The garbage disposal is one of the handiest devices in every home, designed to trap solid food waste in the grinding chamber. You’ll see it mounted underneath sinks. When you turn on your disposal unit, an impeller plate or spinning disc turns rapidly, forcing all the food leftovers against the grinding chamber’s outer wall. This process pulverizes the food waste into tiny bits that get washed by running water through the holes inside the chamber wall.
Like anything else that handles waste in our homes, your garbage disposal collects smells over time due to residue buildup. Most often, it begins as a slightly sour odor around your sink. If you don’t address it immediately, a dirty garbage unit can make the kitchen stink.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to prevent your garbage disposal from smelling, and the best remedy is usually prevention. If your disposal unit emits unpleasant odors, the following remedies will eliminate the awful smells and keep it fresh and clean.
1. Use Ice Cubes
Ice cubes are a great way to tackle foul garbage disposal smells. They can also help clean the unit’s blades without using chemicals. Ice cubes help dislodge food waste stuck in your garbage disposal unit without adding strange smells. Run your disposal unit and drop several ice cubes into it at a time. Give it at least one hour and check if the odor has cleared up.
2. Vinegar and Baking Soda
You can clean many things in your home with vinegar and baking soda, and your garbage disposal unit is no exception. All you need to do is run your unit and sprinkle in some baking soda or pour one cup of vinegar. Either one of these home remedies can work pretty well by itself. However, you can combine them for more cleaning power, especially when tackling tough jobs.
Take a half cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar, but do not mix them. Sprinkle your baking soda first, and then pour in the vinegar. The two substances will react to create a natural deodorizer and foaming cleanser. Allow the mixture to settle for around five minutes, and then run your garbage disposal using hot water.
While these natural remedies effectively remove odor, vinegar can break down the disposal unit’s rubber seals. Therefore, you need to check with your unit’s manufacturer if using vinegar is acceptable. If it is not specified, then you should use this technique sparingly.
3. Use Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits are usually acidic and have natural anti-fungal and antibacterial oils, with most of the oils in the peel of the fruit. To prevent your garbage disposal from accumulating foul odors, grind a handful of rinds inside the unit. The citrus oils eliminate odor-causing bacteria and remove stinky residue in your disposal.
4. The Bleach Method
The other way to prevent your garbage disposal from smelling is by using bleaching agents. Bleach knocks out anything causing your kitchen sink to stink. Although it comes with a pungent odor, bleach is also an effective odor neutralizer. However, it would be best to use a mild bleaching agent to avoid damaging your unit.
Turn on your tap and ensure you are running cold water while the garbage disposal is off. Next, pour one tablespoon of the bleaching agent into running water to wash down the drain. If possible, open all the surrounding windows for around 30 minutes or more after using bleach.
5. Use Cold Water
You should always run cold water when using your garbage disposal. Although hot water is good when you want to clean the unit, cold water prevents buildup from melted oils and grease. Always run water for an additional 20 or 30 seconds after all the food particles are pulverized. This way, you will allow adequate water to go through the disposal unit, effectively rinsing it to eliminate the chances of the lingering smell.
6. Kosher Salt
You can also use kosher salt to prevent your garbage unit from releasing foul odors. If you notice slimy residue inside your disposal, pour some ice cubes inside and turn it on. Add a half cup of kosher salt while it’s running. This combination will pulverize the residue because it’s relatively abrasive. You can do this every week to stay on top of any residue in your garbage unit.
7. Use Commercial Cleaners
There are many different garbage disposal cleaning products available on the market today. These cleaners are quite effective at tackling foul odors and attacking clogs. Plus, they help break down food particles and fatty deposits to eliminate the source of unpleasant smells.
8. General Cleaning of the Unit
Sometimes, general dirt or lingering food particles are the culprits of garbage disposal odors. To clean your unit, start by removing the large chunks of food that might be stuck in the unit. Ensure your garbage disposal is turned off as you do that to prevent injuries.
Next, clean the entries and rubber seals since food particles may get stuck in the invisible corners. Lastly, run water for several minutes to clear any residue. When using your garbage disposal, always run cold water to ensure proper flushing of all food particles.
9. Don’t Put Everything in Your Disposal Unit
One of the common causes of garbage disposal odors is disposing of food items that you should not place in the unit in the first place. Some foods can cause an accumulation of waste, causing clogged drains, unpleasant odors, and even more serious problems. To keep your disposal running efficiently and smoothly, avoid putting foods that don’t grind well in the unit. You can put them in a compost pile or garbage can instead. Where there’s a build, there will be a bad smell. Avoid putting these things in your disposal unit to keep it clean.
- Fats and oils – These can cause big clogs that may require professional plumbing assistance.
- Meats – Don’t put uncooked or cooked meat.
- Eggshells – These are not recommended since their membrane can wrap around the unit’s impellers, causing damage.
- Fruits and vegetables – Avoid stringy fruits and vegetables, such as onions, rhubarb, celery, banana peels, and corn husks.
Are You Experiencing Garbage Disposal Odors? Allow Us to Tackle It for You
Although it’s pretty easy to eliminate garbage disposal odors, prevention is always the best remedy. The simple guidelines highlighted above can help you cut down on food residue buildup that causes unpleasant smells in the first place. With occasional attention and regular care, your disposal unit can be a blessing without becoming a stinking inconvenience.
If your disposal unit smells and you’re having trouble eliminating the odor, the issue could be in your drains. Contact an experienced plumber from Sunrise Plumbing to tackle the drainage system and get your unit running smoothly and smelling fresh. We also offer sewer, drain, leak detection, sump pump, water heater, and other plumbing services to the residents of Rockwall, TX, and its surroundings. Contact us today to learn more about ways to eliminate garbage disposal odors or order any of our plumbing services.