A garbage disposal can be an extremely convenient addition to your kitchen. The only problem is that this device can also quickly get dirty and start to give off unpleasant odors. That’s especially true if you’re not careful about what goes into it. Some items are more likely than others to get stuck inside the unit. They can begin to decay there, which allows odor-causing bacteria to grow and thrive inside the equipment and your pipes. Nevertheless, a garbage disposal can still start to smell bad even if you’re careful about not allowing fat, grease, and certain types of food in. With this in mind, here are a number of options that can help prevent and eliminate garbage disposal odors.
Regular Cleaning Is Key
One of the biggest reasons that many garbage disposals smell is that many people neglect to clean them as often as they should. There are also people who don’t clean them at all. Ideally, you should be thoroughly cleaning your garbage disposal at least once every three to four weeks. By doing so, you can eliminate any bacteria or food particles that could cause bad smells.
There are many different garbage disposal cleaning products on the market. While these aren’t necessarily a bad option, the truth is that you can achieve the same results with a bit of dish soap and a long-handled brush. All you have to do is put some dish-washing liquid on your brush or down the disposal and then give everything a good scrub. For even better results, run some hot water down the drain for a few minutes prior to cleaning as this will help to loosen up any materials that might be stuck on the blades or inside the unit.
Before you start cleaning, it is essential that you unplug the garbage disposal from the power outlet. This way you can ensure that the disposal can’t accidentally turn on while you’re cleaning it, which could result in potential injury to you or damage to the disposal.
Natural Options for Eliminating Garbage Disposal Odors
In addition to regularly cleaning your garbage disposal, there are a number of other options that you can use any time things start to smell bad. One of the easiest options is to use vinegar and baking soda. Simply pour around a quarter cup of baking soda down into the disposal followed by one cup of distilled white vinegar. Let this mixture sit and foam inside the disposal for a few minutes, and then flush it down with some hot water. This method is useful for naturally killing any odor-causing bacteria. It also works to remove mineral deposits, which can harbor odor-causing germs.
You can clean also your garbage disposal simply by using ice and salt. All you have to do is put some ice cubes and rock salt into the disposal, turn on the cold water, and then run the disposal for a few minutes or until the ice is fully broken up. This method is useful since the ice and salt help to scrub the inside of the disposal and clean the blades. For even better results, you can try making ice cubes out of vinegar since this will also help eliminate any germs inside the unit.
One other method that can help to keep your garbage disposal smelling fresh is to run a handful of citrus peels through the disposal whenever it starts to stink. Lemons, oranges, grapefruits, limes, and other citrus fruit can do wonders. For starters, the peels will give the disposal a nice, citrusy scent. Still, the bigger benefit is that citrus peels contain natural oils that have antibacterial and antifungal properties. This means that they can help to kill any mildew or odor-causing germs inside the disposal.
There is quite a bit of debate as to whether you should use bleach or other chemicals to get rid of garbage disposal smells. You should definitely avoid using any harsh chemicals like drain cleaners since these could damage your garbage disposal and possibly your pipes. Bleach is proven to help kill bacteria and eliminate odors, but it is also very harsh. For this reason, you should always make sure to dilute it if you’re going to put it in your disposal.
Alternatively, you may want to consider using Borax instead. Putting a half cup of Borax in your disposal once a week can provide the same benefits as using bleach without causing any damage to the disposal or your plumbing. You can also achieve similar results by pouring a cup of mouthwash down the disposal every week. Although it may sound odd, mouthwash is strongly antiseptic, which means it will kill any germs inside the unit.
Prevent Odors by Watching What You Put in the Disposal
The best way to prevent your garbage disposal from smelling is to make sure that you never put anything in it that could get stuck inside or fail to wash down properly. Despite what the name suggests, you shouldn’t use your garbage disposal as a secondary trash can. Disposals can be great at preventing smaller food particles from clogging your drains, but this is really all they should be used for.
Oil, fat, and grease are some of the main things you want to avoid. These are the primary culprits behind most clogged drains as they can harden and build up on the inside of your pipes. This can cause bad odors on its own. It can also collect other food particles and be a breeding ground for bacteria. These issues can occur inside your garbage disposal just as easily as they can inside your pipes. For this reason, it is essential that you never pour grease, fat, or oil down your drain or in your garbage disposal.
Although your garbage disposal is powerful, it will still have issues breaking down some food particles. Both cooked and raw meat can be difficult for the disposal to properly handle, and the same goes for any fibrous fruits and vegetables like potato peels, banana peels, onions, corn husks, etc. These fibrous materials will often get wrapped around the disposal’s blades, which can both cause bad odors and potentially damage or completely ruin the unit. You should also avoid putting egg shells in your garbage disposal for the same reason.
Local Assistance From Experts
If you’re having any issues with your garbage disposal, the professional plumbers at Christian Brothers Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical are here to help. We also specialize in drain cleaning, water and sewer lines, repairs, water heaters and softeners, and a wide range of other plumbing services. Our team in Glendale also consists of certified HVAC technicians who can install, repair, and maintain your home’s heating and cooling equipment. In addition, we have licensed electricians who can repair, maintain, and upgrade your home’s electrical system. From wiring and electrical panels to lighting, smoke detectors, and surge protection, we can handle it all. If you have any questions about any of our services or you need to schedule an appointment, give us a call today.