean things like coffee grounds or starchy foods are wedged in the trap. Do not use traditional chemical drain-cleaning products on a garbage disposal. Instead, place a bucket underneath the sink and remove the S-trap or P-trap. Clean out any stuck-on debris using a bottle brush and soapy water. Rinse with clean water before reassembling the disposal trap.

Why Does My Garbage Disposal Smell So Bad? And Can It Be Fixed?

Prepare your kitchen for the holidays by eliminating the garbage disposal smell emanating from your kitchen sink.

A garbage disposal is a kitchen appliance used to grind or break up kitchen waste such as food scraps small enough so you can wash them down the drain. Although the machine is very efficient when it comes to disposing of unwanted food wastes, it can sometimes develop an offensive smell that will linger throughout your kitchen. The garbage disposal smell is caused by rotting or decaying food lying around the appliance’s cutting blades or the drainpipes connected to it. Learn what can be done to rid your kitchen of this horrible garbage disposal smell.

Rinsing or Flushing with Clean Water

Simply rinsing the garbage disposal with hot water while it is running is sometimes enough to eliminate the odoriferous problem. The hot water washes the decaying food particles and scraps out of the appliance and its drainpipes and into the sewer. This should be practiced after each time you use your garbage disposal.

Rinsing or Flushing with Soapy Water

Filling the sink with hot, soapy water and allowing it to drain while running the garbage disposal provides a more thorough cleaning. A quality grease-cutting dish detergent helps to cut through the grease and food attached to the disposal blades and pipes.

Scrub-a-dub-dub

Often, the rubber flap around the disposal drain as well as its rubber stopper needs a brisk cleaning. A stiff, nylon brush and some all-purpose kitchen cleaner make quick work of this task. It doesn’t hurt to clean around the sink drain openings as well.

Deodorizing the Appliance

Baking soda is one of mankind’s finest inventions. The all-purpose powder is used in more applications than just about anything. Pouring about 1/2 cup of the miraculous powder into your garbage disposal along with 1/2 cup of vinegar will eliminate most odors emanating from it. The solution should be allowed to sit in the disposal for approximately one hour before applying a thorough rinse with clean water.

Professional Cleaning

When these simple, home remedies fail to rid your kitchen of a nasty garbage disposal smell, it might be time to call in a professional plumber. Over longer periods, food particles can harden and encrust the cutting blades of your disposal. No manner of rinsing or flushing with hot water and soap will loosen them. It takes a stronger cleaning solution and hours of soaking to remove them from the blades. After disconnecting the garbage disposal drain, a plumber will cap the outlet tube on the disposal to prevent it from draining. A cleaning solution is poured in and allowed to sit for approximately one hour or more. The drain is reconnected and the disposal is flushed with clean, hot water.

Dunwoody residents of the greater Atlanta metro area seeking additional expert advice regarding garbage disposal smells and service should contact Reliable Heating and Air. Reliable Heating and Air will handle the funky smells coming from your garbage disposal. They know your home should smell of balsam and cloves over the holidays, not week-old veggies.

A garbage disposal offers a convenient way to dispose of food scraps without clogging your drain or filling your kitchen trash. But anyone who’s battled disposal odor knows offensive smells can quickly take over without regular maintenance. We’ll review how cleaning with the right tools and techniques can banish odor when your garbage disposal smells bad.

Garbage Disposal Smells Bad? Follow These Steps to Dispel the Smell

Kitchen conveniences that handle food can require specific cleaning methods to fight odor effectively. We’ll detail what cleaning techniques work best when your garbage disposal smells bad as well as how to prevent odor from returning. But why does my garbage disposal stink in the first place? Here’s how odor originates.

Why Does My Garbage Disposal Smell So Bad?

One of the most common garbage disposal myths is that it uses blades to break down food. But food particles are actually broken down by rotating impellers and flushed down the drain with water. While this system is effective, food particles do get left behind. Any lingering debris can rapidly start to decay inside the disposal’s upper chamber, creating an offensive odor.

If these food particles accumulate, clogs can also cause bad smells and prevent proper draining. The following steps detail how to clean a garbage disposal to remove smelly clogs and leftover debris.

#1. Clear Out Garbage Disposal Clogs

If your garbage disposal smells bad a clog is often the reason. Here’s how to check for odor-causing clogs and remove them safely:

  • Unplug the disposal.
  • Shine a flashlight into the disposal chamber to help locate obstructions.
  • Use tongs or pliers to remove any visible blockages.
  • Plug the disposal in again.
  • Run the disposal with cold running water for 1 minute.

#2. Use Soapy Water to Soak Garbage Disposal

A disposal’s design and location can make it difficult to clean, enabling food particles to stick around and decay. When your garbage disposal smells really bad here’s how an effective soaking can help eliminate odor:

  • Plug the disposal’s drain.
  • Fill the sink with at least 4 inches of water.
  • Add 2 tsp of dish soap, swishing the water to create suds.
  • Unplug the drain.
  • Run the disposal to process the soapy water.
  • Turn the disposal off and add dish soap to a scrub brush or sponge.
  • Scrub all visible components, including the sink rim, baffle, and inside the drain.

#3. Clean Garbage Disposal with Salt and Ice

Cleaning with salt and ice can provide helpful friction to dislodge decaying food particles and banish bad smells. These steps detail how to use ice cubes and a coarse salt effectively:

  • Place 10 ice cubes in the sink around the disposal.
  • Sprinkle the ice cubes with ½ cup of coarse salt.
  • Turn on the disposal and push the ice cubes and salt towards its opening.
  • Allow the disposal to process the ice and salt until it’s completely gone.
  • Flush remaining debris by running cold tap water as hard as possible, directly into the disposal, for 1-2 minutes.

#4. How to Deodorize a Garbage Disposal

Even when food particles are gone bad smells can continue to linger. When your garbage disposal smells bad even after a thorough cleaning, eliminate odor with natural remedies like baking soda and vinegar:

  • Pour 2 cups of baking soda directly into the disposal chamber.
  • Slowly add ½ cup of white vinegar.
  • Allow the mixture to sit for 1 hour.
  • Run the water and disposal for 1 minute to dispel the mixture.

After bad odors are banished you can freshen the disposal and give it a pleasant scent by processing lemon peels. Cut the lemon peel into 1-inch pieces and slowly feed them down the disposal.

How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposal

Tips to Prevent Garbage Disposal Odors

Regular cleanings with the above methods can quickly eliminate disposal odor. But how to prevent it from returning? Follow these tips to keep bad smells at bay:

  • Avoid putting fibrous or starchy food down the disposal. Banana peels, artichokes and celery can jam the motor and clog the drain while breads and pastas expand with moisture, leading to blockages.
  • Cut large particles into smaller pieces and only add food in small amounts to avoid clogs.
  • When using the disposal always run a strong stream of cold water to properly flush food particles and prevent blockages.

If your garbage disposal smells really bad even after these cleaning tips then you may need a professional assessment from a garbage disposal repair service.

Conner’s Appliance can help with any disposal concern. Call us for fast and expert service!

We’ll share all of our tips and tricks for clearing out the rotting food smell coming from your garbage disposal.

Katie is a Writer at CNET, covering all things how-to. When she’s not writing, she enjoys playing in golf scrambles, practicing yoga and spending time on the lake.

This story is part of Try This , CNET’s collection of simple tips to improve your life, fast.

Nothing can ruin your appetite more than a bad odor coming from your kitchen sink’s garbage disposal. It’s not enough to just flip the power switch and turn on the faucet every time you cram food into the disposal. All that’s doing is blending up the food so it can flow through the pipes. But food particles can be left behind, which allows the food to rot and bacteria to build up, which can cause an awful smell to arise.

We’ll share some tips for clearing up the bad smell coming from your disposal. For more kitchen tricks, here’s how to clear a clogged drain without using chemicals.

Try the ice cube method

If your blades have food particles or other grime stuck on them, it makes them less efficient at grinding up the food going down the drain and can cause bad smells. Pour a cup of ice down the disposal, followed by cold water to clean the blades (and even sharpen them). Keep the disposal and water running until you don’t hear a grinding sound anymore.

Note that the ice cube method only works for garbage disposals with blades.

Lemons make everything smell fresh

Lemons are great to use for cleaning just about anything in your kitchen. For your disposal, grab a full lemon, then slice it in half and quarter each half — you should have a total of eight lemon slices. Try to remove the seeds if possible. Next, turn on the cold water and the disposal and begin placing the lemon quarters (one at a time) into the disposal.

