How to fix a smelly kitchen sink - clean the garbage disposal

by | Dec 22, 2010 04:31 PM ET

We've seen two other posts on smelly sinks:

1) Why does my bathroom stink?

2) Funny... and gross – a drain cleaner that actually works

This one involves the kitchen. Here is how I discovered it...

This weekend the kids and I were moving the fish to a new, bigger aquarium. And we needed to save the gravel out of the old aquarium to do it. So we have a colander in the kitchen sink, with kid holding colander, with other kids helping pour gravel into colander and (you can see where this is heading...) about a pound of gravel ends up going down the drain. Which meant it went into the garbage disposal. But we didn't really think about how much gravel went down, and we had other stuff we needed to do anyway, so we kind of forgot about the gravel in the garbage disposal.

What this meant is that, a couple hours later, when Leigh innocently turned on the garbage disposal, it made a horrendous noise and then blew the circuit breaker. This gave David and I a weekend project - remove the garbage disposal and clean out the gravel. Which we did.

Modern garbage disposals are pretty easy to remove, and this one is only a year old, making it even easier. We had it out and on the counter for inspection in just a few minutes. But since it is only a year old, I was really surprised by 2 things:

  • The amount of scunge and muck that was stuck to the underside or the rubber flap that keeps food from flying back out of the garbage disposal
  • The amount of scunge in the horizontal drain pipe leading out of the garbage disposal.

This scunge, when wet, stinks. And the inside of a garbage disposal is almost always wet. So if your kitchen "smells funny", this could be one source of the smell. What you could do, periodically, is take out the garbage disposal and clean or replace that rubber flap, as well as the horizontal pipe.

In the following video, he shows a garbage disposal with a removable rubber flap. He also demonstrates the "lemon trick" for freshening a sink. If you have a model where the rubber flap pops out like that, life is good:

On our unit, the only way to remove the rubber flap is to remove the garbage disposal, as shown here:

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