Why Are There Bad Odors From My Garbage Disposal?

A young girl with short brown hair wearing a gray top pinching her nose with her right hand

You never want any bad smells to come from sections of the house, such as moldy odors from the air vents. (This is a common problem called “dirty sock syndrome,” and our HVAC technicians can help you out if it occurs.) But few odors are more distressing and downright unpleasant than foul smells coming from a stinky garbage disposal.

What is the cause of these terrible odors? There are a couple of possibilities we’ll look over, and we’ll also tell you how we can help. We have the professional plumbing in Acton, MA to fix any disposal, drain, or other home plumbing trouble you’ve got.

The disposal is clogged and dirty

One of the basic causes of the bad-smelling disposal is that it has caught too much food waste in it that hasn’t washed down. This is why we recommend you always run cold water down the disposal when it’s running and let the water continue for a few seconds after the disposal turns off to help wash down the rest of the waste. However, even these precautions don’t necessarily stop waste deposits from building up over time and creating terrible-smelling bacteria.

There are a few basic methods you can use to clean and deodorize a dirty disposal. Putting sliced lemons into the garbage disposal—but not too many at once—helps to remove the odor. Baking soda and vinegar are also a tried-and-true way to deodorize a smelly disposal. Please don’t use any store-bought chemical “cleaner” for the disposal, since this acidic action can be damaging.

However, if you find these tactics aren’t helping, the problem may be that the disposal is too old to work effectively, and it’s allowing food waste to build up. We strongly recommend having a new disposal installed in this case, a less expensive option than to continue to repair it.

Fats, oils, and grease buildup

Any plumber will tell you to keep fats, oils, and grease (FOG) out of the disposal as much as possible. These cooking products solidify when they cool, creating a gunky layer inside the disposal and drain. When this rots, it won’t smell good! In most cases, the way to fix this is to have a plumber use drain cleaning tools, such as hydro-jetters, to thoroughly remove the gunk of FOG.

Backed up drain or sewer line issues

The problem may not be in the garbage disposal at all, but the drain lines and sewer lines which are sending foul odors up through the disposal. If you notice odors are also coming from other drains, or drains are making gurgling noises and draining slowly, you might have blocked drain vents or even a clogged sewer line. You want professional plumbers on the job as soon as possible to find the problem and use the best tools to fix it. If the issue isn’t resolved, you may soon have sewage entering into the house and blocked drains everywhere.

Basnett Plumbing, Heating & AC has delivered reliable plumbing and heating service in The MetroWest Area since 1987. Look to us for all your drain and garbage disposal needs.

Need HVAC Service?

Contact the experts at Basnett Plumbing, Heating, AC & Electrical.
Call us at 978-431-2906!