How to Get Rid of Garbage Disposal Odors: 5 Easy Ways 

 November 23, 2020

By  Xion Lab

Garbage Disposal

Invented by John W. Hammes in 1927, garbage disposal units have been commercially available in the US sanitation/hardware market since the 1940s. Garbage disposal units are electrically powered devices installed under kitchen sinks, which shred food waste into small pieces expelled out through the drainage system.

Since their commercial availability, garbage disposals have installed in more than 50% of residential and non-residential kitchens around the US. Today, no homeowner can imagine not having a garbage disposal in their homes.

Garbage disposal units are the epitome of modern convenience in kitchen sanitary-ware. The mechanism they use to work reduces the amount of garbage that fills up in landfills. They also do cooking and working around the kitchen more comfortable, as you don’t need to worry about what you throw down the garbage chute.

But if they are not cleaned and maintained correctly, they can cause unpleasant odours. Overuse can lead to food particles getting stuck on the blades and building up over time. The spoilt, rotten food gives bacteria the perfect environment to grow and produces acrid odours.

But there is no need to worry as the can deal the stinky odour with in numerous ways. Several remedies can help you eliminate garbage disposal odours permeating your home due to a smelly garbage disposal unit.

Why Does My Garbage Disposal Smell?

But before we move on to learn how to get rid of garbage disposal odours, you need to know what causes your garbage disposal to give off the stinky smell in the first place.

Garbage disposal units designed to process and get rid of the food waste that goes down it. The unit’s blades grind the waste into tiny pieces that can go down drainpipes without any blockages.

But when there is consistent running of food and water down the garbage disposal, and no regular cleaning, troubles arise. What happens is that particles of food get caught on the blades and around them. Sometimes the particles can get stuck in shallow parts of the garbage disposal, between the blades, under the lid and near the rims. The food particles, over time, start to rot and give a home to bacteria to flourish. These bacteria are usually the culprits that produce these gases which emit putrid odours.

Now that we are clear on why your garbage disposal gets stinky let’s move on to learn how to get rid of garbage disposal odours. These easy solutions for your garbage disposal issues will leave your kitchen free of the stink, smelling fresh and clean. But before you use any of the methods, make sure that your garbage disposal is compatible with them.

1.    Hot Water and Dish Soap

You might be thinking, water and soap? Is water enough to get rid of garbage disposal odours?

But when you wonder how to eliminate garbage disposal odours, this is the most straightforward home remedy. One of the significant causes of stinky garbage disposal is a clog somewhere in the system, which has rotten and collected bacteria and is now emitting stink.

Hot water and soap are quick to dislodge the blockage and open the tubes for easy flow. There are two ways you can use the technique when wondering about how to get rid of garbage disposal odours.

One way you can do this is by blocking your sink’s drain with a stopper, fill it with hot water, and add in a few squirts of dish soap and mix. Then lift the pin from the drain and let the water go through.

The second way is to fill a jug with boiling water, add dish soap to it, and slowly run it down the drain.


Are you wondering how does this work? The water heater then passes through the clog, melts the food particles stuck inside, and dislodges them. The dish soap is an additional aid, as it also helps remove grease more easily and disintegrates the clog.

Besides using this when an emergency strikes, this remedy is an excellent way to maintain your garbage disposal. It is an easy preventive measure to make sure you don’t have to face clogged garbage disposal in the future. Just run a stream of hot water down your drain once every day to melt and push down any clogs.

2.    Ice Cubes and Rock Salt

A bit surprising, but when we search for how to get rid of garbage disposal odour, you will often come across this method. This remedy is an excellent predecessor to the hot water remedy mentioned above.

Although the ice doesn’t leave behind a pleasant smell, it can certainly remove the stink source’s gunk. Using it in combination with different things can help remove the odour along with the clog.

The first way you can use ice is by adding a few handfuls, around 2 cups, of ice cubes down the drainpipe of the garbage disposal with one handful or 1 cup of kosher rock salt. Turn the disposal switch on and let it churn the ice cubes and salt for about 10-15 seconds. The disposal unit’s blades will shred the ice into tiny shards, which remove any food stuck in the pipe. The salt already in bits does the same thing.

If you don’t have rock salt, substitute it with synthetic cleaning vinegar or merely white vinegar. Like the previous one, add 2 cups of ice cubes and 1 cup of vinegar down the drain and turn it on for 10-15 seconds. The vinegar will add acidity to the mixture, removing gunk from the blades and pipes.

In both ways, remember to run hot water down the drain after you churn the ice.

Before we move on to the next one, knowing how to get rid of garbage disposal odours this way gives an added benefit to your garbage disposal. Tossing ice down the garbage disposal will strengthen the sharp edges of the blades and increase their efficiency.

3.    Vinegar and Baking Soda

This remedy is the oldest trick in the books under ‘how to get rid of garbage disposal odours.’ From plumbing experts to old wives’ tales and modern household maintenance manuals, all recommend this remedy for any drain cleaning needs.

