Why Does my Garbage Disposal have an Odor?


You probably use your garbage disposal every day. They are a great way to rid your kitchen of left off foods. However, food that does not wash entirely into the drain will rot and cause a terrible smell. Even then, most people never think of cleaning their disposal until they decide to get rid of the smell.

Causes of smells in Garbage Disposals

  • Food particles have not been washed out of the pipes. Remember that the disposal does not have cutting blades or anything to grind up the food. Instead it just makes a slush out of the food so it will fit down the drain. This slush will rot, and if left in the pipes, it will smell.
  • Food slurry has hardened on the pipes. If the food particles are not washed out, in time they will harden on the inside of the pipes and produce an order.
  • The wrong things have been put into the disposal. Foods that clump up and will not go down the drain, such as potato peels, rice, banana peels and celery, will stay in the drain and produce an order.

How to Get Rid of the Order 

There are thing you can do on a regular basis to help prevent the problem. There are several options you can choose from to do your cleaning.

  •  Hot Water- Turn on the disposal and run hot water through it for 45 seconds. This will push all shush out of the pipes. This should be done after each use.
  • Grease Cutter- Turn off the disposal and stop the sink with a rubber stopper. Fill up the sink with water and add some degreaser or detergent with grease cutter. Remove the stopped and quickly turn the disposal on. The will allow the detergent to shosh around in the pipes and clean them off.
  • Brushing—Use a small nylon brush to reach down in the disposal and clean off the flaps where food debis may have built up. Any parts that are removable can also be cleaned with the brush. After you loosen the debris with the brush run the water for about 30 seconds with the disposal on, to push the food lower into the pipes.
  • Baking soda and vinegar- Some people clean their disposal by putting baking soda, then vinegar into the drain, which causes the particles to break loose, then they can be washed down the drain. However this needs to be done as a last resort because using the vinegar too often can cause rubber and other materials in the disposal to break down.
  • Ice cube method- Put several trays of ice cubes into the disposal and turn it on. As the debirs freezes it will chuck off the blades and out of the plate. Let water run down the sink for 60 seconds after all the ice is gone.
  • Lemon Cleaning- Chop up a lemon into tiny pieces so they will go down the disposal. Put them in and allow the disposal to grind them up. This will cover any orders in the drain.
  • Clean the drain pipe– To do this you need to use wrenches and remove the pipe that is under the sink, going from your disposal to your drain. You can purchase a test cap that fits on the end of the pipe. Put the cap on the end of the pipe to seal it off. Pour in bleach and allow it to sit for about 30 min. Remove the cap, catch the bleach in a bucket, put the pipe back together and run water through the disposal.

Obviously you can find a method that you like to clean your disposal. But its much easier to do some regular maintenance and prevent the orders in the first place. By doing regular maintenance you can not only enjoy a fresh smelling drain, you can expect your disposal to work for many years to come.