7 Tips for Getting Rid of Garbage Disposal Odor

dirty sink

A garbage disposal is useful for eliminating waste in the kitchen and keeping your sink clean and tidy. Unfortunately, the bowels of the disposal often build up a hearty collection of spoiled food and bacteria over time, which can culminate in a very unpleasant odor. There’s no need to panic if things start to stink though. In many cases, the smell is a part of normal wear and tear, as food can easily get trapped in the blades or under the lid and rot if not properly ground.

Garbage disposal stench can come about from a specific incident, like a meal that uses strongly scented items like onions and garlic, or sometimes the disposal can start to smell without warning. In either instance, it’s important to know how to kill the odor quickly before it spreads to the entire kitchen and you find yourself deodorizing the whole room.

Here are seven simple tips on how to get rid of garbage disposal odors, which should help to keep your kitchen and home smelling fresh. Be sure to check with your builder or the manufacturer of the garbage disposal unit before trying any of these tips to ensure the appliance’s compatibility.

TIP: To minimize smells, always run cold water when grinding items in the garbage disposal.

1. Lemons

When life gives you lemons, cut them into small sections and then toss them down the disposal when it’s grinding. You can also do the same thing with a fresh lime or a sliced orange; the citrus scent gets rid of most strong stenches. This is one of the least expensive ways to neutralize rancid smells.

2. Ice Cubes

Ice cubes can also be used to remove any strong odors that are coming from the garbage disposal. Unlike citrus, ice won’t leave a separate pleasant smell behind, but as an added bonus, the ice can actually sharpen the grinding blades.

3. Baking Soda and Vinegar

Turn on the garbage disposal and pour 1 cup of dry baking soda down, along with a cup of distilled white vinegar, to help remove strong odors. In a pinch, vinegar can be used on its own along with cool water.

4. Bleach

A mild bleach, roman cleanser, or slightly fragrant bleach poured down the garage disposal along with running cold water won’t just help kill the smells from your pipes, but it will also help dislodge any trapped particles of food.

5. Clean the Lid

While it may seem obvious, you should also clean the top of the garbage disposal lid with soap, water and a brush to remove food particles. Not every smell originates inside the disposal itself.

6. Brush Clean

pipes under sink

Use a dish brush or wire brush to clean inside the garage disposal unit.

WARNING: You must unplug and disconnect the unit before attempting to put your hand or a tool down the garbage disposal. Take both precautions. Don’t just unplug it; disconnect the whole unit. Saving your arm is worth the extra effort.

7. Store Bought Products

Many companies make specific products to clean the drain that are sold in home improvement stores. Check with your owner’s manual before adding anything that might potential damage the garbage disposal.