Karen Wiggins on October 8, 2017 14 Comments The convenience of a garbage disposal is undeniable, as it simplifies a lot of our kitchen cleanups. However, frequent use of it can lead to unpleasant odors. If you have noticed a less than pleasant scent emerging from your garbage disposal, know that this is not permanent. Ridding your garbage disposal of a smell is not a laborious task. In fact, you probably already have all of the ingredients to do the job. Here are nine tips on how to clean garbage disposal, and get rid of those lingering smells immediately. 1. Clean the Visible Portion of the Disposal Slather a generous amount of dishwashing soap onto a dish wand or scrub brush. Scrub the visible part of the garbage disposal. Be particularly aware of the joint where the disposal rim meets the sink basin because small food particles and debris have a tendency to get trapped there. Even mold can grow in this area. 2. Soak the Housing It is always advisable to run the kitchen faucet when you operate the garbage disposal. This helps your disposal get rid of all of the bits of food trapped in the housing. If you notice that your appliance smells bad, it may be time to give the housing a thorough soak. Stop the sink drain, fill the basin about halfway with water and then add a bit of dish soap or vinegar. Next, unplug the drain while activating the garbage disposal. This propels the soapy water through the housing, rinsing off its hidden nooks and crannies. 3. Dislodge Slimy Residue Kosher salt is an effective abrasive cleaner that can adequately dislodge slimy residue. First, pour a large cup of ice cubes into the garbage disposal, switch it on while adding a half-cup of the salt. The ice and salt combination should grind away what remains of the odor-causing residue. This is yet another quick fix to a dirty drain using simple items that you already have in your freezer and pantry. 4. Citrus Citrus fruits can help your drain stay clean as well as act as a deodorizer. If you have an extra lemon, lime, orange or grapefruit lying around, try grinding a few peels — or even the entire fruit — to imbue the kitchen with a fresh citrus scent. Not only will this help your kitchen smell great, but the rough peels help to clean the blades and the disposal wall. The citrus oils do a fantastic job of keeping your garbage disposal fresh. 5. Routine Flushing Don’t wait for your disposal to start smelling bad before you act. Garbage disposals require active and preventative care. Turn on the garbage disposal and run a thick stream of hot water through it for at least one minute. This should be long enough to push particles through the pipes in your house. This is an ideal method for reducing and removing odor, as it doesn’t require you to purchase any extra ingredients. This is a tip that you should do after each time that you run the machine. 6. Deodorizing Cleaning If you have tried the above steps and you can still smell your garbage disposal, it may be time for a tougher cleaning solution. For this method, you will need baking soda and vinegar. First, lift the rubber flaps and pour one-half cup of baking soda into your garbage disposal drain. Fill the entire drain until you cannot add any more baking soda. Next, pour a half-cup of vinegar down the drain. Vinegar is a natural bacteria killer and deodorizer. Allow the solution to sit for one hour. Turn on the disposal and run cold water for one minute. It is important that you only use this method sparingly because vinegar is acidic and can damage the rubber elements inside the disposal. 7. Deep Cleaning If the smell persists, you can purchase a rubber test cap with a stainless steel clamp. Lingering odor may mean that improperly rinsed food sludge has hardened onto your pipes. To remedy this, you might need to deep clean your garbage disposal. To deep clean the disposal, first you need to run hot water through your faucet for about one minute. Using a wrench, disconnect the pipe leading from the garbage disposal underneath your sink. This is the portion of the pipe after the trap. Attach the rubber test cap to the underside of the pipe that leads from the disposal. This approach will stop water from going through the pipe and allow you to soak it with a cleaning solution. To do this, place a bucket beneath the pipe and rubber cap to catch spills and runoff. Run warm water into your garbage disposal until the water level reaches the top of the drain–you don’t need to fill up the whole sink basin. Next, add a half-cup of powdered oxygen bleach to the drain, and allow it to sit for one hour. After the bleach has had time to soak, remove the rubber test cap carefully, and let the solution drain into the bucket, and then reconnect your pipe. It is a good idea to perform a routine cleaning by filling the sink with soapy water and running it through the machine to fully flush the loosened food debris through the pipes. 8. Remove Large Materials Manually Sometimes it is a larger item that is causing a clog, which can trap foul odors. If you suspect that a fork or spoon has fallen into your garbage disposal and is trapping food, you should remove it, but take care to do it the safe way. First, turn off the fuse that generates power to the garbage disposal to eliminate the risk of the machine turning on when you reach down inside. These grinding blades are highly dangerous, so safety is important. Next, shine a light down into the disposal and use tongs or pliers to remove the items that are sitting in the machine. Rinse your garbage disposal afterwards to see if this has solved the problem. 9. Prevention Works Wonders It is easy to eliminate a garbage disposal smell, but prevention is the best cure. Remember that you should never run fibrous vegetables such as celery or starchy food including potatoes through your disposal. Also, try running the machine five seconds longer than you think is necessary, because this will help to dispel persistent particles from within the housing. Why You Should Eliminate Garbage Disposal Odors One of the worst things that can happen in your kitchen is a rancid odor. Even though the design of the garbage disposal pulverizes and removes kitchen waste, sometimes food particles can become trapped underneath the blades, on the sides of the machine and in the drainpipe. This creates the perfect environment for mold and bacteria to grow and produce unpleasant odors and unhealthy spores. As the bacteria and mold persist and grow, so does the smell. Routine cleaning of your garbage disposal at least weekly with one these techniques will help to keep it odor-free. Always remember to run water while using your garbage disposal to help keep it clean and germ-free. Garbage disposals are appliances that do not respond well to abuse, so use caution when you toss items in it.