We’ve all experienced it — that smell emanating from the garbage disposal. Sometimes it sneaks up over a few days, and other times it hits us like a ton of bricks when we get home from a week-long vacation.
So, why does this happen? Learn about the culprits behind most trash compactor odors and how to get rid of them with this quick guide from Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Oneida.
Why Does My Garbage Disposal Smell?
Trash compactors are excellent tools for breaking up food waste so it can be disposed of through the drain. Over time, this process can cause an unpleasant smell to develop and linger in your kitchen. This odor is usually the result of decaying bits of food that have escaped the grinding process and gotten stuck in the appliance.
While these machines are very efficient at breaking down food waste, food particles are still often left behind when they get stuck to the machine's blades or inner piping. These particles caught in or around the appliance will begin to rot rapidly, creating an unpleasant smell. Some foods may be more likely to stick or develop a strong odor over time than others.
When leftover food particles accumulate, it may even cause a partial or complete clog. Clogs prevent proper draining, making the odor seem even stronger by allowing mold or mildew to grow and start creating smells of their own.
Even if you're not being forced to deal with a clog just yet, you need to know how to get rid of that waste disposal smell. When you’re dealing with a stinky sink due to your compactor, try one of these five methods for getting rid of the stench.
Ice is good for two things. First, it helps to clean that nasty smell. And second, it sharpens your garbage disposal's blades. Try this one first, as you probably have plenty of ice to use. Fill your disposal with cubes and then let it rip until all the ice — and hopefully the smell, too — is gone.
An old standby of garbage disposal cleaning is citrus fruit. Lemons are a popular choice. Simply cut a lemon, lime or orange into small pieces and pitch them into a running garbage disposal. The fruit itself helps to wash away the bad scent, and the resulting citrus juice helps to replace it with a much more pleasant smell.
- Vinegar and Baking Soda
Here’s another concoction you can try using household items. First, turn on your garbage disposal. Then pour a cup of dry baking soda down the hatch. Finally, flush the baking soda with a cup of distilled white vinegar. This should go a long way toward cleaning your disposal of any foul smells.
You can use bleach if it’s a mild product and the water is running. Trying pouring just a little bit of bleach down the disposal as cold water runs, and you’ll find it erases the scent. The bleach also goes to work on dislodging any food particles that may be stuck in your pipes.
- Specialty Products
If you don’t like any of the home remedies above, you can often find specialty garbage disposal cleaning products at the grocery store. These products are designed for garbage disposals, and they all incorporate different ingredients to attack smells and get your disposal back into fighting shape again.
Some scents are tougher than others, and sometimes you can get stumped by a particularly nasty smell. If you need professional help in cleaning out your disposal and ridding it of odors, call on the pros at Mr. Rooter Plumbing. We know garbage disposals inside and out and can quickly identify the issues you're experiencing — then deliver the solution.
How to Prevent a Smelly Garbage Disposal
While eliminating funky odors from your garbage disposal is straightforward, the best remedy is prevention. You can take a few simple measures to keep your appliance fresh and ensure it operates as it should.
Using your unit only for its intended purpose goes a long way toward preventing odor from developing. Follow the guidelines below to help maintain your garbage disposal's condition and cleanliness:
Grind only organic materials: Garbage disposals should only be used to dispose of organic food waste. Avoid grinding any manufactured materials to keep your appliance in peak condition.
Avoid grinding fibrous vegetables or starchy foods: Certain foods, such as celery, potatoes, or coffee grinds, should not go through your unit. These substances are more likely to clog your appliance.
Keep the disposal running for at least 30 seconds at a time: Let the compactor run for at least 30 seconds every time you use it to ensure you thoroughly break down the food, making it less likely that any particles will be left behind.
Grind eggshells and small fruit pits on occasion: These items pass through a trash compactor safely and can help clean any lingering debris off the blades.
Reach out to Mr. Rooter Plumbing for Garbage Disposal Maintenance
Request an estimate today for maintenance or support for your garbage disposal.