HomeBlogWhy Does My Garbage Disposal Smell and How to Fix it

Why Does My Garbage Disposal Smell and How to Fix it

Have you ever walked into your kitchen and noticed a strange, unpleasant smell but couldn’t quite pinpoint where it was coming from? It’s a frustrating experience that many of us have had to deal with. But did you know that one of the most common culprits for this odor is your garbage disposal? That’s right, the same appliance that is supposed to keep your kitchen clean and tidy could be the source of that foul smell. 

Why is your garbage disposal stinky?

If your garbage disposal smells bad, it could mean there’s rotting food or sewage leaking. Some common reasons for the bad smell are broken garbage disposal, mold, and decomposing food. Let’s break it down, or should I say drain it down! 

Broken Garbage Disposal 

If your garbage disposal isn’t working right, it might not be getting rid of your food scraps like it’s supposed to. This could cause the food waste to pile up and rot, blocking your drains. You might be tempted to use chemicals to break down the scraps, but that could make things worse by damaging them and leaving some of the yucky stuff (organic matter) behind. The smart thing to do is give I Fix Pipe a call to help give you the answers you need for your garbage disposal and to see what needs fixing.

Rotten/Decomposing food

Garbage disposals have the ability to clean themselves, but leftover bits of food may remain if the blades are dull or if the wrong items are placed in the garbage disposal. Additionally, extended periods of not using the disposal or lack of warm water while running the disposal can contribute to scraps remaining in the disposal, which can rot and produce unpleasant odors if not removed within a few days. Regularly cleaning your garbage disposal can prevent and eliminate foul smells.

Mold Buildup 

If your garbage disposal has a moldy or musty smell, it is likely due to mold or mildew buildup in your sink and drain. This can happen if you put food in the drain without running the disposal or not running it long enough. Mold thrives in warm, moist environments, making garbage disposals a common breeding ground. Mixing warm water, vinegar, and baking soda can eliminate mold. You can also remove the smell by cleaning the underside of the garbage disposal.

Sewage leak

If you detect a sewage-like smell coming from your garbage disposal, it’s time to call a plumber for assistance. Although you may be able to eliminate the odor temporarily, there’s probably a leak that needs to be fixed sooner rather than later. Ignoring this issue could result in additional problems or inconveniences in the future. Therefore, it’s best to address the problem immediately to prevent further damage and have your money go down the drain for what could’ve been an easy fix. 

You Shouldn’t Put These Down the Drain

Foul odors from garbage disposals often result from discarding unsuitable food items in the garbage disposal. These items may accumulate and cause blockages in the drains, leading to more complicated and difficult-to-fix problems. To ensure disposal effectiveness and avoid unpleasant smells, refrain from disposing of these foods in your garbage disposal and discard them in the trash or compost pile instead.

Here are items to avoid putting down the garbage disposal

  • Coffee grounds 
  • Grease
  • Eggshells
  • Onion/Potato Skins
  • Hard Foods
  • Dry expandable foods


Stinky garbage disposals are often caused by decomposing food, a broken garbage disposal, mold buildup, or a sewage leak. Regular cleaning and maintenance of your garbage disposal can help prevent unpleasant odors. It’s also important to be mindful of what you put down the drain to avoid blockages and more complicated problems. At I Fix Pipe, we have plumbing experts ready to help solve those annoying, smelly garbage disposal issues. Whatever they are, I Fix Pipe can help. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment. 


Call (432) 559-1000 — find out how I Fix Pipe can assist you with your plumbing and garbage disposal needs!

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