Having a garbage disposal makes it easy to dispose of food waste so you don't have to throw it into the trash where it can begin to smell bad. But garbage disposals can also smell bad.
When you turn on the garbage disposal, make it a habit to let cool water run 15-20 seconds after you turn the disposal off. This will help push all of the waste through the pipes. But even if you do this faithfully, there can still be times when your garbage disposal may have an unpleasant odor.
Here are a few ways you keep it clean and smelling fresh.
You can purchase commercial products to clean your garbage disposal. There are liquids you pour and let sit overnight, foaming products that contain a degreaser, small, biodegradable sticks or tablets you drop in, and various enzyme cleaners. Product reviews and prices can vary greatly.
Products you already have at home can also be very effective in keeping your garbage disposal clean. The most popular are citrus fruits, ice cubes, and vinegar.
Cut a citrus fruit (typically a lemon or an orange) into wedges. Turn the disposal on and drop the wedges down one at a time while letting a small stream of cool water run. The rinds of the fruit clean the grinding components while the citrus provides a fresh scent.
Ice Cubes and Salt
Drop a handful of ice cubes into the garbage disposal, followed by a cup of salt. Kosher salt makes an effective abrasive to remove slimy residue. Turn on a small stream of cold water and let the disposal run until you can no longer hear the ice being crushed, then let the water run a little longer. The ice will clean sludge or particles off the disposal's blades, while the salt helps clean and reduces foul odors.
Baking Soda and Vinegar (aka, the Volcano Method)
Sprinkle 1/2 cup of baking soda down your garbage disposal. Pour a cup of vinegar into the disposal and watch the two ingredients foam and bubble. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, then run hot water for several minutes to flush everything through.
Once a month, to fill your sink halfway with soapy water. Then unplug the drain and turn on the disposal to force the soapy water through the garbage disposal housing. This will help clean the nooks and crannies and help prevent foul odors. Scrub the disposal where it meets the sink basin as particles can get trapped there.
While cleaning a disposal is easy, prevention is the best cure. Make note of the things you shouldn't run down the disposal. These include non-food items, bones, fibrous vegetables such as celery and artichokes, coffee grounds, and grease. They have the potential to clog or damage your disposal and leave debris leading to unpleasant odors.
Run the disposal 5-10 seconds longer than you think necessary, and then let the water run 10-20 seconds more. This will help assure that all particles get pushed through and won't smell bad.
Sometimes you need a professional garbage disposal or drain cleaning. Call The Pink Plumber today for a cleaning or inspection.