How To Make Your Garbage Disposal Fresh Again

Garbage disposals are one of the most common appliances in American kitchens. They help us dispose of food waste, which is a great help if you keep your kitchen clean and organized. 

But it can also be a bit of a mystery. It’s not always easy to know when something is wrong with your garbage disposal, especially if you don’t know what to look for.

In the US, it’s estimated that more than 50% of homes have a smelly garbage disposal.

According to research conducted by the [company name], the most common cause of smelly garbage disposal is leftover food waste. In fact, only 40% of people in the US use their garbage disposal regularly. The rest don’t because they don’t know how to keep it clean or they just don’t want to deal with it.

But have you ever wondered why your garbage disposal smells?

If you have, then this article is for you. In this article, garbage disposal experts James Plumbing will discuss the causes of bad smells in your garbage disposal and give tips on how to get rid of garbage disposal smell.

So, let’s find out.

Why Does Your Garbage Disposal Smell?

Garbage disposals are easy to use and can be a great addition to your kitchen. However, if your garbage disposal is not working properly or smells bad, it can quickly become an annoyance. Here are 15 reasons why your garbage disposal Santa Fe might be smelling:

Food residue buildup

If you don’t use your garbage disposal regularly (or at all), food residue can build up in the drainpipe and other parts of the unit. This could lead to an unpleasant smell coming from your sink when you turn on the water.

Old food

Food that has been sitting in the disposal for a long time will begin to rot, which will cause an unpleasant aroma when you turn on the water. This happens more often than you may think—kitchen drains tend to get clogged with food debris that sits there and rots rather than going down the drain where it belongs!

Grease and fat

Grease and fat can build up in your garbage disposal from cooking with oils and fats and from the food you throw away. This will make the smell worse, so be sure to keep an eye on your kitchen trash can for anything that might have leaked into the trash bag.


If you have a clog in your garbage disposal, this can also cause an awful smell. If you notice that water is not draining properly from your sink, then chances are that something has gotten stuck in your pipes or drain lines. 

Mold and mildew

This is one of the biggest reasons why garbage disposal smell. Garbage disposals are dark places that are usually damp and cool. These conditions are perfect for mold to grow, which can cause your garbage disposal to smell. 

Lack of cleaning

A dirty garbage disposal won’t work as efficiently at grinding up food particles because there will be buildup on the blades that prevents them from turning smoothly. This could lead to a buildup of food particles inside the unit itself, where they can start fermenting into rotten smells that come back up through the drain pipe when you run water through it again later on down.

Onion and garlic

Onion and garlic can wreak havoc on garbage disposal pipes and sinks because they contain sulfuric compounds that break down into an unpleasant smell when they come into contact with water.

Citrus peels

Citrus peels are often used to freshen up garbage disposals or even help with stain removal around the house—but they’re also notorious for causing smelly garbage disposals! 


Possibly one of the most common offenders when it comes to bad smells in the kitchen, eggshells can get stuck in your garbage disposal and cause a stinky mess. 

Inadequate water flow

If you’ve got an older garbage disposal or an extremely large amount of food scraps going down at once, then you may need to kick it up a notch with some extra water flow from your faucet. This will help carry things through more quickly while also helping to keep them from getting stuck inside the disposal itself!

Broken or worn components

If your garbage disposal is not running smoothly, it may be because some of the parts have broken or worn down. If this is the case, you will have to call a Santa Fe garbage disposal repair expert.

Disposal age

The older your garbage disposal, the more likely it is that you will start to notice a bad smell coming from it. This is because these appliances become less effective over time, which could cause waste products to build up inside and emit odors as they decompose.

Sewer gas

Another reason your garbage disposal Santa Fe, NM, smells is that it’s connected to the sewer system. This means a gas line is running under your house and into your garbage disposal. The gas itself is very similar to natural gas but can be explosive if exposed to air or too much water. If your garbage disposal is leaking, this could cause sewer gas to leak into your house. Sewer gas can also enter your home when you use the bathroom and flush the toilet.

Inadequate ventilation

Another reason why garbage disposals might smell is that there isn’t enough ventilation in your home or kitchen area. If there isn’t enough air movement coming into and out of rooms where food is being prepared, then odors will linger longer than they should and make their way into other areas of the house.

Pet hair or waste

Dogs and cats shed fur all over the place—and some of it ends up in your garbage disposal. The same goes for pet waste—it’s not uncommon for an animal to accidentally drop a piece of poop into the sink while you’re cleaning them up after a mess on the floor.