You may not need to place all eight lemon slices into the disposal, so save any leftovers for the next time you clean it — or use them to start a pitcher of lemonade.

You likely have many of these cleaning items stored at home.

Baking soda and vinegar can freshen it up

Baking soda and vinegar can accomplish quite a lot when combined together. Start by pouring half a cup of baking soda into your disposal. Let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour to give it time to absorb the odor. Next, pour a cup of vinegar down the drain and let it work its magic for about five to 10 minutes. Lastly, turn on the cold water and disposal and let it run for 15 seconds.

Clean the rubber splatter-proof flap

Have you ever wondered what the rubber thing is that sits in your sink drain? It’s there to help prevent food from splattering when it’s getting ground into tiny bits. That also means it’s a hoarder of bacteria as food can and will stick underneath it.

How can you clean what you can’t see? Fortunately, some of the flaps are removable and you can soak them in dish detergent and water — or run them through the dishwasher. For those that aren’t, you’ll need to get creative.

What we don’t want is for you to stick your hand in the disposal, so grab a toothbrush and dish soap. Gently pull each flap up one at a time and give it a good scrub.

Voila! Your kitchen should be back to smelling fresh in no time. Repeat these methods once a week. For more, here’s how to kill and prevent mold growing in your washer and this hack that unclogs your showerhead in just one hour .

How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposal

Pippin Brothers Home Services happily services the Greater Lawton, Fort Sill, and Duncan, Oklahoma area. If your house is uncomfortable; wasting energy; has plumbing problems or if you want to avoid breakdowns or verify everything in your home is working as it should, give us call at 580-699-5662. We’ve already helped many of your neighbors, and would be honored to help you.

Does your kitchen sink’s garbage disposal smell so awful that it’s almost embarrassing?

You don’t want to call a plumber if you can fix it yourself, right?

Well, good news: You can possibly get rid of this rotten smell using items just laying around your kitchen.

1.) Water and dish soap

The first method for removing a rotten smell from a sink’s garbage disposal is also the simplest—mixing hot water and soap.

  1. Put a rubber or steel stopper into the drain.
  2. Fill the sink about half-way full with hot water.
  3. Add in a couple squirts of liquid dishwashing soap.
  4. Mix the soap and water together.
  5. Lift the drain stopper and run the garbage disposal

Why this works: Hot water and soap combined help remove and wash away the gunk in your garbage disposal just like it would remove food off of your dishes.

Running the disposal unit will suck in the water/soap mixture quickly and help clean anything stuck on the grind ring.

2.) Ice cubes and kosher salt

If the smell persists after the soap and water method, try this:

  1. Throw down a few handfuls of ice cubes and one handful of kosher salt down the drain.
  2. Turn on the garbage disposal and let it run until you’ve stopped hearing noise for about 10-15 seconds.

Why this works: The ice cubes, while being ground up, act like millions of miniature missiles, all firing towards any leftover and stuck-on debris that may be stinking up your sink. The tiny ice particles knock off most of the gunk from the spinning blades of your disposal, while the handful of salt helps scrub the sides of the disposal’s upper tank.

3.) Baking soda and vinegar

This next method is one of the oldest plumbing tricks in the book. All you need for this next drain cleaning method is a half-cup of baking soda and a half-cup of vinegar.

Pour the baking soda inside the drain
Add the vinegar and then let the mixture sizzle and fizzle for 10-15 minutes.
Then, turn on the garbage disposal and run hot water from the tap for about 30 seconds.

Why this works: Vinegar acts as a natural deodorizer and is also great at killing bacteria.

Note: Because vinegar is also acidic you should not use the baking soda and vinegar method very often on your drain. Over time the vinegar could do long-term damage to the rubber parts of your disposal.

4.) Lemon peel

The last method for getting rid of the nasty smell just requires the peelings from a few lemons.

  1. Cut the peels into half-inch strips and place in your drain.
  2. Run your tap at half-power with hot water
  3. Turn on the garbage disposal and let it run until you’ve stopped hearing noise for about 10-15 seconds.

Why this works: The natural citrus of the lemons will coat the inside plate and rubber housing of the disposal and give off a fresh-cleaned smell without having to use any hard chemicals.

Note: This method only provides a nice scent. It does not get rid of any food build up. So only use the lemon peel method after the actual problem-causing sludge and grime has been eliminated. Otherwise it will just be like covering a dumpster with potpourri.

How to prevent future issues

Don’t turn off the disposal when you stop hearing the noise of things being ground up. There could still be loads of food and other particles stuck to the grinding plate or the sides of the disposal tank itself. Then the food sits and cakes itself onto any surface it can find, and over time converts into the foul-smelling awfulness that has stunk up your kitchen time and time again.

So continue to run your disposal for about 10-15 seconds after you’ve stopped hearing noise. Then shut off the disposal, but continue to run the water for another minute or so.

This helps flush your water heater, keeping food and scraps from building up inside of the disposal and drain.

We also recommend a product called Bio-Clean® which you can pour down your drains each month. This drain cleaner uses naturally occurring bacteria and enzymes that “digest” dead organic waste found in your plumbing system, helping prevent drain clogs and nasty smells.

If all else fails

If you’ve done all of the above, but something funky is still coming up from the pits of your sink, there are several possible causes, including:

  • You need a new disposal
  • It’s actually your dishwasher that smells
  • You have a septic tank backup.

Don’t panic. We can help if you live in the Lawton, OK area. From nasty kitchen drains, to beautiful bathroom remodeling, our expertly-trained and certified plumbers are here to take care of you and your home whenever you might need us.

Garbage disposal’s can be a beneficial asset to your kitchen, especially for those of you that love to cook. A garbage disposal will break down food into small pieces to prevent food from clogging your pipes and stinking up your trash can. Unfortunately, the garbage disposal itself can still stink. It’s best to keep your garbage disposal as clean as possible and take measures to prevent a smell from occurring.

What Makes a Garbage Disposal Stink?
Possible odors can include:

How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposal

  • Decomposing food and grease. Even though the purpose of a garbage disposal is to get rid of food waste, rotting particles in the pipes can produce a bad odor.
  • Mold and bacteria. Kitchen sinks and drains are often a warm and moist environment creating a place for mold and bacteria to thrive. The underside of your rubber strainer can be a breeding ground for nasty bacteria and other microbes that may be the source of your stinky sink.
  • Sewer gases. All sinks, if done properly, have a trap in them that holds water and prevents sewer gases from rising up. Blockages in the drain vent, a leaky vent, or a dried up trap can cause your trap to not work properly and gases can seep into your drains.

Preventing a Smelly Garbage Disposal
Now that you know where odors can come from, there are a few tips to follow that will help you prevent stinky sinks.

  • Run cold water when using the garbage disposal to prevent overheating.
  • Send ice cubes down the disposal to remove gunk from the blades, then toss in a couple of lemon peels to give a nice citrus scent.
  • Run the disposal for a few seconds after the grinding noise stops to ensure all food particles have gone down the drain.
  • While garbage disposal’s are convenient, they are not a one-stop shop for all of your food waste. Be careful of things like coffee grounds, corn husks, egg shells, celery stalks and potato peels as these foods can wrap themselves around the blades and accumulate in the pipes, creating breeding ground for bacteria.

If you notice your garbage disposal is smelly and you are having trouble getting rid of the odor, the problem could be inside your drains. Contact the professional plumber’s at Miller’s Services to take care of drains and get your garbage disposal running (and smelling) like new. Call 804-758-4314 to schedule!

Expert plumbers are ready to help!

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What Can I Do to Eliminate Odor in My Garbage Disposal?

Dealing with a garbage disposal that emits a foul odor throughout your home can be frustrating, unpleasant, and embarrassing. After months of regular use, your garbage disposal begins to incur smelly bacteria and food particles lodged deep within those hard to reach places. To remove those embarrassing smells, here are simple, inexpensive ways to clean and maintain your garbage disposal:

Cleaning the Blades

To clean the blades of your garbage disposal you do not have to purchase expensive cleaners but only need a few common household items. All you need are ice cubes, rock salt, vinegar, and baking soda.

Ice Cubes and Rock Salt

Pour two cups of ice cubes and one cup of rock salt into your garbage disposal. Run cold water over the ice and rock salt and turn on your garbage disposal allowing it to run for 10 to 15 seconds. Combined, the ice and rock salt break up and dislodge any food particles and debris from your garbage disposal.

