Solutions for a Smelly Garbage Disposal

May 04, 2011

Your garbage disposal is a handy appliance to have, helping keep your kitchen tidy and clean. It can be a problem, however, when it starts to smell. These odors can result from food debris building up in your disposal, as over time spoiled food and bacteria accumulate, or after a meal that uses strong items, such as onions and garlic. Below are several quick and easy solutions that can help you eliminate these odors.


  • Lemons or oranges. A great way to eliminate disposal smells is to use a lemon or orange. Cut the lemon or orange up into small sections and put it into your disposal, run for about 30 seconds. Run cold water for about 30 seconds to rinse everything down.
  • Dish detergent. Try squirting a little liquid dish detergent into the disposer while it's running.
  • Ice cubes. Putting ice cubes into the disposal while its running can remove strong odors and sharpen the blades of your disposal at the same time.
  • Vinegar. Pour half a cup of distilled white vinegar down the disposal and let the cold water run at the same time.
  • Baking Soda and Vinegar. Turn on the garbage disposal and pour 1 cup of dry baking soda down, along with a cup of distilled white vinegar to help remove strong odors.
  • Bleach. A mild or slightly fragrant bleach poured down the garbage disposal along with running water can free up old food particles as well as get rid of smells.


Another quick tip: Always run cold water when grinding items in your garbage disposal.


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Last Updated: June 09, 2023