Tools & Material You’ll Need For How To Clean A Garbage Disposal Tutorial 

Learning how to clean garbage disposal is a relatively simple task that requires a few basic tools and materials. Here’s a list of what you’ll need for the tutorial on how to make a garbage disposal smell better:

  • Rubber gloves: To protect your hands from debris and bacteria while cleaning.
  • Flashlight: Optional but helpful for better visibility inside the disposal unit.
  • Long-handled scrub brush or bottle brush: To reach and clean the inside of the disposal.
  • Dish soap or mild detergent: To clean the rubber parts and remove grease and grime.
  • Baking soda: An effective natural deodorizer and abrasive garbage disposal cleaner.
  • Vinegar: Helps with removing odors and breaking down residue.
  • Ice cubes: Used to clean the blades and dislodge any stuck debris.
  • Rock salt: An alternative to ice cubes for cleaning and deodorizing.
  • Lemon or citrus peels: For a natural, fresh scent.
  • Toothbrush: To clean hard-to-reach areas and rubber gaskets.
  • An old toothbrush or small brush: To clean the underside of the rubber baffle.
  • Clean cloth or sponge: For wiping down the exterior of the disposal.
  • Plunger (optional): A plunger might help dislodge the blockage if your disposal is clogged.

How to Fix Smelly Garbage Disposals?

There’s nothing worse than coming home from a long day at work and opening your garbage disposal to have it smell up your entire kitchen. It’s bad enough that you have to deal with the gross smells coming from your trash can, but when it seeps into your sink and makes you feel like you need to take a shower just to get rid of the stench? That’s just not cool.

So what are you supposed to do when this happens? How do you fix a smelly garbage disposal?

Luckily, there are ways to get rid of that stench without throwing out or replacing the entire thing. Here are 12 simple tips for how to make sure your garbage disposal stays fresh-smelling:

Safety First

Before attempting any fixes, make sure to turn off the power to the garbage disposal to avoid accidents. You can do this by switching off the disposal’s circuit breaker or unplugging it.

Flush with Cold Water

The best way to learn how to make garbage disposal smell better is to run cold water while it’s on. This will flush out any food particles that have gotten stuck in the disposal and create a layer of water between the metal blades and your hands. It also helps prevent some of the odors that can come from the disposal.

Use Ice Cubes

If you want to get rid of the smell in your garbage disposal, try putting some ice cubes in the disposal. The cold water will help cool down the motor, preventing it from overheating and creating a bad smell.

Add Baking Soda

Baking soda is great at absorbing odors, so if your disposal gives off an unpleasant stink, try adding some baking soda and running it for about 30 seconds. Not only will this help eliminate bad smells, but it can also freshen up your drain and make it smell like lemons!

Pour Vinegar

The next thing you should do when your garbage disposal starts to smell is pour a cup of vinegar down it. This will help clean out any food that might have built up inside and make sure it’s running smoothly again. 

Wait and Rinse

Once you’ve poured the baking soda and vinegar down your drain, wait five minutes before turning on the hot water tap and then running water through your disposal for one minute at a time until the smell goes away completely or until there’s no more sign of it in your sink drain trap where it would normally go if you didn’t have a garbage disposal installed! 

Clean the Rubber Parts

If you’ve noticed that your garbage disposal smells like rotting food, it may be because of the rubber parts. You can clean these with a solution of vinegar and water, but be careful not to pour too much down at once, as it can damage the rubber. If you have hard water in your area, this will also cause an unpleasant odor in your garbage disposal. 

Use Lemon or Citrus Peels

If you’re having trouble getting rid of your garbage disposal’s odor, try adding lemon wedges or citrus peels into the disposal itself (but not too much!)—this will help freshen up your kitchen without costing you anything extra! It may take several tries before the smell is gone for good, but it’s worth trying out this trick at least once before buying new parts for your appliance.

Clean the Exterior

Most people don’t think about cleaning their garbage disposals, but it’s actually really easy! All you need is hot soapy water and an old toothbrush or scrub brush. Just run some water into the sink drain hole and let it run for a few minutes while you scrub away at any gunk on the outside of the disposal unit. Once that’s done, you can use a kitchen sponge to wipe down any hard-to-reach places (like under hoses) where grime might have collected over time. If there’s anything particularly stubborn stuck in crevices like this, try spraying some vinegar on it first before scrubbing—this will help loosen things up so they come off more easily when you’re done with your cleaning project!

Maintain Regularly

Make it a habit to regularly clean out your garbage disposal and run water through it after each use. If you have a dishwasher in your kitchen, don’t forget to empty out the drain trap before running a load of dishes!

