In a perfect world, your garbage disposal is a mean, clean, grinding machine. But without proper maintenance, over time, it’s likely to become your kitchen’s #1 source of noxious odors.

If a stenchy (or subpar!) disposal is doing your kitchen dirty, today’s Homeowner Hack is for you! We’ll be covering:

  1. How to fight even the worst disposal stench
  2. How to prolong the life of your disposal
  3. Three things to try when it just won’t turn on


Ready to DIY your disposal like a Homeowner Hero? Let’s get to the hacks!

As you use your disposal, all sorts of food debris, liquids, grease, soaps, and other substances pass through the equipment. Your disposal is a metal, mechanical system, so it can quickly become a bacteria haven—unless you keep it clean and clear.

The longer moisture and debris sit on the metal components of your disposal, the more rust and corrosion can occur. That’s why running your disposal often—and keeping it junk-and-gunk-free—is crucial for the longevity of your unit.

Try these two simple hacks to slow that smelly build-up:

  1. For light odors, try pouring a mix of vinegar and baking soda into your disposal and letting that stench-stopping blend sit overnight. This can help fight those odors for a few days, in between cleaning sessions.
  2. For long-term bacteria-busting power, pick up a garbage disposal cleaner from your local hardware store. Just drop a pod into the disposal, let the foamy cleaner sit overnight, then rinse it away the next morning.

These odor-fighting solutions can make your disposal more pleasant to live with, but they aren’t enough to keep your system running at peak efficiency. For that, you’ll need a couple more hacks.

These three Homeowner Hacks will prolong the life of your disposal.

Garbage disposals tend to last anywhere from 8-15 years, with proper maintenance. Follow these tips to keep your disposal in peak condition for years to come:

  1. To sharpen and clean your disposal’s blades, try running ice cubes through the system every few months. This dislodges the debris buildup and improves water flow through your system. Just drop a cup of ice down the disposal, run cold water over the ice, let your disposal run for 2-3 minutes (prepare for the noise!), then turn it off. Now your blades are clean, sharp, and ready for action!
  2. To prevent a buildup of rust, activate your garbage disposal at least once a week—even if it’s empty. Run cold water through the disposal for a few minutes every week to prevent stagnant water and debris from causing long-term damage to your blades.
  3. Use cold water when possible. Hot water will melt the grease and fats that flow through your disposal. Once they cool, they’ll harden inside your unit, creating a gross, stinky buildup. Use cold water when rinsing your dishes to allow fats and solids to wash through the system more easily.

Disposal won’t turn on? Try these hacks first!

  1. Double check the connection between your garbage disposal button and the unit itself. The hose that connects your countertop button to your under-sink unit can disconnect when jostled by the items under your sink. A simple reconnection should get your disposal back up and running in no time!
  2. Disposal switch not working? Check your breaker! If your disposal is operated by an on-and-off switch on the wall, but just won’t turn on, you might have a tripped breaker. Here’s how to fix it! 
  3. Jammed blade? Get it moving again with your disposal wrench. Your garbage disposal should come with a special wrench designed to manually turn the inner blades. You can also pick up this universal tool at your local hardware store. Simply insert that wrench in the slot on the bottom of your disposal, give it a good hearty turn (this will take a strong hand!), and free the blades from the jam. Now your blades should rotate freely again.

Still can’t get your disposal going again? Just Call Burton!

Typically, garbage disposal repairs and replacements are simple, quick, and cost-effective. We’ll take a look at your system, diagnose the issue, and get it fixed, fast!

To schedule service or ask a question about your own garbage disposal, Just Call Burton at (402) 343-0011.