A garbage disposal lets you disintegrate food scraps and flush dishwashing waste down the drain, making day-to-day cleaning extremely convenient. But there’s one downside: the occasional stench from lingering crumbs. Can you eliminate this scent on your own? Or do you need professional help?
If you’d rather try some DIY solutions first, read on for a few common tactics for fighting unwanted scents.
What Makes a Garbage Disposal Smell?
As previously hinted, nearly all nasty garbage disposal smells are due to leftover food particles. Although your disposal should eliminate most food scraps, stickier clumps may cling to its blades or gather in your drainpipe. Over time, this waste can build up and rot, resulting in an offensive odor throughout your kitchen.
How Can I Get Rid of the Garbage Disposal Smell?
There are several home remedies that can eliminate (or at least minimize) your sink’s stench:
Flush the Drain With Clean, Hot Water
Before you try anything else, simply run a heavy stream of hot water down the disposal. This can help loosen and wash down pesky food particles. Furthermore, this is a good practice for every time you run the disposal, as a hot water flush can prevent future dirt buildup.
Fill the Sink With Hot, Soapy Water
If hot water alone isn’t enough, try putting a stopper in your drain, filling the sink and mixing in dish soap. Finally, unplug the stopper, which will send a flood of soapy water swirling down the drain. Unlike merely running the tap, this method will completely fill the disposal with water, ensuring soap reaches every inch of the area. If you notice the water struggling to flow down, you may need to schedule a professional drain cleaning to address stench-inducing clogs.
Use a Baking Soda Concoction
Baking soda is known for its miraculous cleaning and scent-masking properties, making it the perfect disposal cleanser. Try mixing half a cup of baking soda with a cup of white vinegar. Pour this concoction down the drain and leave it for at least an hour before running the water. Once you do so, the scent will hopefully disappear.
Try Scouring Powder
Scouring powder, a mix of abrasive materials and dry detergent, can also eliminate unpleasant smells. The abrasive materials will help scrape away leftover food, while the detergent fights odors. You can find scouring powder at most convenience stores. Typically, you should pour about half a cup of the powder down your drain and rinse after 15 minutes.
Salt and Ice:
If you’d prefer not to buy scouring powder, salt and ice is a DIY scrubbing alternative. Simply drop a handful of ice cubes down the drain, sprinkle in a few teaspoons of salt, then run the disposal. The blades will break up the ice, and both the salt and ice shards will help knock chunks of smelly food down the drain.
When do I Need Garbage Disposal Repairs?
If none of these at-home remedies work — or if horrible smells keep returning — you probably need professional assistance. Over time, hardened gunk can cling to your disposal too intensely to remove with household ingredients.
Oils, fats, meats and stringy produce are especially difficult to remove from disposal blades. If you cook with these materials often (and nearly everyone does), you may need a stronger chemical cleaning solution, which is best to leave to trained technicians.
You may also be dealing with garbage disposal damage. Slow, rusty or bent blades are ineffective at shredding scraps, meaning there’s more waste left around to decay in your drain.
Mr. Plumber offers fast and effective garbage disposal repair services, leaving your kitchen clean and scent-free. Contact us today!