Taking care of your garbage disposal is important to avoid it ending up making the kitchen smell bad. By feeding through better smelling items occasionally, like fruits or even cleaning products, it all helps to keep it spreading a more pleasant aroma.
When you’ve found that your disposal is the reason for the bad odor in the kitchen spreading around, then it’s too later for that. Something must be done to clean up the disposal system and remove the unpleasant odor before adopting better practices to avoid the same problem reoccurring later on.
Root Causes Identified
The root causes of a bad smelling garbage disposal are usually old food items that have gotten stuck in between the blades, underneath the lid and elsewhere within the machinery. Once stuck, the things tend to rot, creating bacteria which is mainly where the smell comes from.
Was It One Incident That Caused All the Problem?
Look back to see if there is one particularly event that caused the smell in the first place. This is the best way to avoid a repeat of the incident causing the same problem again. Meals that have plenty of garlic, onions or herbs may overload the machinery. Feeding too much down the narrow shoot too fast sometimes causes even the best garbage disposal to clog up. Is it necessary in the future to push a reduced amount through the machine to avoid causing an odor problem later?
How to Clean a Disposal to Remove Its Smell
It is not that difficult to clean a garbage disposal. It is not necessary to dismantle its installation to do so either, so it’s never something one should fear doing.
Here are the exact steps to follow:
- Get some cold water, turn on the disposal and feed it down.
- Place two ice cubes inside the sink and feed them through the disposal as fast as possible. The debris that has stuck inside the disposal will attach to the ice cubes and pull it away from the blade assembly.
- With all the cubes chopped up into smaller parts, it is now necessary to run some cold water through the garbage disposal.
- Use lemons cut down into small chunks ready for grinding down. The peel and the juices form over the blades helping to sanitize them properly. The citrus in the lemon deals very well with bad odors.
- Try using baking soda and white vinegar as a cleaning solution. Take a single cup of baking soda and one of white vinegar that’s been distilled for purity. Pour this mixture together down the running disposal to attack the odors head on.
- For remaining smells, consider using either a biodegradable drain cleaner or worst case, bleach. Both of these types of products will be a harsher cleaning product than the earlier ones, which is why it is mentioned last. Bleach does have the potential to cause internal damage, so it should only be used as a last resort if nothing else works and you’re unwilling to take the garbage disposal apart to clean it piece by piece.
- Don’t forget to clean the lid itself. This is often overlooked, but it’s perfectly possible for remnants to stick to the underside of the lid and go unseen for days while they rot out. Use water and soap to clean the lid after any food items previously stuck to it have been completely removed.
- Either a wire brush or one typically used with dishes (and then thrown away after use) can be used inside the disposal. BE SURE to not only turn off the disposal but unplug it from the power outlet and let any residual electrical charge dissipate before attempting to work on the inside. Do not risk the blades activating accidentally with your hands (or hand tools) inside the machinery. Be extremely careful before attempting to clean inside the internal mechanism.
Once the cleaning process has been completed, it’s important to change how the disposal is being used. Feeding fruits and other items with pleasant odors through the unit may seem odd, but they actually help to cleanse it and avoid unpleasant odors building up. It’s also a good idea to follow the steps outlined above as part of a regular maintenance program before an odor is noticeable to avoid it occurring at all.