Get rid of the terrible garbage disposal smell using 3 ingredients and 5 simple steps so your kitchen will smell like new again!
Garbage disposals make life so much easier! I love how I don't have to worry about small bits of food when I am washing dishes.
I just run the garbage disposal when I am done washing. Unfortunately, the downside to a garbage disposal is it can often get smelly.
Little bits of food left in the garbage disposal quickly leads to a very funky smell in the kitchen. However, in just a few minutes you can get rid of the nasty smells from the garbage disposal and have it smelling fresh again.
Check out my favorite tips on how to clean a smelly garbage disposal.
Why Does My Garbage Disposal Stink?
Before we start cleaning, let's find out why it starts to smell in the first place! Understanding will help with maintenance in the future and hopefully prevent this from happening again.
- Food residue: When small food particles are not properly flushed away, they can accumulate and decompose in the garbage disposal.
- Lack of cleaning: Over time, a buildup of food and grease can occur on the walls and blades of the disposal.
- Stagnant water: Sometimes, water can become trapped in the disposal or the drain pipe. Stagnant water can develop an unpleasant smell.
- Inadequate grinding: If the garbage disposal doesn't properly grind the food waste, larger chunks can become trapped in the disposal or the drain pipe.
- Old or worn-out disposal: If you've tried cleaning and maintaining your garbage disposal but the smell persists, it could be a sign that the disposal unit itself is old or worn out. In such cases, it might be necessary to replace the disposal unit.
What You'll Need
- 1/2 cup baking soda - the ingredient that actually gets rid of the smell.
- 1/2 cup vinegar - works to kill off germs and bacteria in the disposable that could be causing the bad odor.
- 1 tablespoon of Dawn soap (or any kind of dish soap) - helps to get rid of the grease that could be trapped.
- an old toothbrush (I just use the freebie toothbrushes that we get from the dentist)
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How to Get Rid of Garbage Disposal Smell Step-By-Step
You will hear some fizzing when you do this, that is fine. Let the mixture sit in your drain for 10-15 minutes.
STEP 2: Add enough dish soap to the toothbrush so that it gets nice and soapy.
STEP 3: Use the toothbrush scrub around the opening, in the crevices of the flaps, and the side walls inside of the disposal.
STEP 4: Run hot water down the drain for 1-2 minutes once you have cleaned it really well. This is to wash the leftover food particle down and any debris that the Dawn may have loosened.
STEP 5: Go back over the flaps one more time with the soapy toothbrush, and rinse.
STEP 6: If the toothbrush is still getting dark stuff off, repeat the process one more time.
Tips to Keep Your Disposal Smelling Fresh
To prevent your garbage disposal from developing unpleasant odors, here are some tips to follow:
- Run water before and after use: Before using the garbage disposal, run cold water for a few seconds. This helps flush down any loose debris. After using the disposal, continue to run water for at least 15 seconds to ensure that any remaining food particles are flushed away.
- Use citrus peels or ice cubes: Periodically, you can grind citrus peels (such as lemon or orange) in the disposal. The natural oils and citrus scent can help freshen up the disposal. Alternatively, you can also use ice cubes to clean the disposal. The grinding action of the ice can help remove buildup from the walls and blades. (or you can use lemon essential oil)
- Regular cleaning: Clean the garbage disposal regularly to prevent odors.
- Avoid putting certain items down the disposal: Not all food waste is suitable for the garbage disposal. Avoid putting large or hard food items, fibrous vegetables (like celery or corn husks), coffee grounds, grease, or fats down the disposal. These can damage the blades or cause clogs, leading to terrible odors.
- Dry the guard: Wipe down the rubber splash guard and any visible moisture to avoid bacterial growth.
By following these tips and maintaining regular cleaning habits, you can help keep your garbage disposal fresh and odor-free.
It is recommended to deodorize your garbage disposal at least once a month to maintain freshness. If you find that it stinks on a more regular basis, I would suggest weekly.
No, it is not recommended to clean the garbage disposal with bleach. While bleach is a strong disinfectant, it can be corrosive and harmful to the components of your garbage disposal. The rubber gaskets and seals in the disposal can be damaged by bleach, potentially leading to leaks or other malfunctions.
Running a garbage disposal without water can potentially harm the unit. Water is essential for lubricating the moving parts of the disposal and helps flush away the waste as it is being ground up. Without water, the disposal can become overheated, leading to damage or motor burnout.
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