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Have you found yourself in a funky situation? Your garbage disposal goes through a lot, so it’s not unusual to experience the occasional whiff of last night’s leftovers. However, if the stench lingers, it could be cause for concern. There may be a build-up of some sort in your disposal or pipes, which will require a plumbing service. But first, there are some ways to try and remedy the issue on your own.

All Aloha Plumbing is here to help guide you through the possible reasons for foul odors coming from your disposal and home remedies to eliminate them. Read on to learn more about the causes of bad smells and proper disposal maintenance to prevent them.

Why Your Garbage Disposal Smells

Rotten Food

Most commonly, rotten-like stenches from your garbage disposal result from decaying food stuck inside. Your disposal works by grinding up whatever matter is sent down into little pieces to allow for easier travel down your pipes. However, some foods do not break down properly and can clog your system. Foods to avoid throwing down your disposal include:

  • Starchy foods, such as rice and pasta
  • Vegetable peels and fruit skins
  • Coffee grounds
  • Eggshells


Cooking oil is another clog culprit. Your sink drain may seem like the most reasonable location for discarding hot grease, but it can actually cause significant build-up in your pipeline. Although it is a liquid when hot, grease solidifies as it cools, sticking to the sides of your pipes. As cooking oil collects over time, it decreases the diameter of pipes until it is impossible for water and food matter to flow through, causing backups and funky smells. The best way to dispose of cooking grease is to let it cool first, then pour it into a container before tossing it into the trash.

Mold And Mildew

Mold and mildew thrive in places where moisture and food substances are readily available. Therefore, your garbage disposal is the perfect environment for these fungi to grow and spread. It’s imperative that you thoroughly clean your sink and disposal often to avoid bacteria build-up and the particularly musty smells they create.

Sewer Odors

Sewage pipes emit many toxic fumes. Your drainage system comes equipped with a trap that is meant to keep these gasses from traveling up your pipes and into your home. However, if you’re experiencing a rotten-like smell, the trap or other parts of your system may be malfunctioning. At this point, open a window to allow for ventilation, cover the sink opening to reduce the spread of harmful odors and call a professional plumber.

DIY Cleaning Tips

Rinse With Hot Water

Sometimes, rinsing your sink drain out with hot water is all it takes to eliminate a nasty smell. While hot water is running, turn on your garbage disposal to flush away any food particles and scraps that may be stuck inside. You should perform a hot water rinse each time you use your disposal.

Fill With Soapy Water

For stubborn food and grease clogs, add dishwashing detergent for a more thorough cleaning. Many dish soaps are designed to cut through grease, which helps to scrub your disposal blades and pipes free of build-up. Plug the drain and fill your sink basin with hot water and dishwashing liquid to create a sudsy solution. Once filled, unplug and run the disposal to allow for draining.

Scrub With Baking Soda And Vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar is a powerful cleaning mixture that can help deodorize your disposal should regular soap and water fail. Pour equal parts of baking soda and vinegar into your garbage disposal — half a cup should suffice — and allow the fizzy mixture to sit for about one hour. After the solution has soaked, run hot water down the drain so that it flushes through the entire disposal system.

When To Call For Garbage Disposal Repair

When at-home troubleshooting is not enough to eliminate foul smells, it’s time to call in an expert. All Aloha Plumbing offers professional cleanings that are sure to banish all bad smells away. If a faulty part in your system is the cause of the issue, we also provide repairs to help nip the problem in the bud.

You don’t have to suffer any longer — let a pro handle your stinky situation and contact us today!

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