Dispose of Unwanted Food Properly

Using too much food in your garbage disposal can lead to clogs and smells. Try using less food and giving it more time to break down before disposing of it. This will help keep your garbage disposal running smoothly and keep it from smelling bad!

DIY Vs. Professional Garbage Disposal Repair

Garbage disposals are a staple of modern cooking and cleaning but can become damaged or clogged over time. Some people swear by the do-it-yourself approach, while others swear at it. The truth is, there are pros and cons to both. Neither approach is perfect—but we’ll help you figure out which one is right for you!

Below is a comparison table outlining the differences between DIY (Do It Yourself) and professional garbage disposal repair:

Aspect DIY Garbage Disposal Repair Professional Garbage Disposal Repair
Cost Generally lower cost as you handle the repair yourself and only pay for parts or basic tools. It can be more expensive, as you need to pay for professional services and expertise.
Expertise Required Requires some basic knowledge of plumbing and electrical systems. Some tasks may be challenging for inexperienced individuals. Requires no technical knowledge from the homeowner as professionals handle the repair.
Time DIY repairs may take longer, especially for inexperienced individuals who may need to troubleshoot and research solutions. Professional repairs are usually faster as experienced technicians can quickly diagnose and fix the issue.
Risk of Damage Higher risk of causing further damage if repair steps are done incorrectly. Lower risk of damage as professionals are trained and experienced in garbage disposal repairs.
Quality of Repair Quality depends on the skills and knowledge of the individual performing the repair. Professional repairs are more likely to be of higher quality, backed by warranties and guarantees.
Warranty and Guarantees There is no warranty on DIY repairs; mistakes must be fixed at your own expense. Professional repairs often come with warranties, ensuring free follow-up service if issues persist.
Complex Repairs Limited ability to handle complex or major repairs without specialized knowledge. Professionals can handle complex issues and have access to advanced tools and replacement parts.
Convenience It may require multiple attempts or visits to the hardware store for parts or tools. More convenient as professionals handle everything, including sourcing parts if needed.
Safety Potential safety hazards for inexperienced individuals working with electricity and plumbing. Safer professionals are trained to handle electrical and plumbing components safely.
Overall Efficiency DIY repair may take longer and may not fully resolve the issue if not done correctly. Professional repairs are generally more efficient and effective in fixing the problem.

15 Things You Should Never Put Down in a Garbage Disposal

We’ve all been there. You’re in the middle of preparing a tasty meal, and you need to get rid of some food waste. So, you reach for your garbage disposal.

But then… oh no! You put something down the sink that shouldn’t have been there. The result? A clogged drain that makes a loud noise and stinks up your kitchen!

Don’t let this happen to you! Here are 15 things you should never put down in your garbage disposal:

  1. Grease and cooking oil
  2. Bones and large food scraps
  3. Pasta and rice
  4. Eggshells
  5. Fibrous vegetables (e.g., celery, artichokes)
  6. Coffee grounds
  7. Fruit pits and seeds
  8. Potato peels
  9. Non-food items (e.g., bottle caps, rubber bands)
  10. Glass, metal, or plastic objects
  11. Expired or spoiled food
  12. Paint, chemicals, or toxic substances
  13. Starchy or sticky foods
  14. Shrimp shells and seafood shells
  15. Paper, wrappers, or plastic bags

Trust James Plumbing & Heating for All Your Garbage Disposal Needs in Santa Fe, NM!

The garbage disposal is a vital component of your kitchen’s plumbing system. It allows you to dispose of food scraps without having to worry about clogging your pipes. But sometimes, the garbage disposal can break down and need repairs or replacement. When this happens, it’s important that you call a professional plumber like James Plumbing & Heating in Santa Fe, NM.

James Plumbing & Heating is the garbage disposal expert in Santa Fe, NM. We offer a wide range of services to meet your needs and make sure that your garbage disposal is working properly. We’ve been helping homeowners in the area for over 30 years and have had over 1000 satisfied clients along the way.

We offer a full range of services for all types of garbage disposals, including:

  • Garbage disposal repair Santa Fe, NM
  • Santa Fe garbage disposal installation
  • Garbage disposal replacement

We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to ensure that you never have to go without running water while we work on your plumbing system. We’ll even provide same-day service if possible! If you’re looking for an experienced plumber in Santa Fe, NM, who will treat your home with respect and professionalism when working on your plumbing system, then look no further than James Plumbing & Heating!

We are also fully licensed and insured, so you can rest assured knowing the fact that your job will be done right the first time. 

If you have any questions or concerns about our plumbing services, please give us a call at 505-473-7148 today!

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