Garbage disposals help keep modern kitchens clean and hygienic. Mounted to the underside of kitchen sinks, these devices pulverize solid waste into pieces small enough to safely pass through plumbing. Given the variety of solid waste that may enter these devices, garbage disposals are susceptible to unpleasant odors. Fortunately, there are simple tips to ensure that you do not have to endure a smelly home. A look at the best ways to get rid of garbage disposal odors can help you combat bad scents and keep your appliance functional and fresh.

What Causes Garbage Disposal Odors?

Garbage disposals process food scraps so that your plumbing system can easily discard them outside of the home. Over time, however, excess waste can become lodged in the disposal and begin to emit a rotting stench. Leftover food particles are among the most common reasons that your garbage disposal may stink. This can happen with any type of food, but putting the wrong items in your disposal can accelerate the rotting process. Examples of foods that should never go into the disposal include animal fats or grease, cooking oil, raw meat, bones, eggshells, oyster shells, or coffee grounds. You should also avoid items like peanut butter, large fruit pits, or fibrous vegetable peels like potato peels or corn husks that can jam the blades and end up impossible to remove without professional help.

In addition to food particles, contaminant growth and infrequent usage can also cause bad smells. Contaminants in your garbage disposal can include bacteria, mold, and mildew. Without proper removal, these contaminants can thrive in the dark and moist environment of any under-the-sink appliance. In fact, a common place for mold or bacteria growth is the underside of the rubber section of the garbage disposal. Infrequent usage can also lead to unusual smells. If there is stagnant water in the connected line due to partial clogging, for example, the garbage disposal can release a musty odor when you eventually put it to use.

What Are Preventative Measures for Garbage Disposal Odors?

Several routine practices may help prevent lingering odors from seeping from your garbage disposal. Experts recommend running faucet water both during and after garbage disposal usage to help rinse away any food scraps that might be stuck to the impeller blades or drain. It is also helpful to follow standard manufacturer directions for upkeep of these appliances. This usually includes the use of baking soda, vinegar, or citrus as temporary deodorizers. An alkaline alternative to vinegar or citrus is to use a small amount of mild bleach under running water. Persistent odors, however, may require inspection and intervention from a professional.

Experts also warn against using commercial drain cleaners or scouring powders. While these store-bought products may seem like a good idea at first, they often contain harsh and abrasive chemicals that can damage your drains and pipes. Finally, some households also use a soft-bristle bottle brush on the rubber collar of the garbage disposal unit. However, severe mold or mildew growth may require replacement of this rubber collar. You should also never attempt to use handheld tools on a plugged-in or connected unit. Since the garbage disposal is an electrical appliance, this is a safety hazard that can lead to severe injury or worse. Reach out to a plumber with questions about safely disconnecting the unit.

How Can Professionals Help With Garbage Disposal Odors?

While routine upkeep may help with minor issues, major garbage disposal problems or odors require professional assistance. For one, you should always ask your local plumber to include garbage disposal maintenance during your annual plumbing inspections. During annual maintenance, a plumber can correct unseen issues before they worsen into unit malfunction. Next, you should always call a plumber if the bad odor also includes other signs that indicate you need garbage disposal repair. For example, unusual sounds like humming, banging, or rattling can indicate mechanical issues. If your unit smells bad and also fails to grind properly, this could signify mechanical failure. Garbage disposals that clog frequently may also need professional attention. Finally, water that leaks from beneath the unit usually indicates the need for immediate attention since the proximity to the electrical outlet is a safety hazard. If the problem is severe enough, the plumber may offer garbage disposal replacement for your kitchen.

Contact Us Today

Garbage disposal odors can disrupt the pleasant atmosphere of your kitchen. Fortunately, the experts can help. TYCO Plumbing provides garbage disposal services for homes in Brighton, CO and surrounding areas. Our team of trained professionals is committed to helping your garbage disposal function correctly and remain odor-free. Whether your garbage disposal unit needs maintenance or advanced repairs, our plumbers are here to help. We also offer garbage disposal maintenance or upgrades when necessary. In addition to garbage disposals, we can help with all related kitchen plumbing such as drains, water lines, sinks, faucets, or pipes. Reach out if you have issues with leaks or questions about upgrading your kitchen with water softeners or filters. No matter the issue, we can help. Contact TYCO Plumbing today for all plumbing needs.

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