Carefree Home Watch offers homeowners the following tips to stop smelly garbage disposal odors and to prevent freeze-ups.  Many homeowners use their garbage disposal as a trash chute and toss anything and everything into the disposal.  Not a great idea.  Maintaining your disposal requires some good habits and regular maintenance to keep it from rusting out, freezing up, and stinking to high heaven.

Number one misconception

Most homeowners think that hot water will aid in the disposal’s function and grinding process.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Hot water causes the grease in foods to dissolve, liquefy, stick to the blades and coagulate inside pipes.  It is best to use cold water when grinding food waste because this will help stop food grease and oils from solidifying in your plumbing and causing blockages.

Ways to keep your disposal smelling great

It’s this simple.  Chop up a lemon, orange, or grapefruit and run it through.  The acidic content of the fruit will clean your disposal.  Still, having a foul odor?  Use baking soda or a drain-safe cleaning product.  Let it sit for an hour and rinse with hot water.  The best household garbage disposal cleaner is 3 tablespoons of salt to 1 cup of lemon juice, let it sit in the disposer overnight and rinse the following morning. Try doing this a least once a month for a fresh smell all the time.

Know what you can put in the disposal

  • Always use cold water
  • Never put cooking oil or grease in the disposal, or animal bones
  • Avoid high fiber foods; celery skins, onion skins, artichokes, and even lettuce

Checklist for a healthy garbage disposal

  1. Never use hot water when grinding; always use cold water
  1. Use your disposal regularly; preferably daily
  1. Never add bleach or chemical drain cleaners; advances the rusting of the disposal
  1. Once or twice a month toss in a handful of ice cubes and run the disposal; try it
  1. Cut up half of a citrus fruit (lemons or oranges) and grind once a month; leaves a fresh clean scent
  1. Every two weeks add two parts vinegar to one part baking soda; let sit 30 minutes, rinse

How to fix a jammed or Non-functioning Disposal

If you turn on the disposal and it does not run there are a few quick items to check.  First, try resetting the RESET button.  This is found on the bottom of most disposals and you just press it to reset it.  Now, try to run the disposal.  Still not running? Try this next step:  First, make sure the power to the disposal is off, and then use a hex tool that is generally included in your disposal purchase (most builders leave them lying on the cabinet base after installation) or you can get one at any hardware center.  On the disposal underside in the center of the device you will find a small hole; insert the hex tool and turn it back and forth several times and if the jam is not too serious, this will loosen it up.  Still, frozen up?  You will likely need to replace the disposal and call a qualified plumber to assist you.

Contact Us

Carefree Home Watch is a professional Home Watch service for unoccupied and vacant homes and investment properties in Fort Myers, Estero, and Sanibel Island, FL.  For more information about Carefree Home Watch please visit us at; or call us at 239-234-1847 for a free in-home consultation.