A smelly garbage disposal can make any kitchen chore an unpleasant one. Simple drain cleaning will not help remove these stubborn odors, but there are a few solutions to make your disposal smell fresh and clean.
Cause: The inside of your disposal has a layer of sludge. Any leftover food that accumulates in the drain will decompose and give off a foul smell.
Solution: Turn the garbage disposal off and put one to two ice cubes in it. Make sure to remove your hand and turn the disposal on until the ice cubes are completely crushed.
Cause: Food is caught under the rubber flap or inside the rubber lip of the garbage disposal.
Solution: Turn off the garbage disposal at the circuit breaker. Remove the rubber cover and clean under it with soapy water and a scrub brush. If the cover cannot be removed, lift the flaps around the sink drain and clean under it with soapy water and an old toothbrush. Restore power to the disposal and run it normally.
Cause: Food has stuck to the sides of the disposal and hardened causing a foul, difficult to remove odor.
Solution: Visit a plumbing supply store and purchase a rubber test cap with a stainless steel tightening band. The cap is normally used by plumbers to close off the ends of a pipe for water or air pressure tests. Find a cap made for a 1 ¼” PVC pipe, as it should be a perfect fit for the 1 ½” drain pipe that leads from the sink to the disposal.
Make sure garbage disposal is off. Disconnect the pipe that leaves the disposal, attach the rubber test cap to the pipe and tighten the clamp. Place an empty five gallon bucket under the sink in case any water leaks from the pipe.
Fill the sink with warm water, the test clamp will act like a clog and stop the water from draining. Add about ½ a cup of oxygen bleach to the water in the sink and let it sit for up to an hour. The bleach will create oxygen ions that soften the sludge on the sides of your disposal. It will remove the sludge without harming your disposal, plumbing system or septic tank. At the end of an hour, remove the cap and allow the water to drain into the bucket. Reconnect your disposal and run as normal.
Often, disposals smell because they are not being used properly. In the next post, learn how to use a disposal correctly and a few tips to keep foul odors away.
image by paula walla