DIY Fixes to Get Rid of Your Garbage Disposal’s Odor {Guest Post}

DIY Fixes to Get Rid of Your Garbage Disposal’s Odor {Guest Post}

Guest Post by Justin Curtis


Do you smell something funky coming from your kitchen? If it’s not the trashcan, it’s probably the garbage disposal. Also known as a waste disposal unit, a garbage disposal is a convenient little device that pulverizes organic waste so that it can be flushed into your home’s plumbing system. There are times, however, when it may produce an unpleasant odor. The good news is that you can usually fix a foul-smelling garbage disposal in one of several ways.

Why Garbage Disposals Smell Bad

When everything works properly, you shouldn’t be able to smell your garbage disposal. Any food discarded down the disposal will be flushed into your home’s septic tank or the sewer to which it’s attached. But food particles can get stuck inside the garbage disposal, creating a breeding ground for bacteria and mold. Not only this increase the risk of infectious illness for you and your family, it also creates a foul-smelling odor.

Flush It With Soapy Water

First, try flushing your garbage disposal with soapy water to remove any food particles. Even if you allow the faucet to run, some components will remain dry. And any area that’s not exposed to water will catch and accumulate food particles. So, plug the drain in your sink, fill it with cold water and dish soap, and remove the drain to flush your garbage disposal.

Citrus Peelings

Placing citrus peelings down your garbage disposal is an effective, all-natural way to fight bad odors. This is because odor-causing germs are often alkaline, so acidic fruits like lemons, oranges and limes neutralize them. After peeling a citrus fruit, place the peelings down your garbage disposal and turn the unit on with the cold water running.

Ice Cube and Water

Another way to get rid of bad odors is to place ice cubes and cold water down your garbage disposal. Unlike citrus peelings, ice cubes won’t neutralize the germs within your garbage disposal. Rather, they’ll dislodge stubborn food particles while sharpening your unit’s blades in the process. Place a handful of cubes down your garbage disposal and turn it on with the cold water running. The cold water will protect the mechanical components from friction, and it will harden any lingering food so that it can be knocked loose more easily.

Vinegar and Baking Soda

Vinegar and baking soda is a powerful cleaning solution that’s great for removing garbage disposal odors. You may recall using these two ingredients to create volcanoes for school projects. When mixed together, vinegar and baking soda generates carbon dioxide, thus causing the mixed liquids to expand like a foaming volcano. You can take advantage of this chemical reaction by pouring 2 cups of white vinegar and 1 cup of baking soda down your garbage disposal. After allowing it to sit for 10 minutes, flush it with cold water.

Inspect the P-Trap

If you’ve tried everything to remove the bad odors no avail, inspect your sink’s P-trap. This twisting pipe underneath your garbage disposal acts as a one-way valve by allowing waste to flow into your home’s plumbing system and preventing plumbing gasses from entering. If the P-trap is leaking or otherwise not functioning properly, foul-smelling odors from your home’s plumbing system will rise into your kitchen skin.

It’s frustrating when your garbage disposal begins to smell funky. Depending on the severity of the problem, you may find yourself avoiding the kitchen. However, most instances of foul-smelling garbage disposals are easily fixed using the methods listed here.

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About the Author

Justin Curtis,  creator of Mr. Garbage Disposal

While I am not a professional plumber, I am quite the handyman. I work as an accountant, but outside of work, I like to work with my hands and live frugally.

2 years ago, the garbage disposal in my house broke because of a faulty part. After buying the new part and looking at installation fees, I realized that it was way outside of my budget. To solve my problem, I took it upon myself to learn everything I could about garbage disposals. I learned the best affordable parts, where to get them, and how to install them. Through this experience, I discovered my passion for working with my hands.

Considering most people don’t know much about garbage disposals, I want to share my experience and knowledge with you, which is why I created Mr. Garbage Disposal.

My goal for Mr. Garbage Disposal is for it to be the go-to place for people to learn about garbage disposals and how to fix them, while not breaking the bank along the way.

*Bio photo courtesy of Justin Curtis



Cynthia Tait

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