It is recommended that you use cold water when cleaning your garbage disposal to prevent any grease in your garbage disposal from congealing down your drain.

Ice Cubes and Vinegar

If you do not have rock salt, you can use vinegar as a substitute. Pour two cups of ice cubes and one cup of vinegar into your garbage disposal. Run cold water over the ice and rock salt and turn on your garbage disposal allowing it to run for 10 to 15 seconds. The ice and vinegar act similarly to the ice and rock salt by freeing any bacteria and food stuck within your garbage disposal.

Interestingly enough, the ice cubes actually help sharpen the blades within your garbage disposal while simultaneously cleaning it.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Another solution for cleaning your garbage disposal using household items involves baking soda and vinegar. Pour one cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar into your garbage disposal. This will create a chemical reaction that helps dissolve any odorous bacteria and food particles in your garbage disposal, especially in those hard to reach place.

Additionally, the baking soda and vinegar will help clear your drain by breaking apart debris and smelly bacteria.

Clearing the Drain

After cleaning the blades on your garbage disposal, it is recommended that clear your drain by plugging up your sink and filling it with two to four inches of water. Remove the plug and immediately turn on your garbage disposal to help rinse it clean, clearing any remaining debris from your drain.

Freshening Up Your Garbage Disposal

After cleaning and clearing all smelly debris from your garbage disposal, freshen things up by putting a handful of citrus peels or slices in the disposal while running cold water. Using a lemon, orange, lime, etc. can instantly give your garbage disposal a fresh smell that is pleasant and inviting.

Maintaining Your Garbage Disposal

To ensure your garbage disposal never returns the smelly state it used to be in, you should consider cleaning it on a monthly basis using the various methods and practices conveyed above. Besides cleaning your garbage disposal, here are a few tips and tricks to help maintain its overall health during everyday use:

Do Not Treat Your Garbage Disposal Like a Trash Can

Garbage disposals are great at getting rid of a lot of unwanted food items; however, there are some substances you should never put down your garbage disposal such as: grease, coffee grinds, oil, fats, rice, pasta, seeds, and bones. Egg shells and fibrous vegetables are fine when disposed of irregularly and in small quantities. However, they tend to get wrapped around the blades causing your garbage disposal to clog so they should be disposed of minimally.

Run Your Garbage Disposal Longer

Plumbers recommend that you run your garbage disposal an additional 5 – 10 seconds after you believe your garbage disposal has processed all the substances you have placed in it. Even though it sounds like your garbage disposal is finished, there is generally some debris or particles that need disposed of. Running your garbage disposal a little longer can help make sure nothing gets stuck or results in an unpleasant odor.

Buy Garbage Disposal Cleaner Products

Your garbage disposal can certainly benefit from an occasional cleaning using certified products designed to remove bacteria and prevent clogs. While not the most frugal solution, cleaner products from your local home improvement store will help you tackle the worst garbage disposal clogs and smells.

Cleaning your garbage disposal once a month using any of the methods presented above will keep it working with no unpleasant smells.

December 10, 2019 By Lyle Wedell Comments are Off

How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposalNobody wants unpleasant odors drifting through their homes. Unfortunately, sometimes parts of the drain and sewer system in homes can suffer damage and clogs, which then sends sewer gases into the house. Smelly plumbing is an unfortunately common problem, and something our plumbers are often fixing for our customers.

A part of the plumbing people often find emitting terrible odors is the garbage disposal. If you’re currently dealing with a stinky garbage disposal, you’ll want to know what to do about it, and if it’s a serious enough problem to require a plumber. Let’s see what might be happening in your kitchen plumbing to cause this.

The Dirty Disposal

A common cause of terrible garbage disposal smells is excess food waste that hasn’t washed down the drains. This waste can build up in plenty of places, such as under the impellers and in grooves and crannies. Solving this can be as simple as pouring down a solution of baking soda and vinegar into the disposal. Lemon slices (remove the peel!) can then help with deodorizing the disposal.

If your garbage disposal begins to smell due to a build-up of food, it may be due to aging mechanics. The disposal is no longer grinding food down as well as it used to, allowing for organic waste to become more easily caught. If you have noticed unpleasant garbage disposal smells recently, we recommend calling our plumbers to look into the system and see if you need a new one. Most disposals should be replaced after ten years of service.

How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposalThe Broken Disposal

If your garbage disposal stinks, it may not be sending down food waste the way it should. The odors you smell are from an accumulation of rotting food—and this will soon lead to a complete clog in the kitchen drains. It’s tempting to use chemical cleaners to eat away at the obstruction, but this is not much of a “cleaning” solution, since it leaves behind most of the organic particles and the acidic action of the drain cleaner can seriously damage the drain pipes. Get a plumber to check out the situation and see what needs to be repaired.

Deeper Trouble in the Plumbing

Bad odors from the kitchen sink disposal may not be the fault of the disposal at all. You may have blockage or leaks down in the sewer lines or blocked drain vents. Either situation causes sewer gas to be pushed the wrong direction through the drainpipes. The gas will rise through the water in the p-trap (you may hear a gurgling noise) and cause a terrible smell to form near your garbage disposal. Check other drains to see if they are also emitting a sewer odor. If they are, you may have a serious plumbing problem on your hands. Don’t hesitate to call for a professional plumber, since you’ll soon have even bigger troubles with drains around the house unless the problem is remedied.

Please note that, aside from doing basic cleaning with vinegar and baking soda, you don’t want to try to do any more extensive work to eliminate the garbage disposal smells without a licensed plumber. It takes professionals to diagnose the problem, find a solution, and make the repairs.

Our team offers offers prompt and professional plumbing services such as garbage disposal repair, gas line installation, and water heater repair to homes in Pennsylvania. Are you having issues with your air conditioner compressor? We also provide dependable air conditioning repair, installation, and replacement services to households. WM Henderson provides services throughout Delaware and Chester Counties & The Main Line. Schedule an appointment for great kitchen plumbing.

When it’s time to eat and you walk into the kitchen, it is awfully unappetizing to be greeted by a bad smell from the garbage disposal. How can you remove this smell for your own comfort, or quickly before guests arrive? In this step-by-step guide, we’ll show you how to get rid of the gross smell from your garbage disposal. Plus, we will show you how you can avoid making this unpleasant odor in the future.

Tools and Materials

Here are the tools and materials you can use to clean out your garbage disposal. They might not all be necessary, depending on what kind of clean you want to give the disposal. So, give the instructions a read before you gather all of this up:

  • Sponge
  • Stiff-bristle brush
  • Dish soap
  • Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Ice
  • Lemons
  • Candles
  • Baking soda
  • Deodorizing spray

Step One: Safety

When cleaning out the garbage disposal, it’s always a good idea to turn it off and unplug it. You don’t want to just turn it off because you could accidentally flip the switch. Or, more likely, a child or pet could. You don’t want to have your fingers anywhere near the blades when the garbage disposal could turn on.

Step Two: Scrubbing

Start with your sponge and work up a lather on it. Scrub all of the parts of the garbage disposal that you can see, including the flange and where it meets the sink basin. Any foodstuffs that are stuck here, even microscopic ones, are exposed to water all the time and are likely to rot and grow mold. This could be the cause of the smell.

Step Three: Soak and Spin

When you run the garbage disposal, water passes through it and could leave behind food bits everywhere. These could also be the source of your smell. There is a quick way to rinse them all out, with the added benefit of the scrubbing power of vinegar.

Plug your sink and fill it with warm water, about three-quarters of the way. While it runs, add dish soap to make some bubbles. You can also add up to half parts vinegar to help clean things out. Make a point of ensuring the sink isn’t full all of the way, or what you’re about to do next will be messy.

Plug the garbage disposal back in. Unplug the sink and then turn the garbage disposal on. The water will run into it and be propelled through the housing by the moving blades. It may sputter up a bit and should do a good job of cleaning out the far corners of the disposal.

Step Four: Ice and Salt

Did that not quite do the trick? You can follow the water flush with something a little more serious. First, place about 2 cups of ice into the garbage disposal. Start running some cold water and then turn on the disposal. Then begin to pour in about a half cup of kosher salt. The salt abrasive and the ice helps it make an impact, without risking making a clog in the garbage disposal, as it will melt.

