June 10, 2016

Sink Problems: Why Does My Garbage Disposal Smell?


Garbage disposals are a common amenity found in many homes. They provide easy kitchen clean-up as well as more sustainable living. However, garbage disposals can also lead to some inconvenient and unpleasant odors. So… what is causing that awful smell, anyway? 

Why does my garbage disposal smell bad? 

A garbage disposal is meant for grinding up food scraps. When these scraps are not broken up fully, it can leave a bad smell lingering in the pipes that will eventually make its way into the air. Luckily, we have some simple fixes to get rid of and prevent sink odors. 

If your sink smells like rotten eggs or spoiled food: 

Something may have been unintentionally put into the drain such as grease, oil, or fat.Try using bio-enzyme drain cleaner or vinegar and baking soda to clear out the smell. You could also try running ice cubes through the disposal or putting slices of citrus in the disposal to freshen the odor. 

If the foul smell is not from the garbage disposal: 

It could be caused from a sewer gas leak. If this is the case, check the sink trap or drain vent. There could be a blockage or leak; you may even be lacking a drain vent all together. If the odor persists, we recommend having a professional assess the problem more thoroughly. 

How do I prevent my garbage disposal from smelling? 

  1. Pour a small amount of dish soap in the disposal while it’s running. Make sure cold water is running during this process. 
  2. Run your garbage disposal often to avoid accumulation of leftover food within the drain. 
  3. Grind your food with a strong flow of cold water to avoid grease build up.
  4. Avoid clogging by putting larger waste items into the trash. 

What shouldn’t I put down my garbage disposal? 

  • Don’t pour oil, grease, or fat into your drain as it slowly accumulates over time, causing costly repairs. 
  • Don’t grind up fibrous foods like celery, artichokes, asparagus, lettuce, corn husks, carrots, or potato peels. These types of foods can wrap around the blades and create an odor while potentially damaging the disposal. 
  • Avoid putting egg shells down the drain; the leftover membranes can become wrapped around the shredder ring, causing it to age over time and leaving a bad smell in the air. 
  • Don’t put pasta, rice, potatoes, or beans into the disposal; they can swell with water and create a paste that clogs and traps particles from other types of foods. 

What if the smell is coming from my sink? 

While garbage disposals are the typical culprit for foul smells, the bathroom sink can also produce pesky odors. Leftover biofilms cause these odors; when the biofilm coats the inside of the pipes, it harbors a feeding ground for bacteria build-up. Running hot water down the pipes can dislodge some of the slimy film, it also forces the smell up and out of the pipe. We recommend using a household product like baking soda or vinegar; these can be used to kill bacteria, resulting in a clean smelling bathroom sink. 

These odors are not dangerous. However, smelling them is not pleasant. If the tips and tricks above don’t solve the problem, contact Applewood today! We can rid your sink of these funky smells and help prevent them in the future. 

Call  303-328-3060