5 Ways to Fix a Smelly Garbage Disposal

For the most part, a kitchen garbage disposal comes in very handy. Even now and then, however, the appliance can develop a smell that makes it more of a hassle than anything.

The good news is you don’t have to put up with this stench situation. Here are five ways you can get rid of the smell coming from a garbage disposal.


Unclog and clean

Most garbage disposal smells come from food residue that gets stuck to the internal parts, allowing bacteria to grow. To really get rid of the smell, you also need to get rid of the gunk that’s causing it.

The first thing you should do is unplug the garbage disposal (or turn off its circuit). Using a flashlight and metal tongs, search for and remove any blockage around the blades. Then take a soapy brush and thoroughly scrub all accessible parts of the garbage disposal, including the rim of the drain, the rubber flange, and down the drain pipe. When you’re done, flush with cold water and run the garbage disposal.

Hot water and dish soap

Sometimes a simple solution is enough to do the trick. Put the stopper in the drain, then fill the sink about halfway with hot water and a few squirts of dish soaps. After mixing the two together, take out the stopper and run the garbage disposal. The soapy mixture will get sucked down the drain quicker and hopefully wash away any food residue that is stuck down there.

Ice cubes

While the garbage disposal is running, throw a few handfuls of ice cubes down the drain. As the blades chop up the ice, the small pieces will hopefully loosen up any food residue or gunk. As an added bonus, the ice will also help sharpen the blades at the same time.

Vinegar and bake soda

This one will make you feel like you’re back in science class but it can be really effective. First, pour a cup of baking soda down the drain. Next, add a cup of distilled white vinegar. Let the fizzy concoction do its job for a few minutes, then run cold water and run the garbage disposal.


Who doesn’t like a nice, citrusy smell? For a natural deodorizer, cut a lemon into small pieces, drop them into the garbage disposal, run cold water, and the turn on the blades. You can also use a lime or orange if you prefer those scents better. The downside of this approach is that while it will mask the smell, the fruit won’t remove any other food residue so the odor may return.   

If you try all five of these methods and you don’t have any success, it’s possible the smell isn’t coming from the garbage disposal itself but another source like the sewer line.

When your garbage disposal becomes more of a nuisance than convenience, bring in the professionals at Reichelt Plumbing. Our experienced plumbers will find the source of the problem and fix it so you can get back to enjoying your kitchen. Call us today at (219) 322-4906.


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