Although you don’t want to deal with unpleasant odors anywhere in your home, the kitchen is a particularly bad place to get a whiff of something foul. If you’re trying to track down the source of funk in your kitchen, take a whiff of the sink over your garbage disposal. If that’s the source of your smell, use the following four tips and tricks to help you clean your disposal and keep it from smelling ripe again.
Perform Periodic Cleanings
To get the gross stuff out, dump a 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1 cup of vinegar into your garbage disposal. Then, allow the mixture to sit in the disposal for a few minutes. While you wait, put a full tea kettle or pot on the stove and bring the water up to boiling point. When the kettle whistles or you start to see bubbles in the pot, pour the boiling water in it down into your garbage disposal. You will then need to turn on the disposal and follow the boiling water with cold water and a handful of ice cubes.
Use Cold Water
Hot water works best for household cleaning, so it seems logical to run hot water through your disposal when you use it. Hot water, however, can melt and soften certain foods (like butter or chocolate), making them more likely to stick to the disposal blades and walls. Always run cold water when using your garbage disposal to firm up food and make it easier for your disposal to process what’s in there.
Run It Long and Often
After running food through your garbage disposal, let it run for a few seconds even after you think it’s finished doing its job. This is because if you turn your disposal off too soon, it might not have had adequate time to process everything you put in it. Whatever food residue gets left in the disposal will begin to rot there, causing the very odors you are trying to avoid. Remember to run your garbage disposal often as well. If you haven’t used your disposal for a few days, give it a quick run whether you have food waste to dispose of or not.
Garbage disposals are pretty tough little machines, but they do have their limits. Just because you can shove something down your drain and into the disposal doesn’t mean you should. Disposals process small pieces of food waste, not huge chunks of it. Of course, nobody ate the bundle of kale you’re health nut of an aunt brought to the family picnic, but don’t shove the entire thing in the garbage disposal all at once. Chop food into small pieces to give your disposal a hand and help ensure food waste goes far enough down the drain that you won’t smell it later.
Also, you should keep in mind that there are certain foods that you should not let go down the disposal. Although some things might be common sense, others—like pasta and potato peels—you might not think too much about before putting them down the drain. However, you should definitely avoid doing so.
Even with proper care and use, your garbage disposal may become clogged and stinky upon occasion. If a good cleaning and flushing doesn’t clear the problem, call a plumber for help. They can get your pipes flowing again so that you can go back to enjoying your kitchen.