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How To Clean A Smelly Garbage Disposal

How To Clean A Smelly Garbage Disposal

How to Clean a Garbage Disposal

When I was a college student one of my summer jobs was working for the city rubbish removal, throwing trash barrels into the back of a rubbish truck.  Back then I thought I’d never smell anything as heinous as what that job threw at me.

While that is mostly true, once in awhile my kitchen sink drain and disposal come close to that old rubbish smell. This article will discuss a few tip and tricks I’ve learn along the way on how to clean a smelly garbage disposal.

The simplest technique for cleaning a smelly disposal involves ice cubes.  Here’s how I do it:

  1. Turn the cold water and the disposal.
  2. Empty a dozen or two ice cubes into the sink, and push the ice cubes down the drain into the disposal as quickly as it will take it. This will freeze all the stuck debris, causing it to chunk off the impeller blades and out of the holes in the plate/flywheel. Which is often the cause of the offensive odor.
  3. Let the water run for a full minute after the last cube is clear.
  4. If the garbage disposal still smells, slice a lemon in half and feed both halves down into the drain.

Why Lemon?

Lemon, and other citrus fruits all have rough peels which help to clean the impeller blades, and citrus oils do a fantastic job of naturally freshening things up.

What if the Ice Cube Method Fails?

In my quest in learning how to clean a smelly garbage disposal, I’ve also come across stubborn drain smells that ice cubes might help, but don’t entirely eliminate. It is in these desperate times that I resort to my chemistry class lessons learned and mix up a solution of baking soda and vinegar. By the way, I transferred out of chemistry!
The baking soda and vinegar method is an effective cleaner, deodorizer, and is simple and safe to attempt. It is also safe for septic systems, here’s how I do it:
  1. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of baking soda down your disposal.
  2. Pour  1 cup of vinegar down the disposal.
  3. Allow the two ingredients to create foam and bubble
  4. Allow the baking soda and vinegar mixture to sit for 10 minutes.
  5. Pour boiling water from the tea kettle down the disposal as it is running to flush everything through.
  6. Finish with hot water for a few minutes

The Secret of Boiling Water and Baking Soda

Baking soda and boiling water work well together to  break up and remove smelly sludge that’s clinging to the disposal impellers and in the drain itself.

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