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The Home Depot

Garbage Disposal Odor Prevention Tips

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Plumbing > Garbage Disposal Odor Prevention Tips
Garbage Disposal Odor Prevention Tips

It’s great to have a home that smells clean and fresh. We go to extreme lengths to ensure that there are no odors inside our homes, unless they are pleasant. However, the garbage disposal unit can be a source of smells at times. Though the garbage disposal unit is located in the kitchen, it does not take much time for the odor to spread throughout the house.

  1. Whenever you attempt to clean your garbage disposal unit, make sure that it has been turned off, or unplugged. Too many accidents occur because people have been too careless to verify that the unit has been turned off.

    1.No Red Tape

    Most households in America have a garbage disposal unit to help eliminate the leftovers through the drain after first chopping them into miniscule pieces. Hence, the probability of the unit developing a problem which leads to odors being produced is high. A permit may be necessary before you install a garbage disposal unit in your home. But there are no specific regulations that apply to repairs of existing units.


    There are some simple solutions which can help you do away with the foul odors from your garbage disposal. Taking precautions in advance can help you prevent this problem from recurring in future.

  2. 2.Causes of Garbage Disposal Odors

    Odors from a garbage disposal unit can be due to various factors. At times, the unit becomes jammed due to food getting stuck in it. The food can decompose and result in foul odors. In this instance, removal of the jammed food can help solve the problem of such odors. Failure to clean the unit regularly and properly can also lead to bacteria formation or food rotting that causes bad smells to emanate which can be embarrassing if guests come over and can certainly undermine your quality of life.

  3. 3.Preventing Garbage Disposal Odors

    By implementing some preventive measures, you can keep your kitchen smelling clean always. After using the garbage disposal unit, keep running hot water through it for a few minutes to ensure that any oil and food residue is washed out of the sink and make sure you turn the unit on if you have to, to insure all the food scraps are sent down the piping system. Once a week, put some dishwashing liquid into the unit and then run the hot water for a while after switching off the unit.

  5. 4.Gravity and Weight

    Yet another option is to put two cups of ice cubes and a cup of rock salt into the garbage disposal and then run cold water over it for a few seconds. This will help remove any sludge that might have been embedded in the grinding parts of the unit and loosen it so it flows away with the water. Keeping the drain line clean is also essential in eliminating odors from the unit. This can be done by plugging the drain and then filling it with water. Then the drain plug should be removed and the garbage disposal turned on to enable the water to gush by clearing all the food particles.


    Once a month, you can put vinegar, baking soda, or chopped lemon peels through the garbage disposal to freshen it. If you use the disposal unit more frequently, then you can repeat this process more often. Another part of the disposal unit that is prone to house bacteria which cause odors is the rubber trap covering it. The function of the rubber trap is to prevent the food pieces from making their way back upwards. Cleaning it once in two weeks should be sufficient to keep odors at bay.

  6. 5.Some Tips

    Always put only small portions of food down the disposal. Throwing larger quantities of food down the drain will cause the unit to clog or get jammed more frequently. This is because larger pieces of food are likely to get stuck and may not be washed away by flowing water as easily as the smaller pieces are. Bones, eggshells, and other such material should never be introduced into garbage disposal units. Food with high contents of starch such as rice and pasta can also stick to the blades and should be handled with care.


    Whenever you attempt to clean your garbage disposal unit, make sure that it has been turned off, or unplugged. Too many accidents occur because people have been too careless to verify that the unit has been turned off before putting their hand down the drain. By doing this and implementing the cleaning techniques, you will be able to ensure that your garbage disposal stays clean and well-maintained for many, many years.

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