Step Five: New Smells

You have almost certainly removed whatever cause the smell. But, the molecules will still linger in the air for a little while. What should you do to get rid of the smell in the short term? You can run lemons or another citrus in the garbage disposal to make a more pleasant smell. Or you can try to absorb the smell with baking soda or a deodorizing cleaning spray (like Febreze). If you don’t have any of those, you could also light a candle in the kitchen and use that scent to mask the remaining smell.

How to Prevent Smells in the Garbage Disposal

While you can do major cleans like this to handle smells that develop in the disposal, it is probably more convenient to just follow a few simple tips to keep the disposal smelling good all of the time. Here’s what you can do:

  • Run the disposal for longer than you might normally. Running it for about five seconds more than is absolutely necessary will help clear out gunk and prevent smells.
  • Only use the disposal for what it’s designed for; soft foods. Starchy foods, peels and other tough objects won’t go down easily. They may make smells or even clogs.

Do you have other garbage disposal woes? If you live in Columbia or throughout mid-Missouri, you can call us at MasterTech Plumbing, Heating and Cooling. We’re happy to help answer your questions and keep your garbage disposal running smoothly.

When it’s time to eat and you walk into the kitchen, it is awfully unappetizing to be greeted by a bad smell from the garbage disposal. How can you remove this smell for your own comfort, or quickly before guests arrive? In this step-by-step guide, we’ll show you how to get rid of the gross smell from your garbage disposal. Plus, we will show you how you can avoid making this unpleasant odor in the future.

Tools and Materials

Here are the tools and materials you can use to clean out your garbage disposal. They might not all be necessary, depending on what kind of clean you want to give the disposal. So, give the instructions a read before you gather all of this up:

  • Sponge
  • Stiff-bristle brush
  • Dish soap
  • Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Ice
  • Lemons
  • Candles
  • Baking soda
  • Deodorizing spray

Step One: Safety

When cleaning out the garbage disposal, it’s always a good idea to turn it off and unplug it. You don’t want to just turn it off because you could accidentally flip the switch. Or, more likely, a child or pet could. You don’t want to have your fingers anywhere near the blades when the garbage disposal could turn on.

Step Two: Scrubbing

Start with your sponge and work up a lather on it. Scrub all of the parts of the garbage disposal that you can see, including the flange and where it meets the sink basin. Any foodstuffs that are stuck here, even microscopic ones, are exposed to water all the time and are likely to rot and grow mold. This could be the cause of the smell.

Step Three: Soak and Spin

When you run the garbage disposal, water passes through it and could leave behind food bits everywhere. These could also be the source of your smell. There is a quick way to rinse them all out, with the added benefit of the scrubbing power of vinegar.

Plug your sink and fill it with warm water, about three-quarters of the way. While it runs, add dish soap to make some bubbles. You can also add up to half parts vinegar to help clean things out. Make a point of ensuring the sink isn’t full all of the way, or what you’re about to do next will be messy.

Plug the garbage disposal back in. Unplug the sink and then turn the garbage disposal on. The water will run into it and be propelled through the housing by the moving blades. It may sputter up a bit and should do a good job of cleaning out the far corners of the disposal.

Step Four: Ice and Salt

Did that not quite do the trick? You can follow the water flush with something a little more serious. First, place your ice into the garbage disposal. Salt running it, and then begin to pour in about a half cup of kosher salt. The salt abrasive and the ice helps it make an impact, without risking making a clog in the garbage disposal, as it will melt.

Step Five: New Smells

You have almost certainly removed whatever cause the smell. But, the molecules will still linger in the air for a little while. What should you do to get rid of the smell in the short term? You can run lemons or another citrus in the garbage disposal to make a more pleasant smell. Or you can try to absorb the smell with baking soda or a deodorizing cleaning spray (like Febreze). If you don’t have any of those, you could also light a candle in the kitchen and use that scent to mask the remaining smell.

How to Prevent Smells in the Garbage Disposal

While you can do major cleans like this to handle smells that develop in the disposal, it is probably more convenient to just follow a few simple tips to keep the disposal smelling good all of the time. Here’s what you can do:

  • Run the disposal for longer than you might normally. Running it for about five seconds more than is absolutely necessary will help clear out gunk and prevent smells.
  • Only use the disposal for what it’s designed for; soft foods. Starchy foods, peels and other tough objects won’t go down easily. They may make smells or even clogs.

Do you have other garbage disposal woes? If you live in San Luis Obispo County, you can call us aRocksteady Plumbing. We’re happy to help answer your questions and keep your garbage disposal running smoothly.

Aaron Stickley is a licensed plumber with 15 years of experience in commercial, new residential plumbing, and residential service and repair. He started his own residential service and repair plumbing business. Aaron’s articles about plumbing on The Spruce span four years.

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How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposal

The Spruce / Lacey Johnson

  • Working Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Cleaning your garbage disposal can help prevent and remove foul odors, and some cleaning methods can also help keep the kitchen sink’s drain clear. When the sink starts giving off bad smells, it’s a sure sign that the garbage disposal and drain could use some cleaning.

How to Properly Clean a Garbage Disposal

How Often to Clean the Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals generally do a great job of cleaning themselves, effectively breaking up the food particles and sending them down the drain, so the chamber inside the disposal remains relatively clean.

Over time a stinky slime builds up over the areas that don’t get scrubbed by the disposal’s grinding action. These are the undersides of the rubber baffle at the drain opening and the smooth, sloped area at the top of the grinding chamber.

Weekly cleaning can keep the garbage disposal clean and free of smells.

What You’ll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Sink stopper
  • Rubber gloves (optional)

Materials

  • Kitchen sponge with an abrasive side
  • Dish soap
  • 1/2 cup baking soda (optional)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup vinegar (optional)
  • Ice (optional)
  • 1 cup rock salt (optional)
  • 1/3 cup bleach solution (optional)
  • Citrus peels (optional)

Instructions

How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposal

How to Clean a Disposal With a Soapy Sponge

Turn off the Power

Turn off the power to prevent the disposal from being turned accidentally on while you are cleaning, even though your hand shouldn’t be near the grinding “teeth” at the bottom of the chamber. Unplug the disposal from the outlet under the sink, or turn off the disposal’s breaker in your home’s service panel (breaker box).

How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposal

Clean the Baffle

Apply dish soap to an abrasive kitchen sponge and scrub thoroughly under the baffle to get all into all of the folds and creases. Rinse the sponge frequently to remove all the gunk.

How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposal

Clean the Grinding Chamber

Swipe around the top of the grinding chamber. Again, rinse the sponge frequently. Repeat until the sponge pulls up no more gunk and the disposal’s surfaces feel clean.

If you do nothing other than clean these two key areas, your sink will probably be in great shape. But if you want to freshen the disposal and drainpipe while you’re at it, then continue to the next step of adding in baking soda and vinegar (or read on for the ice, and either rock salt, or vinegar technique).

How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposal

Add the Baking Soda and Vinegar

Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda into the garbage disposal, then slowly and carefully pour 1/2 cup of vinegar into the disposal.

How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposal

Cover the Drain

Place the sink stopper over the drain opening. The mixture of baking soda and vinegar will fizz up like a kids’ science class volcano (it’s the same “lava” mixture). The sink stopper traps the fizzing baking soda inside the disposal.

How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposal

Flush the Disposal

Wait a few minutes, then remove the stopper, and flush the disposal with hot water while running the garbage disposal. If the sink has two basins, the cleaner will work best if both sides are cleaned at the same time. Use the same amounts of baking soda and vinegar in the other sink drain. Repeat all steps if needed.

How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposal

How to Clean a Disposal With Ice and Vinegar or Rock Salt

Ice, and either rock salt, or vinegar are also great for cleaning a garbage disposal. The ice helps to scrape the inside of the grinding chamber, dislodging any buildup.

Add Ice

Fill the disposal with ice cubes.

How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposal

Add Salt or Vinegar

Pour 1 cup of salt or vinegar into the disposal.

How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposal

Flush the Disposal

Run the disposal for several seconds with the water turned on to grind up the ice. Repeat all the steps if necessary.

How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposal

Tips for Deodorizing a Garbage Disposal

If the disposal is really smelly, or you have tried other cleaners and still get a foul odor, you can use a diluted bleach solution of two parts warm water and one part bleach. Don’t use more than 1/3 cup of bleach, and wear gloves when pouring into the drain. After pouring the bleach solution into the drain, run warm (not hot) water down the drain for several seconds.

