Informational Guide

How To Make A Garbage Disposal Smell Better

We investigate 5 different ways on how to make your garbage disposal smell better and get rid of those pesky odors whilst you’re cooking.

by Ian Haynes

The kitchen is an area where you'll be cooking with fresh ingredients and making delicious meals; hence, it's vital to keep the kitchen area along with all of its equipment both clean and smelling fresh.  

The garbage disposal, in particular, is an area that you should be cleaning regularly. If you’ve noticed that your garbage disposal is smelling a little funky, this guide can help. Here, we’ll provide you with everything you need to know about how to make your garbage disposal smell better and more.  

Wondering why your garbage disposal is smelling bad? Here are the most likely causes:  

  • Decomposing Food And Grease  
    Even though garbage disposals are meant to help dispose of food down the drain, it doesn’t mean that you should be shoving all of your food down the garbage disposal. If you do, it’s possible that those food particles are decomposing while clogging up the pipes and producing a foul odor. 
  • Mold And Bacteria  
    While the top of your garbage disposal may look clean, it’s possible that the underside of the rubber section of your garbage disposal is growing mold. After all, a warm and moist environment is the perfect breeding ground for mold and bacteria.  
  • Sewer Gases Or Stagnant Water  
    All if not most sinks come with a trap that holds water and prevents sewer gases from rising out of the drain. If there are blockages within your vent or other problems with your vent, it could cause these sewer gases to seep into your kitchen. Stagnant water could also cause foul smells in your garbage disposal.  
garbage Disposal Smell Better

Homemade Solutions You Can Try (Pouring Down the Sink)  

To get rid of those nasty smells, here are some homemade solutions that you can try at home:  


Ice is great at getting rid of foul smells. As a bonus, ice can also help with sharpening the blades of your garbage disposal. It’s also something you don’t have to go out and purchase, as it’s likely that you’ve got plenty of ice at home. Simply fill your garbage disposal with ice, let your garbage disposal do its thing, and you should be good to go.  


Another great homemade solution is citrus. Simply cut either a lemon, lime, or even an orange into small pieces and place them into the running garbage disposal. The fruit should help with washing away any foul odors and replacing it with a fresh citrus smell.  

How To Make My Garbage Disposal Smell Better

Vinegar and Baking Soda

You can’t go wrong with vinegar and baking soda. All you’ve got to do is turn on your garbage disposal before pouring down a cup of dry baking soda. Then, flush the baking soda away with a cup of distilled white vinegar. Wait for a little, and the foul smells should be gone.  


If you're using bleach, make sure that it's a mild product and ensure that the water is running. Then, start by pouring just a little bleach down the garbage disposal as the cold water runs, and it should both erase the scent and help to dislodge any food particles that might be stuck in the pipes.  

Garbage Disposal Cleaning Products

If none of the above home remedies suit, you can also find specialty garbage disposal cleaning products that are specially designed for ensuring that your garbage disposals smell better. They're typically made with various ingredients and are good at getting rid of any nasty smells. 

How To Permanently Make Your Garbage Disposal Smell Better 

While the above homemade solutions are a good start to making your garbage disposal smell better, you can’t always just pour a solution down a garbage disposal and expect the smell to stay away forever.

Sometimes, there’s more effort required in cleaning a garbage disposal that smells - especially if it’s old.  

Below are some recommendations on how to clean a garbage disposal that smells.  

Replace the rubber collar at the top  

As mold and bacteria can grow in the rubber collar of your garbage disposal and cause a foul odor, replacing the rubber collar is always a good idea. This particular rubber collar is a good option as it not only has an antimicrobial feature that will inhibit the growth of bacteria, but it'll also help to reduce the noise of your garbage disposal and prevent food and water from splashing upward.

Best of all, you can also easily remove it and place it in the dishwasher for cleaning.  

Use a foaming cleanser  

What it comes to how to make your garbage disposal smell better, a foaming cleaner is always a good option. This foaming cleaner comes with 40 packets and even has the addition of bleach. All you’ve got to do is place this in the disposer every month, and it’ll remove and clean that garbage disposal smell.  

