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What Can I Do to Eliminate Odor in My Garbage Disposal?

Dealing with a garbage disposal that emits a foul odor throughout your home can be frustrating, unpleasant, and embarrassing. After months of regular use, your garbage disposal begins to incur smelly bacteria and food particles lodged deep within those hard to reach places. To remove those embarrassing smells, here are simple, inexpensive ways to clean and maintain your garbage disposal:    

Cleaning the Blades

To clean the blades of your garbage disposal you do not have to purchase expensive cleaners but only need a few common household items. All you need are ice cubes, rock salt, vinegar, and baking soda. 

  • Ice Cubes and Rock Salt

Pour two cups of ice cubes and one cup of rock salt into your garbage disposal. Run cold water over the ice and rock salt and turn on your garbage disposal allowing it to run for 10 to 15 seconds. Combined, the ice and rock salt break up and dislodge any food particles and debris from your garbage disposal.

It is recommended that you use cold water when cleaning your garbage disposal to prevent any grease in your garbage disposal from congealing down your drain.

  • Ice Cubes and Vinegar

If you do not have rock salt, you can use vinegar as a substitute. Pour two cups of ice cubes and one cup of vinegar into your garbage disposal. Run cold water over the ice and rock salt and turn on your garbage disposal allowing it to run for 10 to 15 seconds. The ice and vinegar act similarly to the ice and rock salt by freeing any bacteria and food stuck within your garbage disposal.

Interestingly enough, the ice cubes actually help sharpen the blades within your garbage disposal while simultaneously cleaning it.   

  • Baking Soda and Vinegar

Another solution for cleaning your garbage disposal using household items involves baking soda and vinegar. Pour one cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar into your garbage disposal. This will create a chemical reaction that helps dissolve any odorous bacteria and food particles in your garbage disposal, especially in those hard to reach place. 

Additionally, the baking soda and vinegar will help clear your drain by breaking apart debris and smelly bacteria. 

Clearing the Drain

After cleaning the blades on your garbage disposal, it is recommended that clear your drain by plugging up your sink and filling it with two to four inches of water. Remove the plug and immediately turn on your garbage disposal to help rinse it clean, clearing any remaining debris from your drain.   

Freshening Up Your Garbage Disposal

After cleaning and clearing all smelly debris from your garbage disposal, freshen things up by putting a handful of citrus peels or slices in the disposal while running cold water. Using a lemon, orange, lime, etc. can instantly give your garbage disposal a fresh smell that is pleasant and inviting.  

Maintaining Your Garbage Disposal

To ensure your garbage disposal never returns the smelly state it used to be in, you should consider cleaning it on a monthly basis using the various methods and practices conveyed above. Besides cleaning your garbage disposal, here are a few tips and tricks to help maintain its overall health during everyday use:

  • Do Not Treat Your Garbage Disposal Like a Trash Can

Garbage disposals are great at getting rid of a lot of unwanted food items; however, there are some substances you should never put down your garbage disposal such as: grease, coffee grinds, oil, fats, rice, pasta, seeds, and bones. Egg shells and fibrous vegetables are fine when disposed of irregularly and in small quantities. However, they tend to get wrapped around the blades causing your garbage disposal to clog so they should be disposed of minimally.

  • Run Your Garbage Disposal Longer

Plumbers recommend that you run your garbage disposal an additional 5 – 10 seconds after you believe your garbage disposal has processed all the substances you have placed in it. Even though it sounds like your garbage disposal is finished, there is generally some debris or particles that need disposed of. Running your garbage disposal a little longer can help make sure nothing gets stuck or results in an unpleasant odor.

  • Buy Garbage Disposal Cleaner Products

Your garbage disposal can certainly benefit from an occasional cleaning using certified products designed to remove bacteria and prevent clogs. While not the most frugal solution, cleaner products from your local home improvement store will help you tackle the worst garbage disposal clogs and smells.

Cleaning your garbage disposal once a month using any of the methods presented above will keep it working with no unpleasant smells.