All you need to implement this remedy is a half cup of vinegar and half cup baking soda. Just pour the baking soda down the garbage disposal first, pour in the vinegar second, and let it sit and fizzle for about 10-15 seconds. Then turn the garbage disposal on and run hot water down the drain for 30 more seconds.

The acidity in the vinegar is a natural deodorizer and can also kill bacteria. The acid melts and removes the gunk from the garbage disposal and flushes it down, taking any grease along with it.

But one important note to keep in mind is that this remedy is not for regular use. However, the vinegar’s acidity can still damage the rubber parts of the garbage disposal with frequent use less harsh than other chemicals.

4.    Lemon Rinds

Lemon rinds are an easy answer when someone asks how to get rid of garbage disposal odours. And besides, who doesn’t love a lemony scent? It is the perfect way to combat the stink coming off from your garbage disposal. With only a few lemons, will replace the nasty odour permeating your kitchen with a refreshing, citrusy scent. All you need for this remedy are a few lemons.

Cut the lemon rinds into half-inch slices and throw them down your drain. Turn on the hot water at the medium flow and switch the garbage disposal. Keep it on until the rinds are shredded, and the noise stops, i.e. approximately 10-15 seconds.

The citric acid’s mild acidity in rinds loosens some of the grease and coats the pipes with a lemony scent. If you don’t like the smell of lemons, then use any other citrus fruit you enjoy the smell.

But one thing to keep in mind is that the citric acid is not strong enough to remove the sludge and buildup from the blades and pipes. Use another remedy before you implement this one.

5.    Clean the Removable Paraphernalia

Garbage disposal has blades that rip and shred the food waste, which passes down the drain. Sometimes the shreds get stuck under the lid, removable baffle and the rims where the garbage disposal unit is attached to the drain pipe.

But before we move ahead and learn how to get rid of garbage disposal odours more thoroughly with this method, bear one caution in mind, and remember to turn the power to your garbage disposal off before you remove anything! The blades are sharp enough to cut your fingers like they missed the food waste!

Food buildup in these areas can be missed easily and can produce a foul odour. Remove the baffle and lid, and clean the parts with dish soap using a toothbrush. Run it under hot water to remove any other gunk. You can also first soak the parts in hot water to loosen any hardened food particles.

To clean the insides of the drainpipe more thoroughly, use a long bottle cleaner. Cover the cleaner with dish soap and snake it down the drain and rub it to remove any gunk and run hot water. You use the bottle cleaner or wire brush specially made to clean the drain and utilize it to clean any food particles attached to the drainpipes.

If the Problem Still Persists

Even though you know how to get rid of garbage disposal odours and have tried it all, sometimes the stench remains. If the smell doesn’t go away after you have used all the previous remedies, then it means that your garbage disposal might require a deeper cleaning.

There are products available in the markets that mostly made to clean and deodorize garbage disposals and drainage systems. You can find different brands selling various formulas that can remove the caked buildup, kill bacteria and remove the stench.

If you decide to purchase any of these drain cleaning solutions, make sure they are compatible with your garbage disposal. Also, use them cautiously and occasionally; they are concentrated and can cause damage if used extensively.

Although you are now aware of how to get rid of garbage disposal odours, it is essential that you also know that prevention is better than cure. We understand that the statement is cliché, but it is a fact and saves from possible trouble in future.

Without the regular upkeep and maintenance, your garbage disposal bound to get clogged and stinky. The food particles don’t expel from the drain, start to collect and build up in the drainpipes and around the blades. It allows bacteria to grow and produce acrid odours that waft through your house. And before you know it, you are trying to find tips on how to get rid of garbage disposal odours.

Here are some preventative measures for the future you can take after you get rid of garbage disposal odours:

  • Do not use your garbage disposal as a trash chute. Don’t flush down garbage, which the disposal unit not designed to process.
  • Avoid turning the garbage disposal on when there are metal spoons and utensils in the sink. They can destroy the blades.
  • Avoid throwing greasy and oily waste in the garbage disposal. It will dry and cake on the blades and pipes, clogging them and creating foul odours.
  • Do not process fibrous and starchy foods like celery. The fibres from the vegetables wrap around the blades and restrict their movement.
  • If you dispose of greasy food down the garbage disposal, use cold water to flush it down. Coldwater will solidify the grease and make it easier to chop and drain out.
  • Do not turn the garbage disposal off right after the noise stops. The noise usually stops when the bigger food particles did processing. Run the disposal for another 10 seconds to ensure everything has disclosed.
  • Keep up with a routine flushing system. As suggested in the first remedy, run hot water down the drain once every day to flush out any buildup.

Keeping your garbage disposal clean is essential to maintain the fresh and clean environment of your kitchen. Hence it makes a thorough understanding of eliminating garbage disposal odour a necessary part of your homecare knowledge.

As smell has a significant effect on the mood, you must know how to eliminate garbage disposal odour before it becomes the cause of your spoilt mood and frustration.

The article has provided you with a compact yet comprehensive education on how to get rid of garbage disposal odour. But please take the preventive measures and save yourself the troublesome task of deep cleaning your garbage disposal. With the help of the remedies mentioned above, regular maintenance will ensure that your garbage disposal remains odourless and germ-free.


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