Use a garbage disposal brush

This universal garbage disposal brush is one of the must-haves in your kitchen when it comes to how to make a stinky garbage disposal smell better. Not only will it eliminate residual food waste inside the garbage disposal, but it’ll also help to break up any gunk and debris. Once you’re done brushing your garbage disposal, simply rinse your brush under the faucet or place it in a dishwasher, and you’re good to go.  

Specialist deodorizing balls  

Deodorizing balls are incredibly easy to use and one of the best solutions for how to remove odor from a garbage disposal. These deodorizing balls will not only remove sink buildup, but it’ll also effectively unclog disposals and deodorize. It's also quick and easy to use. Simply place it in the garbage disposal with some running water while turning the garbage disposal on, and you'll be all set.  

Replace the disposal 

If you've tried all the methods above but you can't seem to make your stinky garbage disposal smell better, it's probably time for you to replace your garbage disposal with a new one.

Garbage Disposal Smells

5 Tips for Keeping Garbage Disposals Clean  

Here are a couple of tips on keeping your garbage disposal clean and preventing it from becoming smelly in the first place.  

  • 1. Clean your garbage disposal regularly  
    After you’ve used your garbage disposal, you should run it for at least five seconds until the grinding noise levels out. If you end up stopping the blades early, food will end up lodged in your garbage disposal and cause unpleasant smells. You should also occasionally (every two weeks or so) place ice cubes or lemon peels down your garbage disposal to keep it clean.  
  • 2. Avoid putting down certain foods   
    While it might be tempting to shove everything down the garbage disposal, certain foods are not suited for the garbage disposal. Such foods include potato and carrot peels, grease, coffee grounds, and eggshells. Fibrous and starchy foods, in particular, can wrap themselves around the blades and cause buildups.  
  • 3. Use cleaning products   
    You can use cleaning products such as a garbage disposal brush as well as foaming cleaners to keep your garbage disposal squeaky clean. These items don’t cost much and will help prevent your garbage disposal from emitting any foul smells. You can clean your garbage disposal every two weeks or so, or even every week if you’re using your garbage disposal often.  
  • 4. Replace rubber collars   
    Whenever your rubber collars start to tear or break apart, it's time to replace them. Fortunately, replacing rubber collars is a relatively easy process, and they're also inexpensive.  
  • 5. Consider using a ‘Disposal Genie’  
    Disposal Genies are great to have for your garbage disposal as they prevent large food particles from entering your garbage disposal. Due to its unique design, only small particles of food and water can flow freely into the garbage disposal.  

People Also Ask (FAQs)

What are the worst foods to put down a garbage disposal?  

You shouldn't be putting coffee grounds down the garbage disposal as well as starchy ingredients. Also, avoid animal bones, nuts and shells, eggshells along with fruits and vegetables that are fibrous. Read our full article on what NOT to put down the food disposer.

Should you run hot or cold water down the garbage disposal?  

You can run hot water down the drain after you’ve used your garbage disposal, but you should only use cold water when you’re doing the grinding process. Remember to also avoid putting grease, fat, or any fibrous waste into the garbage disposal!  

Can a garbage disposal make your dishwasher stink?  

In some cases, it is possible. If there are issues with the air brake, the water will go back into the dishwasher and cause it to stink. If this happens, though, it means that your garbage disposal is no longer working correctly.  

Will vinegar clean a garbage disposal?  

Yes, you can use vinegar as part of your home remedy. You wouldn't just be using vinegar on its own, though. Instead, you'll be combining it with baking soda. After you've poured baking soda and vinegar down your garbage disposal, let it bubble for a while before turning on the water and garbage disposal.  


As seen in this article, there’s plenty that you can do to prevent your garbage disposal from emitting a foul smell. By cleaning your garbage disposal and ensuring you're not disposing of certain foods, you'll be able to maintain the condition of your garbage disposal and ensure that it'll last for many years to come.  

Ian Haynes is an expert writer who has successfully deployed over 500 plumbing pages and other related content. He has an excellent understanding of home plumbing issues and translates his experiences via Plumbing Lab so readers can have a better understanding of common household problems. Outside of his work, Ian likes exploring Brooklyn with his Labrador.