Using citrus peels is another popular way to freshen up a smelly garbage disposal. The citrus oils in the peels certainly add some fragrance to the air, but the fact is, the peels do little to clean the disposal, and they do nothing to get rid of those slimy areas (which are hopefully already sponged clean).

To give your disposal a little spritz of fragrance, grind a small handful of citrus peels (cut into small pieces) in the disposal with cool water. If desired, you can also add a few ice cubes. The citrus oil can give the disposal a pleasant smell that lasts a little while. Keep in mind that this freshening method works best on a relatively clean disposal.

How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposal

You figured that once your garbage disposal was installed, you’d never have to think about it again. Alas, you were wrong: A garbage disposal, like most appliances in your home, will get pretty gross if you don’t clean it from time to time. So while we hate to add another chore to your to-do list, there’s no reason to despair—here’s how to clean a garbage disposal in just a few easy steps using items you likely already have at home.

Why should you clean a garbage disposal?

Garbage disposals make short work of food waste, pulverizing leftovers and scraps into tiny particles that can then be flushed away into the plumbing system. However, some of this food sludge (yuck) can stick to the splash guard of the disposal and get left behind. In fact, it’s inevitable that this will occur to a small degree—and this gunk can accumulate over time. And so, if you never clean your garbage disposal, your handy kitchen helper could attract harmful mold and bacteria and/or begin to smell. But we’re guessing you didn’t just stumble upon this article by chance. So, what’s the solution for a yucky garbage disposal? A deep clean, of course.

How to clean a garbage disposal

The task of deep cleaning a garbage disposal might sound intimidating, but it’s not so bad. Here’s a quick and easy way to clean your garbage disposal, courtesy of the pros at InSinkErator.

What you’ll need:

  • Gloves
  • Scouring pad
  • Ice cubes
  • Lemon or lime wedges
  • Baking soda and vinegar (optional)
  • Dish detergent

1. Disconnect the power. For obvious reasons, you don’t want to clean this appliance when the power is connected. Unplug the garbage disposal—or head to the breaker box to cut the power that way, if you prefer—and be sure to check (and then check again) that the garbage disposal isn’t up and running before you get started.

2. Clean the splash guard. The splash guard, also called a sink baffle, is a piece of heavy-duty rubber that sits between the sink drain and the garbage disposal to prevent food particles from flying everywhere when the disposal is in use. If your garbage disposal has started to stink, it’s most certainly because of decaying food stuck to the splash guard. Once the appliance is turned off, remove this piece and start scrubbing it under hot water, using a scouring pad and a generous amount of dish soap.

3. Replace the splash guard. Once the splash guard is squeaky clean, return it to the sinkhole where it belongs. (Congratulations, you can pretty much declare victory at this point.)

4. Reconnect the power. Plug your garbage disposal back in—you’ll need it up and running for the final step of the cleaning process.

5. Freshen the chamber. Now that you’ve tackled the major culprit, the only thing that remains is to freshen up the parts of the garbage disposal that you don’t have easy access to—namely the chamber where all the chopping happens. Fortunately, there’s no disassembly required here. Simply run a medium stream of cold water, turn on the disposal and dump a combination of ice cubes and lemon wedges down the sinkhole. In most cases, this is all it takes to remove any residue from the rest of the garbage disposal and get it smelling nice and fresh.

That said, if your garbage disposal is in particularly bad shape, you can start by putting one part baking soda, followed by two parts vinegar into it for a chemical reaction with added cleaning power. Let the two ingredients fizz for a few minutes; then turn on the tap and run the disposal to wash them away with hot water. After this, proceed to the ice cube and lemon trick mentioned above for a one-two punch that’s sure to get the job done.

How often should you clean a garbage disposal?

Per the experts at InSinkErator, garbage disposals are fairly low-maintenance appliances—simply running them regularly goes a long way towards flushing out the nasty stuff. Yes, they do need a deep clean occasionally, but there’s no hard and fast rule regarding how often you should do it—namely because when it’s time, your nose will know. The takeaway? Give your garbage disposal a deep clean with this step-by-step process whenever it gets smelly.

How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposal

Why is that awful dead fish smell coming from the garbage disposal? That’s a place no one wants to smell bad odors. You’ll want to get rid of that stink ASAP!

Our kitchens have so many great inventions that allow us to spend less time doing work and more time enjoying life. One of these great inventions is the garbage disposal, which deals with food scraps and helps to prevent kitchen sink clogs. It’s also a place that can start to smell with lingering bad odors if left unattended. It’s important to know how to clean your garbage disposal, get rid of the bad smells, and prevent these unpleasant odors from returning in the future.

Often a combined build-up of grease, soap scum, and food particles (aka rotten food) contribute to this horrendous odor in your garbage disposal. If you’re not using enough water when running the disposal, over time an accumulation of food and grease will occur. This build-up or clog creates a bad odor that stinks up your kitchen.

Remove the Clog

Here are the steps to safely unclog your disposal. When cleaning the disposal, NEVER put your hand in the drain, even if it’s turned off. First, unplug the disposal. Next, shine a flashlight into the drain to see if you can locate a large clog or any blockages. Using tongs, long tweezers, or pliers try to remove the blockage. You can now plug the disposal back in. Turn the water on first, and then the disposal, run for a minute or more. Finally, turn the disposal off first, then the water.

Clean the Disposal

To clean your disposal, put a plug in the disposal drain, fill the sink with several inches of water (3-4 inches), add two teaspoons of liquid dish soap, swish around to create suds, and then unplug the drain. Turn on the garbage disposal and let it work through the soapy water, turning off the disposal when all of the water has drained out. It’s also a good idea to scrub the parts that contribute to this bad smell. Using a dish brush pour liquid dish soap on the brush. Next, scrub the accessible parts, including the rim and sink basin inside the drain.

Keeping Your Disposal Clean & Fresh

To keep your disposal clean and fresh try grinding up some ice cubes in it. This will help clean the blades and freshen the chamber. Some people will even grind up an apple for a fresh scent. If you try all of the steps above and are still having smells coming from your sink, you may have a more serious clog that will require a professional plumber. Keep the stinky dead fish odor out of your kitchen by removing any clogs in your disposal, cleaning the disposal, and learning ways to prevent bad smells in the future. Michael’s Plumbing is your Central Florida plumbing expert, call us for all your plumbing needs. We are local clog experts! Call us at (407) 219-9772 or contact us online.

How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposal

Garbage disposals are quite convenient when it comes to getting rid of the organic waste that accumulates quickly in your kitchen. However the smell can eventually detract from any convenience enjoyed. That doesn’t have to be a problem though. With these few tips you can take the unpleasant odour out of your garbage disposal.

Cleaning Materials

There are lots of materials available for cleaning your garbage disposal, and some of them can probably be found in your home right now. These materials include: a scrub brush or nylon brush, soap, ice, kosher salt, baking soda and lemon peels.

Cleaning Method

Run some hot water through your garbage disposal for approximately one minute. This is a practical way to combat the odour that comes from food particles and other refuse. Fill the basin with water again, this time with the rubber stopper plugged in. Make the sure the garbage disposal is off. Once the sink has been half filled (no need to fill it to capacity) then add in the cleaning agents you have on hand, whether they be salt, detergent, baking soda or some other agent. Turn on the garbage disposal again and allow the water (with whatever cleaning agent you use) to run through the disposal.

Once this is done, turn the garbage disposal off again. You can use the brush once again to thoroughly clean any leftover residue. This is also a good time to make further use of cleaning agents to finish the job. This should get rid of whatever odour is still lingering.

Odour Prevention

As with many things, prevention is better than cure. If you take some simple precautions to prevent odours then you can save the time and energy spent trying to get rid of them. Do not expose the garbage disposal to organic material it wasn’t designed to handle. Avoid putting in fibrous vegetables like celery. Some garbage is actually good for the blades, such as fruit and egg shells. Finally, run the machine for a little longer than you think is necessary, to get rid of excess materials that might still be around.

Preventing odours is pretty easy if you practice the above mentioned strategies on a regular basis. It will be good for your garbage disposal and good for your kitchen. Call us today to see how we can help you make your kitchen cleaner.

How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposal

Take Care of Sink Stink…Once and For All!

