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How to Fix A Stinky and Backed Up Garbage Disposal – Anatomy of a Garbage Disposal

One of the biggest complaints I hear about garbage disposals is a stinky or backed up garbage disposal.  Now if it were up to me, I might advise you to get rid of it but if you must have a garbage disposal then follow the below tips for helping a stinky or backed up garbage disposal.

If your garbage disposal gets clogged repeatedly, you may be putting too much down it at once. Try to feed scraps in slowly so that your garbage disposal can clear the previous batch before the next one comes in. You also need to make sure that you are running enough water while the garbage disposal is in action. An adequate water supply is essential to smoothly process waste. If you do not give it enough to work with it will quickly become clogged.

Your lines may become clogged by a number of items but you should never put the following down the garbage disposal:

  • Egg shells
  • Coffee grounds
  • Potato peels
  • Banana peels

Unpleasant odors coming from your garbage disposal are usually the result of food residue that has collected on and around the blades. You can often get rid of these by trying the below mentioned method. Despite the old wives talkes, never put lemon peelings or seeds of any kind down the garbage disposal.

How to Freshen A Stinky Garbage Disposal

  1. Turn on the tap to the hottest water possible. Turn on the garbage disposal  and let it run for about one minute.
  2. Turn off the garbage disposal. Lift up the rubber flaps and wipe each one  with a rag and soapy water. Rinse the flaps with clear  water.
  3. Pour ½ cup of baking soda down  the disposal if the smell remains. Follow this by pouring ½ cup white vinegar  into the disposal. Let the vinegar and baking soda sit in the disposal for at  least five minutes.
  4. Turn the tap on to the hottest water possible and flush out the disposal for  30 seconds


Tips on What to Look For When Buying a Garbage Disposal: You need a minimum, get a 1/2 HP unit and I really recommend a 3/4 HP disposal.  Having the power to grind food waste into tiny shreds and basically liquefy it is essential for the drainage system and ESPECIALLY for use with a septic system, as many homes around the Dallas and Ellis County area has.  Another feature that is important is overload protection that will turn off the motor if it begins to overheat.  The electrical Reset button will pop out and turn off the unit.  You also want an auto-reverse feature to prevent jamming.  Definitely get a unit with a flywheel turning wrench hole in the bottom so you can manually turn the disposal’s grinding flywheel if there is a jam.

If you need help with trouble shooting your garbage disposal or repairing your garbage disposal, just call Duncan Plumbing Solutions! We also offer a wide variety of new garbage disposals or we can install the new disposal.

User Comments ( 1 )

  • Drew

    These are some great tips. I would also add that freezing vinegar and grinding those up will prevent disposal smell from bacteria.

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