How to Deal With a Smelly Garbage Disposal

When you are spending time in the kitchen, you typically want to smell the savory or sweet aromas of the food you’re preparing. Understandably, it can become frustrating when an unwanted smell makes its presence known. Even when you’ve maintained a thorough cleaning routine, the culprit might be hiding behind the scenes in the garbage disposal.

Thankfully, there are practical ways that you can get rid of the pesky yet prominent odors coming from your garbage disposal. You don’t have to completely gut out the various pipes or replace your garbage disposal with a new one. Instead, consider implementing the following tips into your routine in order to maintain a clean-smelling garbage disposal.

Regularly Use the Garbage Disposal

A common yet understandable mistake many people make is forgetting the garbage disposal must be run regularly to keep it cleaner. Between maintaining a household, caring for children, and working over 40 hours each week, it’s only natural to struggle to remember the last time you turned on the garbage disposal.

Each time someone in the household rinses a dish or cleans a pan, some food bits may get caught in the garbage disposal. If these food scraps hang out, they may begin to rot and cause a nasty smell. By regularly running the garbage disposal, you ensure that food waste moves through the unit before it can start to cause a stench.

Put Problematic Food Waste in the Trash

Your garbage disposal is excellent at grinding up many foods so they can be washed down the drain. However, some food items and other substances should never go in the garbage disposal. Never pour grease or oil into the garbage disposal. This is primarily because grease and oil don’t dissolve or dissipate well. They will harden and coat the inside of the drain. As a result, the oil and grease can build up and create a clogged drain.

In addition, depending on what you prepare that day, the grease takes on that odor. Whether you were frying meat, onions, or eggs, that smell will stay with the old oil. The oil may coat the inside of your garbage disposal and will not be easily dislodged by running the unit and rinsing it with water. Instead, it will persist in the garbage disposal and stink up the kitchen.

Other foods that are not wise to put in the garbage disposal include coffee grounds, rice, bones, and pasta. Your garbage disposal does not deal well with these types of items. Plus, these types of food waste will stick to the interior of the drain.

Besides avoiding putting some food types in the garbage disposal, it’s best to limit the amount of food that your garbage disposal has to deal with all at once. If it gets overwhelmed, your machine will not be efficient at grinding the food waste small enough to easily travel through your pipes and out of your home. When possible, it is a good idea to scrape plates off into a garbage can before washing them in the sink. In addition, it can be convenient to have a strainer in the drain while preparing meals. The strainer will catch cuttings from vegetables, meats, or other foods. You can then use the faucet to rinse off your cutting board. Afterward, the contents of the sink strainer can be disposed of in the trash.

Deep Clean Your Garbage Disposal

As long as you have baking soda and white vinegar in your kitchen, you can deep clean a garbage disposal. It’s a simple fix that can save you the headache of wondering what to do if your unit’s odor has gotten out of control.

Start by removing any visible food waste in your garbage disposal. Get two ice cubes and run them through your disposal. This will loosen any food particles left on the blades. A side benefit is that ice cubes may also sharpen the blades of your machine.

Next, pour a half cup of baking soda down the drain. Follow it up with a cup of white vinegar. Allow those two substances to react with each other. Typically, you’ll see bubbles and fizzing. These reactions are indicators the solution is working. For the best results, allow the baking soda and vinegar to sit for up to 10 minutes. While you are waiting, you can put a large pot of water on the stove to boil.

When the water boils, pour the hot water into your garbage disposal. At this point, you want to turn your garbage disposal on to grind up the loosened food bits. The next step is to remove the splash guard from the unit and give it a good scrubbing. If you cannot remove the splash guard, you can lift the flaps to access the bottom of the disposal. A bottle brush or old toothbrush can be used to clean the insides of the unit. After replacing the splash guard, you can grind up some lemon peels in the unit for a fresh citrus smell. The baking soda and vinegar method can be used once or twice a month to maintain a clean-smelling garbage disposal.

Regular Cleaning

Daily cleaning will keep your garbage disposal in good shape and reduce the number of times that you need to do a deep cleaning of the unit. For daily cleaning, you will need a small brush, dishwashing detergent, and hot water.

Pour the hot water into the sink and add the dishwashing detergent to make soapy water. Turn on your garbage disposal and allow the soapy water to drain through it. The detergent will help break up the food debris in the unit. Make sure the unit is off, and then use the small brush to scrub your garbage disposal. When you are done, you can pour a small amount of essential oil into the garbage disposal to give it a fresh scent.

When to Call a Professional

Sometimes an issue with your garbage disposal is not a do-it-yourself project. If you hear a humming noise when you turn on the machine, but the blades are not moving, this means that food or another object has jammed the unit. You can try pulling the obstruction out of the machine, but if you cannot get it dislodged, it is time to call a plumber. A professional may have to partially disassemble your machine to get it back in working order.

In addition, if the garbage disposal is leaking under the sink or not draining, it is time to call a professional. A plumber has the tools to deal with a blockage severe enough to clog the drain and the expertise to assess a leak and fix the issue.

Expert Plumbers in Richmond, VA

At Davis & Green, we have been trusted plumbers in Richmond, VA and the surrounding areas since 1984. We install, maintain, and repair all types of heating and cooling systems. We also provide electrical, water heater, and drain cleaning and repair services.

If you have an issue with your garbage disposal, contact us today so we can get it back in working order!

Davis & Green

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