Your garbage disposal helps you get rid of those scraps of leftover food that cling to your plates and serving dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. That same helpful garbage disposal can also be the source of some serious headaches and foul odors.

If you’re starting to notice that your garbage disposal stinks, you’re not alone. It’s a common problem, but that doesn’t mean you want to live with it. Who would want a kitchen that always smells gross?

Use this guide to learn more about why your garbage disposal stinks and how you can fix it.

Stuck Food

Food particles getting stuck on the blades and side walls of your garbage disposal is the most common cause of a smelly disposal. While running water into the disposal might help you avoid food sticking in the future, there’s not a whole lot you can do about this problem. You just have to deal with it when it happens and keep a good cleaning routine ready to go.

Here’s how to handle that foul smelling disposal.

Start with a Flush

Flushing your garbage disposal is a simple process that really doesn’t require anything more than water. To do it, put a stopper in the sink and fill it with a few inches of hot water right from the tap. If you’re really gung-ho about getting everything clean, really hot or boiling water works best.

From there, simply remove the stopper and turn the disposal on, keeping your hands far from the disposal. The suction of the water will help clear stuck on food particles.

This will help with a moderately gross disposal, but if you’re dealing with an especially bad one, you may need even more cleaning power.

Salt and Ice

Salt and ice are two things you probably have in your kitchen at any given moment. Remember that the next time your disposal is making the whole kitchen smell awful.

To use this remedy, all you need to do is put enough ice cubes in the disposal to fill it to the top, then add a bit of kosher salt on top. Turn the water on at a slow drip and flick the disposal on next. Let your disposal grind the ice cubes down to nothing, allowing the water to run for a few seconds after it has stopped.

The ice cubes and salt mixture will help knock any food on the blades of your disposal free fairly quickly, helping get rid of a bad smell for good.


You may not always have them on hand, but if you do, lemons can work wonders when it comes to getting that nasty smell out of your garbage disposal.

Simply cut a few small wedges and let the disposal do its thing while you slowly run water into the drain. From there, you can add a little fresh lemon juice – don’t turn the disposal on this time – and let the natural lemon do its work on any remaining odors.

Non-toxic and cost-effective, lemons are so much more than an iced tea essential!

Your garbage disposal can be a great help in the kitchen, but when food gets trapped, it can quickly become a nuisance! Use these simple tips to get your garbage disposal clean and keep it that way. If you just can’t get the smell to go away, you may have a larger problem, in which case you should contact the professionals at Bill Fenwick Plumbing ASAP.