If your kitchen is beginning to smell like the local landfill but you just can’t figure out why, it could be the garbage disposal. An often overlooked source of unpleasant kitchen odors, the garbage disposal can collect bits of food and waste that rot and cause nasty smells. The following tips can help you clean out the garbage disposal and eliminate garbage disposal odor.

The Basic Approach: Soap and Water
Once a month or so, plug the sink with the stopper and fill the basin with hot water and about 1/8 cup of grease-cutting dish soap. Take out the stopper when the sink is full and run the garbage disposal as the water and soap drain. This should not only remove trapped waste but will also help clean out the pipes for a fresher smelling sink.

The Commercial Approach: Disposal Deodorizer
There are several different garbage disposal deodorizers on the market. You’ll find these chemicals > usually in liquid, gel, or dissolvable tablet form > at most supermarkets and home improvement stores. They can be costly, but if used regularly as directed they can help clean out the garbage disposal and prevent odor build-up.

The Natural Approach: Vinegar and Citrus
Vinegar is a powerful and effective cleaning agent that’s been used around the house for decades. It’s a great deodorizer despite its pungent odor and also has some antibacterial properties. There are two ways to use vinegar to remove odors from your garbage disposal:

  • Vinegar and Ice: Fill an ordinary ice tray with a 50/50 mixture of water and plain white vinegar (use more vinegar if your drain is particularly smelly). When the cubes freeze, run cold water into the sink and run the ice through the garbage disposal. The vinegar will eliminate bad smells and the ice will help sharpen the garbage disposal blades. Use this method two or three times a month and be sure to clearly label the ice tray so no one accidentally uses a vinegar cube in their drink.
  • Vinegar and Baking Soda: Cover the inside of the drain with baking soda and pour in a half cup of white vinegar. Let the mixture sit for at least an hour. When time’s up, run cold water down the drain as you run the garbage disposal. Once the vinegar smell is gone, the nasty smells should disappear, too.

Another natural way to freshen your garbage disposal is with citrus fruit. Orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit > choose the scent you prefer, drop the peels into the drain, and run the disposal. Citrus juice or pieces of the fruit would work, too. Just be sure to cut the fruit or peels into small pieces so they don’t damage the garbage disposal blades.

The Classic Approach: Bleach
Household bleach is another great all-around garbage disposal cleaning agent. Simply plug the sink and fill the basin with a mixture of water and a little bit of bleach. Slosh everything around with a plastic spoon or your hand (wear rubber gloves!). Let the mixture sit for about half an hour, and then unplug the drain. The bleach will clean and deodorize the garbage disposal, eliminating any bad smells.

WARNING:
NEVER put your hand or fingers down the garbage disposal unit. Even if the switch is off, it could easily flip on and your hand or fingers could be sliced or mashed. If you have food or other items stuck down in the garbage disposal, try to remove with prongs or pliers. If you cannot remove the items, call the plumbing and drain pros at Horizon Services; we’ll quickly and safely remove the object.

  • How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposal

As convenient as garbage disposals can be, removing bad smells can be downright challenging. Wondering how to clean a garbage disposal that smells bad? Remove any clogs before cleaning with soapy water, ice cubes, and coarse salt. Follow these steps to clean a smelly garbage disposal and learn how to prevent odor from returning.

How to Clean a Garbage Disposal That Smells in 4 Simple Steps

Though garbage disposal odor can overwhelm your kitchen, some basic ingredients and simple techniques can get rid of the smell. The following steps detail how to clean a garbage disposal but, first, we’ll answer, “Why does my garbage disposal stink?”

Why Does My Garbage Disposal Stink?

Any appliance that deals with food can be prone to odor if not cleaned regularly. Garbage disposals, in particular, are predisposed to bad smells when food sticks to their blades and starts to break down. Clogs only compound this problem as food continues to collect and decompose without draining.

While removing clogs and food particles can address the source of the smell, odor tends to linger in the disposal’s small, contained environment. Here’s how to clean a garbage disposal that smells with just a few kitchen supplies.

1. Unclog Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposal smells are often the result of a clog. Whether it’s one large item or a collection of food particles, the first step in how to clean a garbage disposal is to remove any clogs.

Here’s how to unclog a garbage disposal safely :

  • Unplug the disposal
  • Use a flashlight to locate blockages
  • With tongs or tweezers (never your hand) remove the clog
  • Restore power
  • Run the disposal and water for 1 minute

How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposal

Image from Home Stratosphere

2. Soak Garbage Disposal in Soapy Water

Even though the clog has been removed, the disposal still needs to be cleaned to rid it of lingering odor. Soaking and scrubbing can loosen stubborn food particles while attacking bad smells.

Follow these steps to soak and scrub the garbage disposal :

  • Plug the disposal drain
  • Fill the sink with 4 inches of water and add 2 teaspoons of dish soap
  • Swirl the water to create suds
  • Unplug the drain and turn on the disposal to process the soapy water
  • Pour dish soap on a dampened scrub brush
  • Scrub the garbage disposal’s sink rim and drain

3. Clean Disposal Using Salt and Ice

Once the outside and drain are cleaned, the blades themselves require a good scrubbing to remove stubborn food particles.

Here’s how to clean garbage disposal blades with salt and ice :

  • Place at least 10 ice cubes in the sink
  • Cover them with ½ cup of coarse salt
  • Turn on the disposal and push the ice and salt down the drain
  • Continue running the disposal until all the ice and salt is gone
  • Flush with cold water for 1-2 minutes

How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposal

Image from Everyday Cheapskate

4. Deodorize Your Garbage Disposal

Just as our dishwasher cleaning tips use baking soda and vinegar to remove odor, these ingredients can also deodorize a disposal.

How to use baking soda and vinegar as a final odor-removing step :

  • Pour 2 cups baking soda down the disposal drain
  • Slowly add ½ cup white vinegar
  • Let sit for 1 hour
  • Run the disposal and water for 1 minute

How to Prevent Garbage Disposal Smells

Once the odor is gone, regular garbage disposal maintenance and proper use and care can prevent its return.

Follow these tips to avoid garbage disposal smells :

  • Process the right foods : Avoid putting starches like pastas, rice, and potatoes down the disposal, as they can expand and cause clogs. Also, avoid fibrous foods such as banana peels and corn husks that can wind around impeller blades.
  • Monitor quantity and size : Cut large items into small pieces and add food in small quantities to prevent clogs.
  • Always run water with the disposal : Cold water helps process and drain food. Continue to run the water for at least 5 seconds after turning the disposal off.

Knowing how to clean a garbage disposal that smells can maintain function but won’t prevent every problem. When you need a garbage disposal repair , call Callahan’s Appliance for fast and professional service.

Does your garbage disposal smell like, well, garbage? This common issue is one that no homeowner should have to put up with. We expect garbage disposals to do away with food and other organic materials. They are not, however, supposed to retain the smell of refuse or sewage.

What causes a smelly garbage disposal, and what can you do to solve and prevent it from happening again in the future ?

What Does a Garbage Disposal Do?

A garbage disposal unit is a small machine found between the drain and the piping in a kitchen sink. It is designed to shred food waste and other organic matter into super small pieces How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposal. Doing so enables these disposal materials to easily flow through pipes, reducing the risk of clogs.

Though garbage disposals are used to break down food and other organic materials, homeowners should not intentionally throw these materials down their garbage disposals. Contrary to popular belief, garbage disposals are not made for this purpose. Instead, their purpose is a last line of defense to prevent clogging due to materials that may have accidentally gone down the drain .

To ensure that your unit is working the way it’s supposed to, we recommend running it regularly and avoid intentionally throwing food or other organic matter down it. You’ll also want to run your disposal with running cold water. Cold water solidifies any grease or oils, enabling your disposal to grind them into smaller bits.

What Causes a Bad Smell?

Even with proper maintenance, garbage disposals can have issues. One of the most common and frustrating of these issues is odor. Often, an unpleasant (and seemingly inexplicable) smell will emanate from a kitchen garbage disposal. This smell can have several sources, all of which can be dealt with relatively easily.

