Why Does My Garbage Disposal Smell Bad?

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Phil Puccio

Rinse water running, garbage disposal

A garbage disposal allows you to shred leftover food and flush dish waste down the drain, making everyday cleaning extremely convenient. But there’s a downside: the occasional stink of lingering crumbs. Can you eliminate this smell yourself? Or do you need professional help?

A particularly persistent stench usually indicates that you need a garbage disposal repair appointment. Save your nose and contact Mr. Plumber to eliminate the causes of a smelly drain.

If you’d rather try some DIY solutions first, read on for a few common tactics to combat unwanted odors.

What makes a garbage disposal smell?

As already indicated, almost all unpleasant odors from waste disposal can be traced back to leftover food. Although your disposal should remove most food debris, stickier clumps can stick to the blades or collect in your drain pipe. Over time, this waste can accumulate and rot, resulting in an unpleasant odor in your kitchen.

How can I get rid of the garbage disposal smell?

There are several home remedies that can eliminate (or at least minimize) your sink stench:

Flush the drain with clean, hot water

Before trying anything else, simply run a strong stream of hot water down the drain. This can help loosen and wash away troublesome food debris. Additionally, this is good practice every time you do the disposal, as a hot water rinse can prevent future dirt build-up.

Fill the sink with hot, soapy water

If hot water alone isn’t enough, try putting a stopper in your drain, filling the sink, and mixing in dish soap. Finally, pull out the plug, causing a torrent of soapy water to swirl down the drain. Unlike just running the faucet, this method completely fills the drain with water and ensures the soap reaches every inch of the area. If you notice that water is having trouble flowing down, you may need to schedule a professional drain cleaning to clear odor-causing clogs.

Use a baking soda preparation

Baking soda is known for its wonderful cleaning and odor-masking properties, making it the perfect disposal cleaner. Try mixing 1/2 cup of baking soda with 1 cup of white vinegar. Pour this concoction down the drain and let it sit for at least an hour before draining the water. Once you do this, hopefully the smell will go away.

Try scouring powder

Scouring powder, a mixture of scouring agents and dry detergent, can also remove unpleasant odours. The abrasive materials help scrape away food debris, while the detergent fights odors. You can find scouring powder at most convenience stores. Typically, you should pour about 1/2 cup of the powder down your drain and rinse off after 15 minutes.

Salt and Ice:

If you don’t want to buy scouring powder, Salt and Ice is a DIY alternative for scrubbing. Just drop a handful of ice cubes down the drain, sprinkle in a few teaspoons of salt, and then do the disposal. The blades break up the ice, and both the salt and ice chips help throw stinky chunks of food down the drain.

When do I need a garbage disposal repair?

If none of these home remedies work — or if horrible smells keep coming back — you probably need professional help. Over time, hardened dirt can become too attached to your litter to remove with household items.

Oils, fats, meat and fibrous products are particularly difficult to remove from disposal blades. If you cook with these materials frequently (which almost everyone does), you may need a stronger chemical cleaning solution, which is best left to highly trained technicians.

You may also be dealing with garbage disposal damage. Slow, rusty, or bent blades are ineffective at shredding waste, which means more waste is left to rot down your drain.

Mr. Plumber provides fast and effective garbage disposal repair services, leaving your kitchen clean and odor free. Contact us today!

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