Don’t Let Garbage Disposal Odors Get the Best of You!

October 06, 2023

Garbage disposals aren’t exactly everyone’s favorite thing to clean and deodorize, but most homemakers rely on this under the sink appliance to get rid of leftover food scraps that can cause food deterioration and odor problems. There are ways to avoid the smells that accumulate in garbage disposals and they can be remedied.

Natural and chemically-based alternatives for deodorizing your garbage disposal are effective at alleviating odors. Natural and chemically-based alternatives are preventative measures that stop garbage disposal malfunctions, along with some precautionary measures that help to avoid food disasters and other mishaps.

Personal experience tells the average person to avoid putting certain foods and other objects in their disposal. Many homeowners have unknowingly put “everything but the kitchen sink” in their disposal and have met the fate of a nasty sink backup that has to be plunged. Sometimes the disposal has to be disconnected from under the sink, dismantled and an expert called in to alleviate the problem.

As far as deodorizing your disposal for cleanliness and sanitation, there are ways to keep your garbage disposal clean, safe and functioning properly. These processes are easy when you use the following advice:

1) Use Natural Remedies

There are at least five ways for deodorizing your garbage disposal naturally. The easiest way out is simply using dish soap and running hot water through the disposal, but sometimes more intense measures are needed through the natural realm of efficient deodorizers.

Bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) – eliminates and neutralizes odors on contact.
White vinegar – acid in the vinegar kills mold, bacteria and germs found in your disposal.
Baking soda followed by white vinegar – causes a chemical reaction that helps dissolve food buildup and odors.
Ice and rock salt – rock salt rids smells and disinfects while the ice will sharpen the disposal blades and help the salt to be distributed properly (regular salt or sea salt will work, too)
Borax – natural for sink and disposal deodorizing – works on mildew and other odors as well.

2) The Power of Citrus

Citrus not only sharpens and cleans the blades of a disposal but it dispels odors as well. Whether using lemons, limes, or oranges, in peeling form or the entire fruit, they usually better serve their purpose by being cut into smaller chunks, so the blades can deal with the peelings efficiently.

In fact, the peelings can be put in ice cubes and tossed in the disposal for sharpening, as well as deodorizing. Citrus power can also be released in essential oils that have citrus oil bases. They can help to clean and deodorize a garbage disposal and you don’t have to worry about the fruit clogging the disposal if that is a concern.

3) Chemically based products

There are chemically based products that can be used to deodorize and clear clogs in your disposal, and they usually contain some type of corrosive. With that being said, it is usually best to use a biodegradable product that may prove stronger than more natural deodorizers yet are effective and safe.

Commercially made pine cleaners and plink type compact balls can be used too. Mouthwash also can be used as a good disposal deodorizer. Yes, it not only works for your mouth but your dishwasher as well, to kill germs, bacteria and “disposal bad breath.”

4) Avoidable Foods

All it takes is a little bit of common sense to know that there are certain foods that aren’t good for your garbage disposals. Some foods are just better off put in a plastic bag for the weekly garbage run, or used in a compost pile in the backyard garden area.

Certain foods should not be put in a garbage disposal as they cause clumping, tangling and simply will not disintegrate enough to pass through the system. If food items will not break up into smaller pieces or completely dissolve, avoid putting them in the disposal as trouble will most likely follow.

Fibrous and thick type foods like banana peelings, potato peelings, celery stalks, corn husks, outer onion skins, artichokes and other thick-skinned vegetables and fruits should be disposed of in another way. Large, hard kernel and seed type items from the inside of fruits should be avoided as they can get stuck in the blade area of the disposal and cause stoppage and other problems. Cooked rice and pasta should be avoided as well because their expandable nature will cause them to do the same thing in the disposal and pipes.

Any kind of heavy cooking oils, lard, and other greasy food items should be avoided and if they are put into the disposal they should be cleared out with cold water along with other scraps, as cold water will cause solidification of the grease and it will more easily pass through the system. Though coffee grounds do help with blades and a cleaner smelling disposal, they should be avoided because they can lodge against pipes and other plumbing fixtures and cause clogging.

5) Avoidable Objects

Objects can easily fall into a garbage disposal and play havoc with its operation. Knives, forks, spoons and other cooking utensils, along with small, soft plastic or metal toys can bring on problems with a disposal. These items can become flying objects as they spin around in the grinding area or get caught and cause internal disposal damage.

Though some small bones within poultry or fish can be ground up, it is best to avoid larger pork and meat bones as well as more obvious items such as whole nuts, rocks, bolts, thumb tacks, nails, safety pins, plastic bread ties, cigarette butts and anything at all combustible. These items are definitely a no-no for garbage disposals. Keep the disposal’s cover/stopper over its opening, or a strainer cover that will help avoid breakage of internal disposal parts.

If persistent smells or malfunctioning occur with your disposal on an ongoing basis, think about what may be causing the problem or problems and get in touch with you nearby Lake County plumbing expert. Rather than trying to tackle extensive garbage disposal problems on your own, speak with an expert that can thoroughly diagnose your problem and present a solid solution.

If your are having garbage disposal issues and are in need of assistance the professionals at Ross Plumbing, are here to help. Give us a call today at (352) 728-6053.

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