Here are the three primary causes of a smelly garbage disposal:

  • A Clog: Many homeowners may have clogs pinned as the primary culprits for garbage disposal odor . But the fact is that clogged disposals are rarely to blame for that mystery smell emanating from the sink . Clogs don’t occur that often, and when they do, it is easy to identify them—thus, no mystery smell.
  • Biofilm Buildup on Pipes: Beneath your drain, your garbage disposal is connected to a series of pipes that send water through your septic system and out into the municipal sewer. Often, biofilm (residue from organic matter) can build up on the insides of these pipes. When an unpleasant smell starts to emanate from a garbage disposal, it’s often due to biofilm buildup on the pipe directly below garbage disposal itself. This pipe connects the garbage disposal to the p-trap. The p-trap serves to block odor from reaching the drain, but it can’t block odor on a pipe that’s located between it and the drain . This is why biofilm buildup on this specific pipe is a common problem .
  • P-Trap Problems: If biofilm buildup is not to blame for a smelly garbage disposal, then there is likely a p-trap problem at play. The p-trap is a curved pipe underneath a kitchen sink that traps water once the tap stops running. This water serves as a barrier to block odor and gas from sewer pipes from reaching the drain. P-traps that have leaks or haven’t had water cycled through them in awhile won’t perform this function properly. To stop the smell, the p-trap must be filled with water.

To identify which of these problems may be the source of your smelly garbage disposal, use the solutions provided in the sections below. Begin by exploring the possibility of a clog, then move on to biofilm buildup, and finally to potential p-trap problems. When in doubt, it is always a good idea to hire a professional in your area.

Solutions: What Works and What Doesn’t

Never fear: The culprits behind garbage disposal odor are all fairly easy to take care of. In this section, we explore solutions to the three most common sources of garbage disposal odor mentioned above.

  • Clearing a Clog: If you’ve determined that a simple garbage disposal clog is to blame for the unpleasant smell coming from your drain, you’ll first want to turn off the unit and the power. Use a flashlight to inspect the clog, and then use pliers, a long dowel, or another appropriate tool to dislodge the clog. Don’t use common drain-cleaning chemicals to unclog your garbage disposal. Many of these are highly corrosive and may damage rubber or plastic parts. Wait 15 minutes for the motor of your garbage disposal to cool, then run your disposal with flowing water.
  • Eliminating Biofilm Buildup on Pipes: Is biofilm buildup on the pipe below your drain to blame for your smelly garbage disposal? Follow these steps to get rid of this odor-causing intruder:
    1. Take the cover off of the sink drain so you can clearly see into the drain pipe.
    2. Use a non-corrosive bacteria waste eliminator to eat away the biofilm buildup on your pipe. Follow directions on packaging clearly.
    3. Rinse thoroughly with clean water until the entire drain is clean.How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposal
  • Solving P-Trap Problems: If unclogging and cleaning with a non-corrosive bacteria waste eliminator doesn’t solve the problem, there’s only one place left to turn: the p-trap. If your p-trap isn’t holding water, it isn’t blocking odor. Sometimes, this occurs because you haven’t used your faucet in a while. Run the water for a minute or two and see if the odor goes away. If that doesn’t work, you’ll want to inspect your p-trap for a leak. If you can’t find a leak, there may be a vacuum caused by other pipes in your home that is sucking water out of your p-trap. In this case (and in other cases where you can’t identify the source of the odor), it’s time to hire a professional.

“Solutions” to Avoid

There are many DIY “solutions” that many homeowners use to get rid of garbage disposal odor or fix clogs. The vast majority of these “solutions” are ineffective, or worse, damaging. As mentioned above, using common drain-cleaning chemicals is a bad idea. These chemicals can corrode your garbage disposal’s hardware. Another garbage disposal cleaning “solution” to avoid include is the use of citrus fruit to clean blades. The highly acidic juice of citrus fruits may dissolve some buildup, but it will also corrode your blades.

Professional Plumbing Solutions at 1-800-anytyme

If you have a smelly garbage disposal that you just can’t fix, it’s a good idea to hire a plumber to help you find a solution. Professional plumbing teams like ours use advanced tools and technology to inspect plumbing systems and stop unwanted odors at their source. We have decades of experience dealing with garbage disposals and plumbing configurations of all shapes and sizes. In addition to our troubleshooting and cleaning services, we also offer repairs and full-scale replacements to properties across the greater San Diego area. If you have a garbage disposal problem, there is no better team to call.

Call Our Plumbers for Fast and Reliable 24/7 Service

Dealing with a smelly garbage disposal? Don’t wait — contact our plumbing professionals here at 1-800-anytyme for fast and effective garbage disposal servicing. We’ve helped hundreds of homeowners across San Diego solve their smelly problems in just minutes. Let us help you with yours. For San Diego’s best 24/7 plumbing service, contact our team today at (760) 477-0072!

Why Does My Garbage Disposal Smell?

The most common reason garbage disposals smell is that food or waste has not been properly disposed of. When food particles and waste are left in the disposal and are unable to drain properly, this will inevitably lead to foul odors. Some of the ways to prevent this include:

  • Running warm water when the disposal is on
  • Running the disposal for at least 30 seconds

What Does it Mean if Your Garbage Disposal Smells Like:

The way your garbage disposal smells can be an indicator of whether or not the problem is simply food that has not been properly disposed and drained or if a more serious problem is to blame.

Rotten Food

When your disposal smells like rotten food, then it’s likely because rotten food is to blame. When you don’t run your disposal for long enough, or when warm water is not running while the disposal is running to help move waste through your plumbing system, food and leftovers can accumulate in just beneath your sink or in your pipes, leading to clogged drains and unpleasant smells. Regularly cleaning your disposal should eliminate the foul odors.

Sewage

If your garbage disposal smells like sewage, it’s time to call the plumber. While temporary fixes may mask the smell, if your disposal smells like sewage, then there’s a good chance there’s a leak that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

Mold or Mildew

If your garbage disposal smells like mold or mildew, it’s likely caused by mold or mildew accumulating in your sink and drain. This is most often caused by placing food in the drain and not running the disposal or not running the disposal long enough to properly dispose of waste. Using a mixture of vinegar, warm water, and baking soda can eliminate the mold.

What Not to Put in the Garbage Disposal

One of the most common causes of foul smells from garbage disposals are disposing of foods that should never be put in the garbage disposal in the first place. These foods can cause a buildup of waste, which can cause clogged drains and more serious issues that are much harder to fix than foul smells. To keep your garbage disposal running smoothly and efficiently, avoid disposing of these foods in your kitchen and opt for the garbage can or a compost pile instead.

Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds should never be poured down the sink, since they can clump and harden along the sides of your pipes and plumbing system. High efficiency drain cleaners can eliminate the problem, and coffee grounds can be repurposed as fertilizer or in compost mixtures. Coffee grounds can also be used to create more acidic environments for plants and flowers that thrive in these locations, such as:

  • Azaleas
  • Beans
  • Begonias
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Daffodils
  • Dogwood
  • Gardenias
  • Hydrangeas
  • Irises
  • Magnolia Trees
  • Marigolds
  • Parsley
  • Peppers
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Egg Shells

Egg shells are horrible for kitchen sinks, as the yolks can cause the shells to stick to the sides of pipes, which can cause clogs and drainage problems, not to mention the rotten egg smell. Egg shells are better served as fertilizer for your garden, where the calcium helps balance the acidity of the soil. If you have acidic soil and wish to make it more habitable for plants and flowers that thrive in alkaline soil, egg shells can also be beneficial.

Potato Peels + Banana Peels

Potato peels and banana peels can wreak havoc on garbage disposal systems and drains. Often, potato skins and banana peels are not able to be broken down by the garbage disposal, and this can result in clogs and foul smells. Again, adding these items to your compost pile is the easiest and most environmentally-friendly way to dispose of these leftovers.

Bleach

You may have considered using bleach to clean your garbage disposal system of leftover waste and materials, but bleach can actually cause more damage to your disposal by making grease and other sludge harder, and therefore less likely to move through your drain properly. Bleach can also affect the amount of bacteria in your septic tank, which are actually beneficial for breaking down food waste and particles, which can prevent backups, clogs, and unpleasant smells.

How to Clean the Garbage Disposal

There are a couple of simple ways to keep your garbage disposal in tip top shape. Whether your disposal is older and functioning less efficiently or brand new and not exhibiting signs of wear and tear at all, it’s always a good idea to periodically “clean” your disposal system with the following methods at least once per month.

Garbage Disposal Cleaning Pods

Many grocery stores and large retailers sell garbage disposal cleaning pods that both mask unpleasant odors and help unclog your drain to help prevent the backup of food waste that can lead to strong smells and broken disposal systems. Simply drop a pod or two down the sink, turn on the water, and turn on the disposal, and the cleaning pods will go to work. A package of 5-10 pods typically retails for less than $5.

