A garbage disposal give homeowners a clean, quick method for removing certain food wastes, but terrible garbage disposal smells can develop depending on what is put into the disposal.
Some foods, like shells, grease, and oil can’t go in the garbage disposal because they’ll obstruct the blades. Fruit pits, fruit scraps, vegetable scraps, cooked meat, and small bones can be put into the garbage disposal, but if the disposal is not regularly cleaned, these products can break down in the drain, creating foul odors.
While garbage disposals offer a level of convenience to the user, the odors that linger in the disposal can become overpowering if the situation is not remedied. Learn how to get rid of garbage disposal smells.
What Causes Garbage Disposal Odors?
Garbage disposals are designed to break down soft food scraps and food waste so that it can be washed down the drain. This includes a wide assortment of foods, such as fruit scraps, cooked meat, and even small bones. However, if the garbage disposal is not regularly cleaned, the food waste and leftover residue will cling to the insides of the disposal.
Over time, the food waste will break down, releasing powerful odors. The smell of rotting fruit, vegetables, and meat will then emanate from the drain, gradually seeping into the air. Even after a quick rinse, pieces of food may remain lodged in the disposal, so it’s important to regularly clean, deodorize, and neutralize garbage disposal smells.
How to Get Rid of Garbage Disposal Smells
When using a garbage disposal, run cold water to help wash food waste into the drain and rinse the interior of the garbage disposal. If the garbage disposal starts to smell bad, you’ll need to take steps to clean and deodorize the appliance.
Baking Soda and White Vinegar
One of the easiest ways to clean and deodorize the garbage disposal is to use baking soda and white vinegar. Start by adding about one quarter cup of baking soda to the disposal, then add one cup of white vinegar. The combination of these two products acts to kill odor-causing bacteria and germs as well as cleaning away mineral deposits from the inside of the drain.
Wait for about five to 10 minutes while the baking soda and white vinegar eat away at any lingering food waste. After 10 minutes has past, rinse the garbage disposal with cold water.
Salt and Ice
Running water into the disposal helps to lubricate the blades and wash any food residue into the drain. Salt and ice can be used to a similar end, as a method of cleaning and deodorizing the disposal unit. The salt neutralizes any odors, while the ice physically removes stuck-on grime. Additionally, the ice can help to sharpen the disposal blades, reducing the amount of food waste that gets stuck in the disposal.
Pour a few ice cubes into the disposal, then add a handful of salt. Turn the garbage disposal on to break the ice cubes and disperse the salt throughout the interior of the disposal. Repeat as necessary to remove any lingering smells.
Ground Citrus Peels
It isn’t a good idea to toss a full orange peel into the garbage disposal. The peel can obstruct the blades or clog the drain. However, if you grind up citrus peels, then this can be a highly effective way to clean and deodorize the garbage disposal. Choose any citrus fruits you have on hand or select a specific type of fruit if you have a certain smell in mind.
Peel the fruit and grind up the citrus peel into small pieces. Turn the garbage disposal on and run cold water into the drain. Add the ground citrus peels to the disposal. The citrus oils will kill odor-causing bacteria and fungi, while replacing the odor with a citrus scent instead.
Not every type of scouring powder is suitable for a garbage disposal, so before purchasing a scouring powder to clean and deodorize the disposal, it’s important to research the product to find a scouring powder that is safe to use for this purpose.
Once you have found a safe option, pour about half a cup of scouring powder into the garbage disposal. Add a little cold water to help the powder stick, then let the substance sit in the disposal for about 15 minutes. Next, turn the disposal on and run the cold water. This will help clean the blades, remove the foul odors, and rinse the scouring powder into the drain.
Another method for removing terrible odors is to physically clean the inside of the garbage disposal. While you should never reach your hand into the disposal, you can clean inside with a long bottle brush and some liquid dishwashing soap.
First, unplug the power cord or turn off the breaker switch for the garbage disposal. This will ensure that the unit does not turn on while you are cleaning. Next, put a little liquid dishwashing soap onto the bottle brush, then feed the bottle brush into the disposal. Use the brush to scrub the inside of the disposal and remove any lodged food waste.
After scrubbing the inside of the disposal, turn on the cold water to rinse the drain, then plug in the disposal or turn on the breaker switch for the unit. Depending on the model, you may need to press the reset button located on the bottom of the garbage disposal to reset the internal circuit breaker before the disposal can be used.