May 10, 2024

Why Does My Garbage Disposal Smell?

Garbage disposals are a common amenity found in many kitchens. They provide easy kitchen clean-up as well as more sustainable living. However, garbage disposals can also lead to some inconvenient and unpleasant odors. To keep your disposal fresh smelling and running properly, watch our “Dos and Don’ts” video above and read our complete blog below.

Why your garbage disposal stinks 

A garbage disposal is meant to grind up leftover food scraps for easy disposal down your drain. When these scraps are not broken up fully, they can leave a bad smell lingering in your pipes that eventually makes its way up into your kitchen. Luckily, we have some simple fixes to get rid of and prevent sink odors and garbage disposal smells.

If your sink/ garbage disposal smells like rotten eggs or spoiled food: 

Grease, oils, or fats can sometimes be accidently sent down the drain and will build up inside of your disposal over time.Try using bio-enzyme drain cleaner or vinegar and hot water to clear out the smell. Hot water loosens the grease and vinegar’s acid helps cut through it. You could also try pouring a mix of dish soap and hot water down your drain for the same effect. Repeat as necessary.

Once your drain is clear, run ice cubes through the disposal or put slices of citrus in the disposal to freshen the odor. 

If the foul smell is not from your garbage disposal: 

It could be caused by a sewer gas leak. If this is the case, check the sink trap or drain vent beneath your sink and the disposal. You may have a blockage or a leak; if you own an older home, 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 to prevent garbage disposal smell

By following a few easy preventative measures, you can make sure that your garbage disposal doesn’t smell like sewage again.

  1. After using your disposal, pour a small amount of dish soap in while it’s still 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. Run the water before and after you add the food waste.
  4. Avoid clogging by putting larger waste items into the trash. 

What not to put in your garbage disposal

Garbage disposals weren’t meant to handle certain items. To avoid any unpleasant smell from your garbage disposal as well as prolong the life of your appliance, follow these suggestions: 

  • 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 your disposal. 
  • Avoid putting egg shells down the drain; the leftover membranes can become wrapped around the shredder ring and leave 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. 
A plumber installs a new garbage disposal.

Is it time for a new garbage disposal? 

If you have an older garbage disposal that stinks, leaks or makes unpleasant sounds, it may be time for a replacement. When the tips and tricks above don’t solve the problem, contact Applewood today! Our technicians are your local experts for garbage disposal repair and replacement. We can rid your sink of these funky smells and help prevent them in the future. 


Call  303-328-3060

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