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3 Reasons Your Garbage Disposal Smells

October 30, 2023 | Blog

Is there an unpleasant odor in your kitchen? If you’re dealing with funky garbage disposal smells, don’t be alarmed. This common issue can be caused by plenty of factors, but the good news is that some home troubleshooting can often solve the problem.

A stinky plumbing appliance can be a bother, but Skelton’s Heating, Cooling & Plumbing is here to help! Our experts can tackle garbage disposal repair and all your other HVAC needs. We’ll help you stay on top of your home, keeping it comfortable and preventing problems before they occur. That includes getting to the bottom of these unfortunate aromas!

Common Reasons For Garbage Disposal Smells

Recognizing a foul smell in your garbage disposal is the easy part of the problem, but the next crucial step is figuring out why the stench is there. There are several potential causes that could be behind the odor.

Buildup And Poor Cleaning

Garbage disposals, like any other appliance, require regular cleaning. If you neglect regular cleanings, bacteria can grow inside of it, and the system can become a cesspool of foul odors. Grease and soap scum can also contribute to the problem.

One of the most common culprits behind such smells is food residue. Over time, small bits of food can get stuck in the disposal unit and start to decompose, leading to unpleasant odors. Onions, garlic, and citrus peels are notorious for causing lingering smells. Consistent cleaning can get rid of this buildup before it becomes a major problem.


A clogged garbage disposal doesn’t only feel like a headache, but it can also produce unpleasant aromas. Food, grease and foreign objects can block the disposal’s drain, allowing waste to accumulate and decompose.

Dull Blades

If your disposal blades are dull or damaged, they may not be effectively breaking down food particles. This can lead to leftover debris that rots and causes odors. Our experts can perform reliable kitchen plumbing repairs to solve this problem.

Home Troubleshooting Tips

No one wants to leave an odor unresolved once it’s been discovered. Now that you know some of the common reasons for smells in this appliance, here are some troubleshooting tips to help you combat the problem:

  • Regularly rinsing the fixture with hot water can remove buildup.
  • Draining your sink with hot and soapy water provides a thorough cleaning.
  • Pour ½ cup of baking soda and ½ cup of vinegar down the disposal and rinse with clean water after an hour.
  • Use a nylon brush and an all-purpose kitchen cleaner to clean the system.

These simple methods can clear away the source of unpleasant aromas from your drain.

When To Call A Professional For Garbage Disposal Repair

While some garbage disposal issues can be resolved with DIY troubleshooting, there are times when it’s best to call in a professional for a repair. Here are some signs you’ll need outside assistance:

  • The odor lingers despite thorough cleaning.
  • You experience frequent garbage disposal clogs.
  • You notice consistent grinding or rattling noises.
  • Water is leaking from your unit.
  • You experience electrical problems with your disposal.
  • The system won’t turn on at all.

When you aren’t certain what the problem might be, safety should be your number one concern. Since these devices require electricity to function, it’s crucial to have our technicians inspect the machinery when an issue is present. Bringing in a professional is the best way to resolve the issue with your unit quickly, effectively, and safely.

Turn To The Plumbing Experts

Skelton’s Heating, Cooling & Plumbing are Birmingham’s trusted experts in-home services. We’re here to make sure your home is running smoothly with our quality plumbing assistance. Our team of experts is proud to have provided comfort to Birmingham and surrounding areas since 1994.

Contact Skelton’s Heating, Cooling & Plumbing today for all of your kitchen plumbing needs!

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