How to clean a garbage disposal


Since garbage disposals are used to break up kitchen waste in your drain, they sometimes develop lingering smells. Garbage disposal smells can have a many different reasons behind them. While most smells can be eliminated by simple, at-home remedies, some will require garbage disposal repair. 

To help customers determine what solution is best for them, the Vern’s Plumbing team has compiled a list of reasons your garbage disposal might smell and how to resolve this!

Solutions on how to reduce garbage disposal smell and advice on when to call the professionals are listed below.

Garbage Disposals With Rotten Or Decayed Food

Food that isn’t completely broken up can get caught in a garbage disposal’s cutting blades or the drainpipes the appliance connects to. When this happens, the food rots and decays, causing garbage disposal smells that can spread throughout the kitchen.

You can get rid of rotten or decayed food smells by rinsing the garbage disposal with hot water while the appliance is on. Hot water scrapes decayed food out of the garbage disposal and its drainpipes, sending it to the sewer. To prevent buildup, this should be done whenever your garbage disposal is used.

If hot water alone doesn’t work, fill the sink with hot, soapy water and run the garbage disposal. This allows for a more thorough cleaning as grease-cutting detergent helps clear away anything attached to disposal blades and pipes.

Mold And Bacteria On The Rubber Flap Or Stopper

The moist, warm environment of a kitchen sink’s drain is the perfect breeding ground for mold and bacteria. In most garbage disposals, both are found in vast amounts and are the source of many smells.

This will make repeated, brisk cleanings with a stiff nylon brush and all-purpose cleaners necessary. Additionally, clean the area around the sink drain openings to prevent the buildup of mold and bacteria.

Sewer Gas Coming From Your Garbage Disposal

When designed and installed correctly, sinks feature a trap that holds water and prevents sewer gases from rising out of the drain. However, the trap will not function properly if it is dry or there is a blocked or leaky drain. As a result, sewer gases can seep into the kitchen.

If sewer smells are coming from the kitchen sink, and are accompanied by sluggish drains and toilets, the drain vent could have a blockage. For most homes, drain vents converge into a single opening on the roof.

To fix a blockage, climb up onto the roof and clear away any debris that is clogging the vent. If you cannot do this, schedule an appointment with an expert.

Other Tips To Get Rid Of Garbage Disposal Smells

To prevent overheating, run cold water whenever you use your garbage disposal. If you want to simultaneously clean your garbage disposal and eliminate smells, send ice cubes and lemon peels down your kitchen sink.

Ice cubes remove waste and lemon peels leave behind a citrusy scent. Run the garbage disposal for five seconds after the grinding noises stop to prevent a buildup of food waste. Stopping the blades too early can leave food particles, which can rot and produce smells, behind.

Hazards including inorganic waste, cooking grease, and most food debris should not go down a garbage disposal. These materials wrap around blades, accumulating and attracting other particles and increasing odors.

To eliminate most garbage disposal smells, pour ½ cup of baking soda and ½ cup of vinegar into the drain. This solution should sit in the drain for approximately one hour before rinsing it away with clean water.

Local Plumbers For Garbage Disposal Repair

If home remedies fail, you will need to call a professional plumber and schedule garbage disposal repair.

Over time, food particles harden and encrust cutting blades, and no amount of hot water and soap will loosen them. When this happens, the particles have to be removed by stronger cleaning solutions and hours of soaking.

Plumbers prevent draining by disconnecting the garbage disposal drain and capping the disposal’s outlet tub. Followed by more powerful cleaning solutions sit in the sink for over an hour. The drain is then reconnected and the disposal is flushed with clean, hot water.

Problems could also be inside the unit, requiring a professional garbage disposal repair that includes disconnecting, disassembling and cleaning the appliance.

Reduce Garbage Disposal Smells Today

Watch out for any funky smells coming from your garbage disposal and try a DIY solution to the problem. All home remedies are relatively easy and should be able to reduce or eliminate any bad smells. If you think garbage disposal repair is needed, contact the experts at Vern’s Plumbing!

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