Ice Cubes for Garbage Disposal Systems

You may have heard ice can help clean your garbage disposal, and it’s true. Ice can help sharpen the blades on your garbage disposal system to help make food disposal more efficient. The problem with both cleaning pods and ice is that while providing a temporary solution to help maintain the life of your disposal system, they won’t fix serious problems, so if you’re noticing frequent odors, or if your system has become less efficient at disposing of waste, call a professional home service today.

Baking Soda and Vinegar Cleaning Solution

A mixture of baking soda, vinegar, and warm water is a natural, non-toxic cleaner that can help eliminate odors and break down leftover food particles in your garbage disposal and drains. Simply allow the mixture to sit for at least ten minutes, and then run both the garbage disposal and warm water to drain the remnants.

Citrus Peels for Odor Elimination

Running lemon and orange peels through your disposal can freshen up your drain and help control stinky smells. A small amount of citrus-scented dish soap placed in the drain while the disposal is running along with warm water can also do the trick.

How Do I Fix a Broken Garbage Disposal?

If your garbage disposal is broken, not working as efficiently as it once was, or if it makes strange humming or whirring noises, we strongly recommend calling a professional Memphis plumber. Because garbage disposal systems use both sharp blades and electricity to function, we strongly advise not attempting to disconnect, reconnect, or repair a broken garbage disposal without the help of a professional.

Those scenes in scary movies aren’t just a possibility – it’s very possible to cause serious damage to yourself or others when working with electricity and sharp objects. Give the experts a call so you don’t have to worry about the dangers of working on your garbage disposal system yourself. Our customer service representatives are standing by and able to assist you seven days a week. Call today or schedule an appointment online.

How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposal

Your kitchen is no stranger to weird smells. From burnt smells to ethnic foods, your kitchen can smell like something new depending on what you’re cooking. But one smell that you’ll never get used to is that foul smell coming from your garbage disposal. That unpleasant stench is a mixture of stinky food residue that has built up in your drain pipes for a while, and the only way to really get rid of the odor is to use by using a quality disposal cleaner like Rejuvenate’s Disposer and Pipe Cleaner!

Your garbage disposal is one of the most convenient appliances in your kitchen, which is probably why you run it a lot. But because you use it daily, foul scents might be creeping up from the drains, causing you to pinch your nose every time you’re near it. But don’t fret because Rejuvenate has solved your smelly garbage disposal dilemma with its awesome drain pipe cleaner.

The Best Garbage Disposal Cleaner Around

Dirty pipes are gross and that smell can be annoying. Washing dishes can become a hated chore because of the stench, which is why you need to be armed with one of Rejuvenate’s Disposer and Pipe Cleaner, which not only cleans the dirty and smelly pipes, but also deodorizes and maintains them so that the awful smell doesn’t come back. All you need is one convenient disposal cleaner down your pipes and you’ve got a fresh scent and squeaky-clean pipes!

The Best Smelling Disposal Cleaner

Some garbage disposal cleaners can have a very overpowering smell that’s just as bad as the foul smell itself, but that’s not the case with Rejuvenate’s awesome formula that comes in either Lavender, Citrus or Lemon scents. And trust us, all three cleaners smell just as enticing as the other, so you can’t really go wrong with any of them. And the best part is that they feature powerful faming action that will scrub away any grease, food or odors that build-up on the disposal’s blades, sidewalls and even under the splash guard.

The Only Drain Pipe Cleaner You’ll Ever Need

When you use the amazing garbage disposal cleaner by Rejuvenate, you can literally throw out all the others you have under the sink because this is the only product you’ll ever need. Just one packet is all you need to let its powerful enzymes break down and eliminate waste in your drains. Plus, it’s safe for your septic system and really any sink surface (including your bathroom sink), helping to reduce how often you need to pump your septic tank. It really doesn’t get any better than this garbage disposal cleaner!

We work our kitchen sinks hard! Even when we use a sink strainer or a garbage disposal, it’s inevitable that food particles and other debris make their way down our drain and get stuck there. Avoid waking up to a smelly odor in your kitchen, by following these sink cleaning tips!

How to get a bad smell out of a garbage disposal

Tricks to try if you have a garbage disposal:

Tip #1: Hot water & dish soap

  • Start simple! Let a sink full of very hot, soapy water flush through the garbage disposal while it’s running. You may even want to repeat one more time, but this step alone could do the trick!

If you’re still noticing a foul odor coming from your garbage disposal, try tip #2.

Tip #2: Ice cubes, coarse salt & lemon peels

  • A strong smell coming from your sink could be caused by your disposal blades. To make sure the blades are clean and free of lingering food particles, try this ice cube, salt and lemon peel combo. Toss a few cubes and a handful of coarse salt down the disposal. The ice will knock food off the grinder and the salt will scrub the sides. Once this is complete, flush with water and add some lemon peels for freshness! You should be odor free in no time!
Tricks to try if you don’t have a garbage disposal:

Tip#1: Boiling water

  • Don’t underestimate the power of hot water! Boil up a pot of water (or better yet, use leftovers from cooking pasta or making tea) and pour it down the sink. This may be enough to take care of more mild smells and also doubles as a great way to clear some gunk out of old pipes.

If the hot water isn’t doing the trick, check out tip #2.

Tip #2: Baking soda, boiling water & vinegar

  • These common household products are great in cleaning a variety of substances around the home. Pour one cup of baking soda down the drain and top it off with two cups of vinegar. Let the mixture bubble up and sit for a few minutes while your water finishes boiling. Then run scorching hot water down the drain to wash it all down and hopefully take care of that smell. Repeat as necessary, but typically one time of this cleaning concoction should do the trick!

Garbage disposals are a common amenity found in many homes. They provide easy kitchen clean-up as well as more sustainable living. However, garbage disposals can also lead to some inconvenient and unpleasant odors. So… what is causing that awful smell, anyway?

Why does my garbage disposal smell bad?

A garbage disposal is meant for grinding up food scraps. When these scraps are not broken up fully, it can leave a bad smell lingering in the pipes that will eventually make its way into the air. Luckily, we have some simple fixes to get rid of and prevent sink odors.

If your sink smells like rotten eggs or spoiled food:

Something may have been unintentionally put into the drain such as grease, oil, or fat. T ry using bio-enzyme drain cleaner or vinegar and baking soda to clear out the smell. You could also try running ice cubes through the disposal or putting slices of citrus in the disposal to freshen the odor.

If the foul smell is not from the garbage disposal:

It could be caused from a sewer gas leak. If this is the case, check the sink trap or drain vent . There could be a blockage or leak; you may even be lacking a drain vent all together. If the odor persists, we recommend having a professional assess the problem more thoroughly.

How do I prevent my garbage disposal from smelling?

  1. Pour a small amount of dish soap in the disposal while it’s running. Make sure cold water is running during this process.
  2. Run your garbage disposal often to avoid accumulation of leftover food within the drain.
  3. Grind your food with a strong flow of cold water to avoid grease build up.
  4. Avoid clogging by putting larger waste items into the trash.

What shouldn’t I put down my garbage disposal?

  • Don’t pour oil, grease, or fat into your drain as it slowly accumulates over time, causing costly repairs.
  • Don’t grind up fibrous foods like celery, artichokes, asparagus, lettuce, corn husks, carrots, or potato peels. These types of foods can wrap around the blades and create an odor while potentially damaging the disposal.
  • Avoid putting egg shells down the drain; the leftover membranes can become wrapped around the shredder ring, causing it to age over time and leaving a bad smell in the air.
  • Don’t put pasta, rice, potatoes, or beans into the disposal; they can swell with water and create a paste that clogs and traps particles from other types of foods.

What if the smell is coming from my sink?

While garbage disposals are the typical culprit for foul smells, the bathroom sink can also produce pesky odors. Leftover biofilms cause these odors; when the biofilm coats the inside of the pipes, it harbors a feeding ground for bacteria build-up. Running hot water down the pipes can dislodge some of the slimy film, it also forces the smell up and out of the pipe. We recommend using a household product like baking soda or vinegar; these can be used to kill bacteria, resulting in a clean smelling bathroom sink.

These odors are not dangerous. However, smelling them is not pleasant. If the tips and tricks above don’t solve the problem, contact Applewood today! We can rid your sink of these funky smells and help prevent them in the future.