A garbage disposal is a handy appliance that helps make kitchen clean-up quick and efficient. The impellers break down food morsels and scraps so they are easily washed down the drain. But when your garbage disposal starts to smell bad, it’s time to find a quick solution before things get out of hand. Let’s review some reasons why your garbage disposal may be smelling bad and what to do about it.
The Reason Your Garbage Disposal Smells
Food Particle Buildup
Garbage disposals are self-cleaning and drain most of the food particles. But because of the disposal’s complex design, food particles can build up under the impellers. Usually, the particles drain after a few days, but sometimes there are stubborn ones that won’t budge. Food particle buildup could be due to blunt blades or depositing food not meant for the disposal. Over time, the chunks decay and produce a foul smell.
Leaky and Blocked Pipes
Sewer gases form in pipes that drain the garbage disposal. Leaky pipes or blocked drain vents will push odors back up the disposal into the kitchen. The problem starts as drips before becoming more significant leaks that are expensive to fix.
Grime and Mold Buildup
Warm moist conditions are conducive for mold and bacteria to thrive. The bacteria feed on the decomposing waste which produces the foul smell. The mold buildup clogs the drains and vents, contributing to a smelly kitchen. Check the underside of the rubber flange for mold or bacteria.
How to Get Rid of the Bad Odor
Now that you know the potential culprits of the stinky garbage disposal, you should eliminate them. If the smell fills your kitchen, you can try to remedy a smelly disposal by running the disposal with warm, soapy water. You can also call for a professional cleaning from the team at MasterTech Plumbing, Heating and Cooling.
Some methods you can use to prevent and remedy a smelly disposal include:
Use Natural Remedies
Your kitchen may have the solution to the odoriferous problem. Running hot water before and after using the garbage disposal washes the remaining particles and bacteria in the blades. (Tip: Use cold to tepid water when running the disposal to help cool the internal components.) However, you may want to try more aggressive methods for old disposals.
Mix equal parts baking soda with white vinegar and pour it down the garbage disposal. Let it sit inside for 10 minutes and wash with cold water. Alternatively, you can use a mixture of two ice cubes and one cube of rock salt. The mixture efficiently cleans the impellers. You may also want to insert rinds of citrus fruits such as lemons and limes for a fresh smell and then run the disposal.
Buy Cleaning Pods
Garbage disposal cleaning pods cost less than $5 for 5-10 pods. Drop a pod in your disposal, run the water and then turn on the garbage disposal. Garbage disposal cleaning pods won’t unclog your disposal, but can help get rid of the odors, and prevents food backup.
Avoid Non-Disposal Friendly Foods
As a general rule of thumb, avoid draining starchy foods, meats, tough foods, oily foods, egg shells, stringy vegetables, coffee grounds, and corn husks. A disposal is not a catch-all appliance. Depositing the restricted foods in the disposal will cause them to stick on the blades resulting in that week-old veggie and rotten egg smell. Instead of the garbage disposal, deposit the remains in the garden. Egg shells, for example, balance the soils acidity, which means you’ll grow better gardens– win-win.
Use Soapy Water Solution
We recommend detergent, not bleach. We discourage using bleach since the mineral deposits can stick to the impellers. Also, bleach amalgamates with grease, clogging your system. Instead of making the problem worse with bleach, use detergent and give your disposal a good ‘ol soak.
Use grease-cutting detergent for best results. Run hot water in the disposal with the soapy solution. While at it, scrub the splash guard and every surface your brush can reach. Do not attempt to use your fingers despite disconnecting your garbage disposal.
Fix the Drainage
Leaky pipes cause odor leakage and food backup. Also, blockages in the vents and drains contribute to the foul smell—clear debris around vents exposing your disposal to the outdoors. When handling leaky pipes, it is best to let the professionals handle them. Usually, leaky drainage goes hand in hand with frayed wires or damaged electrical components, which only a professional should try to fix.
Take Action to Keep Your Garbage Disposal Clean
A smelly garbage disposal prevents you from enjoying the aromas of your home-cooked meals. You can take steps to get rid of the foul odors. We strongly advocate for safety. Do not attempt to clean the garbage disposal blades or handle electrical components without professional help.
MasterTech Plumbing, Heating and Cooling expert technicians are ready to help install, clean, and ensure your garbage disposal is in proper working condition. If you live in Columbia, contact us at MasterTech Plumbing, Heating and Cooling today to handle the funky smells emanating from your garbage disposal.