How To Fix a Smelly Garbage Disposal

Does your garbage disposal stink? It can be awful when there’s a foul smell in your kitchen, where you prepare or even eat your food. Here are handy tips on how to deal with a smelly garbage disposal.

1. Regular Cleaning

  • Observe routine cleaning of your garbage disposal after each use.
  • Remove debris on the drain using pliers or tongs. Never use your hands.
  • Run plenty of hot water through it for a minute to clear the pipes.
  • If the smell remains, turn off the garbage disposal and cover the drain with a rubber stopper.
  • Fill the stopped sink with hot water mixed with grease-cutting dishwashing detergent or borax.
  • Remove the stopper and turn on the garbage disposal to eliminate grime and grease.
  • If the odor remains, take out removable parts of the garbage disposal and clean them with soapy water and scrub or brush.
  • Lift the rubber flaps and carefully clean the area between the flap and the blades.

2. Occasional Deodorizing

  • Pour enough baking soda (about 1/2 cup) into your garbage disposal enough to cover the drain fully.
  • Pour vinegar (about 1/2 cup) of vinegar down the drain.
  • Let this sit for 60 minutes or so.
  • Turn on the garbage disposal and run cold water for a minute.
  • You may also use a few cups of citrus peels in lieu of baking soda and vinegar.
  • Use vinegar and citrus peels sparingly since their acidity may destroy some parts of the garbage disposal.

3. General Cleaning

  • Secure the tools needed for a thorough and deep cleaning of your garbage disposal.
  • You’ll need a test clamp (1-1/4 inch in diameter), a wrench, pliers or tongs, old toothbrush
  • Run hot water for about half a minute.
  • Turn off the fuse or main power supply to your garbage disposal.
  • Use tongs or pliers to reach out obstructions down the unit.
  • Remove the screen and use an old toothbrush to scrub the inside of the garbage disposal.
  • With a wrench, disconnect the pipe connecting the sink and the garbage disposal (located under the sink).
  • Attach the rubber test cap to the end of the pipe. Place a bucket right below the end of the pipe for spills.
  • Run warm water until the water reaches the surface of the sink.
  • Add 1/2 cup oxygen bleach to the drain and let sit for 60 minutes.
  • Remove the test cap and let the bleach solution flow into the bucket.
  • Reconnect pipes.
  • Clean the grinders by pouring 2 cups of ice covered with a cup of rock salt or vinegar.
  • Turn on the garbage disposal and cold water and run the unit for 10 seconds to dislodged debris.

Additional Tips: How to Prevent Smelly Garbage Disposal

1. Use the garbage disposal only for organic or biodegradable materials. Do not place rubber, plastic, large bones, or even fibrous or starchy food as they can lodge and block the pipes. Eggshells and small fruit pits are okay.

2. Run the garbage disposal a bit longer than usual to remove all the particles. Let it run for another minute or so after the grinding noise stops.

3. Avoid putting grease down the drain. Grease accumulate in the unit and slows the motor.

4. Cut into smaller pieces the food items you think are harder for the garbage disposal to process. Make it easy on your garbage disposal to make it last longer.

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