Why does my garbage disposal smell bad?

A common reason for a smelly garbage disposal is an excess amount of food left behind after it has been run. Other reasons for the smell can be mold or mildew, or oils and fats that didn’t get pushed into the drain. Here, we will talk about how to get rid of the smell, what shouldn’t go down the disposal, and how to keep your sink smelling fresh. 

What causes a stinky garbage disposal?

As mentioned above, a stinky garbage disposal is caused by food particles left behind after it has been run. These particles then begin to rot and bacteria will grow, causing the bad smell. The challenge with removing the smell is getting the particles out of the disposal. Food can get stuck under the blades, and in between all the nooks and crannies. This presents a challenge that we will talk about getting around next. 

How to clean a stinky garbage disposal?

A good way to get all the food particles out of those hard-to-reach places is using ice. Fill the disposal up with ice, cover it with a towel, and then run it. Once the ice has begun to break down, remove the towel and run the water on hot to help melt any large pieces that may have moved down the line. Now the ice has melted, it is a good time to clean the inside of the disposal. Some common ways to clean it are:

  • Soap and water
  • Baking soda and vinegar 
  • Garbage disposal pods

Once the disposal is clean, you can run it as normal and keep up with the maintenance depending on how much use it gets. 

Is there any food that shouldn’t go in the disposal?

The short answer is yes, there are many foods that should not go into the garbage disposal. The most common causes for blockages further down the line, however, are caused by these culprits:

  • Rice 
  • Pasta
  • Coffee grinds
  • Eggshells

Those 4 have been the most common cause for me coming out to snake and, or hydro scrub a kitchen line. I find it to be best practice to have a compost bin near the sink to throw any foods in and just use the disposal for the scraps.

If you have any questions about this subject or need a professional to come check your kitchen sink, call Yorkshire Plumbing and Drain Services at 707 492 9656.  




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