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Garbage Disposal Smell? Here’s What to Do

Your garbage disposal works hard getting rid of all kinds of organic material. Sometimes, though, some of that material remains and eventually, a nasty smell starts emanating from the garbage disposal. If you’re dealing with this situation, there are a number of strategies you can use to clean your garbage disposal and eliminate the odor.

Hot Water and Dishwashing Liquid

This method is the most basic, and if used regularly, it can prevent any nasty smells developing in your garbage disposal. Simply put a plug in the drain and fill the sink half full with hot water, then add a couple of squirts of dishwashing liquid. Swish it around, and pull the plug. Turn the disposal on as well so it sucks the soapy water into the mechanism quickly. The dishwashing liquid will disintegrate any built-up grease and the speed with which it goes through the gears will dislodge food particles.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

You may have heard that baking soda and vinegar, separately and in combination, can clean almost anything. That’s true for your garbage disposal too. Pour ½ cup of baking soda down your disposal, followed by ½ cup of white vinegar. It will bubble and fizz. That’s good; it means it’s working to break down the organic debris. Vinegar is a natural deodorizer and also kills bacteria. Let it do its work for about 10 to 15 minutes, then turn on the garbage disposal and run hot water down it. You should be aware, though, that because vinegar is acidic, if you use this method too often, it can damage the rubber parts of your disposal.

Ice Cubes And Kosher Salt

Throw a couple of handfuls of ice cubes down down your garbage disposal as it is running, and follow it up with a handful of kosher salt (or any kind of large flaked salt). Shards from the ice cubes being ground up can dislodge any stuck-on foods, and the salt will scrub the sides of the disposal’s upper tank.

Ice Cubes And Lemon/Lime Wedges

This is a variation of the ice cubes and kosher salt method. Put the ice cubes down the disposal first, and then throw in a cut up lemon or lime. The ice cubes do the dislodging work, and the lemon or lime wedges serve several purposes. They deodorize the disposal and give your whole kitchen a fresh smell. Also the citrus oil will coat the inside plate and rubber elements of your disposal helping to prevent future odor issues.

Preventative Maintenance

You can prevent organic material building up on your garbage disposal blades and the tank becoming dirty by using your garbage disposal properly. A lot of people turn it off as soon as the sound of the grinding stops. There could still be a great deal of smaller particles in the works and if the grinding stops, they stay there and harden onto the garbage disposal surfaces. If that happens every time you use your disposal, a nasty smell is almost inevitable. Instead, run your disposal about 10 – 15 seconds after the initial sound of grinding ends, and once you turn it off, continue running the water for another minute. That way, any particles are completely ground up, and your water heater is flushed too.

If none of these tips on how to clean your garbage disposal eliminate the odor, then you should call the professionals at Dave’s Appliance. It may be necessary to disassemble and clean each part, or it could indicate some other problem.

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