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Why Does My Garbage Disposal Smell So Bad?

Your garbage disposal is a great tool that makes it easier to get rid of some food waste. But, the things that go down your drain and into your garbage disposal can leave a residue that makes your sink and drain smell bad. Sometimes the smell can get bad enough that it permeates your entire home.

If you need services for your garbage disposal in South Burlington, VT, our team is here to help. In the meantime, you can learn more about why your garbage disposal smells bad, and what you can do to address bad odors and even prevent them from ever happening.

Different smells can indicate different things. If you understand the different smells that can be coming from your garbage disposal, you can address each one. Keep in mind that some of them are easy to fix on your own, while others require a professional’s help.

Rotting Food

This one is pretty easy. If your garbage disposal smells like food going bad, that’s probably because it’s exactly what’s happening. If you don’t run your disposal long enough to get rid of all the food, it just sits in your drain. In addition to running your disposal long enough, you also need to clean it regularly. Plan on cleaning your garbage disposal at least once a month using hot water and dish soap or other gentle cleaners.


If your garbage disposal smells like sewage, you likely have a larger problem. You may be able to address the smells for short periods of time, but the sewage smell keeps coming back. You definitely need a professional to help identify where the sewage smell is coming from so that you can fix the problem at the source. If sewage is backing up into your kitchen plumbing, you’re also facing greater problems, like bacteria entering your home.

Mold and Mildew

If you smell mold or mildew coming from your garbage disposal, it may not be clean enough. You can use vinegar, warm water, and baking soda to help eliminate the growth. Sprinkle baking soda in your garbage disposal drain and then pour the vinegar in. The mixture will bubble up. Turn on your garbage disposal and run warm water to rinse the mold and mildew away. 

Preventing Bad Odors 

There are some things that you should never put down your garbage disposal. Examples include coffee grounds, fibrous vegetables and peelings, plants from outside, egg shells, and more. You should also avoid cleaning your garbage disposal with bleach. You may be tempted to use bleach to kill mold and mildew, but that can actually cause more damage than good.

Sometimes you do need a stronger cleaner than just dish soap. Instead of bleach, you can use garbage disposal cleaning pods or even ice cubes to help break up grime and rinse it down your drain. You can also put lemon and orange peels in your disposal to help provide a more pleasant odor. 

Red Rock Mechanical, LLC serves Northwest Vermont and Northeast New York. Schedule your plumbing service with us today.

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