How to Fix Garbage Disposal Smell

While garbage disposal smells are normal, they can make your house really uninhabitable. How to Fix Garbage Disposal SmellThe smells could range from rotten eggs, mold or mildew, ammonia, sewage and so on. Knowing how to fix garbage disposal smell can go a long way to bring normalcy in your house.

In this guide, I’ll give you some helpful tips for dealing with awful smells from the garbage disposal.

Related: Best Dishwasher Detergent for Grease

Causes of Smell in the Garbage Disposal

1. Accumulated Garbage

Sometimes garbage debris may not wash away effectively from the grinding chamber. Over time, the debris decay inside the grinding chamber and will end up emitting bad odor through the sink.

2. Garbage Disposal Malfunction

If your garbage disposal has a malfunction or aging parts, then it may not shred garbage effectively. That means, large garbage debris may be trapped in the shredding chamber. When they decay, these debris result in awful smells which can be felt through the sink.

If the garbage disposal is experiencing bad smells frequently despite taking cleaning measures, then it’s time to call your plumber. He/she can advise you whether the garbage needs repair or you need a new unit.

3. Blockage in the Drainpipes

Sometimes the bad smell could be emanating from deep down the drainpipe. One possible problem with drains is a leakage or blockage in the drain vents or the sewer lines. As a result, sewer gases reverse their direction and end up raising through the garbage disposal to the sink.

Such a problem is associated with a devastating sewer-like smell. If not addressed, it may cause major odor issues within the house. When you experience a sewer-like smell from the garbage disposal, then you need to seek professional plumbing services.

How to Get Rid of Garbage Disposal Smells

When your garbage disposal is emitting bad odor, then you can clean and treat it by yourself without requiring a professional cleaner or plumber. However, you must be cautious of the cleaning agents you use to avoid damaging the garbage disposal.

Here is a guide for cleaning your garbage disposal to alleviate bad smells.

Step #1 – Remove the Clog

Since the bad smell results from the clog in the garbage disposal, the first thing to do is to remover as much debris as possible.

With the help of a flashlight you see the amount of clog in the disposal’s shredding chamber.

  • As a precaution, ensure the garbage disposal is unplugged from the socket.
  • Use a pliers or a pair tongs to pull out large and stuck clogs.
  • Using a customized garbage disposal brush, scrub the shredding chamber thoroughly to dislodge the clogging inside there. You can use Mr. Scrappy brush since it’s customized for cleaning garbage disposals.
  • Use you have scrubbed and removed as much clog as possible, turn on the faucet so as to push the small debris further.
  • Shut off the faucet.

Step #2 – Clean with Soap and Water

A good way to clean the garbage disposal is to soak it with water and soap. By draping the shredding chamber with water and soap, you have a chance of softening the stuck clogs for easier scrubbing.

  • First, disconnect the garbage disposal drain and close it with plastic bag so that it’s watertight. This ensures that water is retained in the shredding chamber during soaking.
  • Pour about 15 ml of dish soap in the sink.
  • Turn on the faucet and allow water to fill the garbage disposal until it overflows in the sink.
  • Plug in the garbage disposal for about one minute and then plug out. As flywheel rotates, it’ll make the soapy water lather easily.
  • Allow the sink to soak for about one hour.
  • Scrub the shredding chamber with a garbage disposal brush to dislodge clogs from the socked surfaces.
  • Plug in the garbage disposal.
  • Put a bucket under the garbage disposal drain and remove the plastic bag covering the garbage disposal drain. Let the garbage disposal discharge all its contents into the bucket.
  • Once you done, reconnect the garbage disposal drain pipe.

Step #3 – Treat the Shredding Chamber with Ice Cubes

The scouring nature of ice makes it a good agent for lifting clogs in areas that you can’t reach with the scrubbing brush. Using vinegar ice cubes is more beneficial because vinegar kills bacteria thus minimizing odor formation.

Step #4 – Clean With Baking Soda and Vinegar

Cleaning the garbage disposal with a solution of baking soda and vinegar provides a good way for cleaning, deodorizing and disinfecting your garbage disposal.

  • Pour a thick paste of baking soda and vinegar in the shredding chamber.
  • Use the garbage disposal brush to spread the baking soda-vinegar paste.
  • Allow about 15 minutes and the scrub the shredding chamber. Also scrub both the top and bottom side of the rubber flab.
  • Close the drain with sink plug and fill the sink bow to about three-quarters.
  • Remove the sink plug and allow the water to flush the garbage disposal forcefully.

Step #5 Add a Fresh Scent

Make it a habit to shred lemon peels in the garbage disposal to give it a fresh scent

How to Prevent Bad Smells From the Garbage Disposal

Perhaps you should consider embarking on preventing bad smells from the garbage disposal to keep your house fresh and save you time.

Here’s is what to do.

  • Cleaning, deodorizing and disinfecting your garbage disposal after every fortnight. With this routine, cleaning your garbage disposal will definitely take less time and less laborious. You can set a reminder to avoid skipping scheduled cleaning.
  • Always run the faucet when disposing garbage through the garbage disposal.
  • Avoid disposing greasy and fibrous food waste using the garbage disposal.


Having a garbage disposal at home gives you the convenience of disposing most of the garbage from your kitchen. However, to keep your garbage disposal free from clogs and bad smells, you need to maintain a scheduled cleaning routine.

A once after two weeks is enough to keep the garbage disposal clean and therefore less likely to accumulate clog and odor. The cleaning should entail scrubbing, deodorizing and disinfecting.

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