How Fishy Smell Came Out Your Garbage Disposal

The garbage disposal is a magical device that makes your kitchen smell like a landfill and gives you nightmares.

It’s also a trash compactor, meaning it can take all the waste you’ve been putting in your garbage can and compact it into a tiny little brick that fits into the bottom of your garbage can. I know what you’re thinking: “This is amazing! This will save so much space in my kitchen!”

And then you turn on the garbage disposal, and it starts grinding up all those tiny little bricks and sending them flying around in your sink. But, sometimes, things get stuck in between, so you have to pull out the disposal every time you want to utilize it (and then clean up all those little crumbs). And then, when you move to another house and try to sell it, your potential buyer asks, “Why does garbage disposal smell like dead fish?”

We’ve all been there. But don’t panic just yet. Fishy smells in your garbage disposal can be caused by a number of different things. 

So in this article, Mr. Expert Plumbing will help you figure out what’s going on with your garbage disposal, how to fix it, and some essential prevention tips to avoid the smelly buildup of food in the pipes.

What causes a fishy smell from garbage disposal?

If your garbage disposal is giving off a foul odor, it may be because of one of the following things:

Accumulated Food Waste

One of the most common causes of smelly garbage disposal is accumulated food waste. If you have been using your disposal for a while and notice it is starting to smell, it is time to clean it. 

Bacterial Growth

As with any small area that has been neglected, bacteria will start growing in your garbage disposal if you don’t clean it out regularly. This smell can be especially strong if you have pets or small children who drop their food into the disposal instead of putting it in a bowl or plate!

Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG)

If your disposal is smelly, it may be time to check your pipes for fat build-up. The pipes leading to your disposal are almost always made of metal, so they’re not great at keeping grease away from the blades. If you’ve got a lot of FOG in your kitchen sink, there’s likely some building up in your drainpipes as well.

Clogged or Dirty Drain Pipes

Garbage disposals are designed for grinding food scraps into tiny pieces that can make their way through the drain pipe and into sewage systems—but only if everything works correctly! If you’ve got clogs or other problems with your pipes, then your garbage disposal may get clogged with food scraps and not do its job properly. Your best bet is to call a Salt Lake City Garbage Disposal Expert who can clear out any blockages while they’re at it!

Old or Worn-out Components

A garbage disposal often lasts 10 to 15 years, depending on how often you use it and the quality of your water. If your garbage disposal starts to smell like rotten eggs, it’s probably time for a new garbage disposal installation.

Insufficient Cleaning

Garbage disposals are pretty much like your kitchen sink: they need regular cleaning to prevent buildup and clogging. If you’re not doing this regularly enough, you’re going to have a problem with odor.

Sewer Gas Backflow

If you’ve ever smelled sewage or had a sewer backup, then you know what sewer gas is—and if that’s happening in your pipes, there’s a chance it could be coming out of your sink, too (or vice versa). This can happen for many reasons, but one thing all of them have in common is that they’re not caused by food waste! So if you’ve got this problem, don’t blame it on dinner—it’ll just make things worse if you do!

Tools & Material You’ll Need To Learn How To Clean Smelly Garbage Disposal

The smell of garbage is enough to make any person nauseous. The smell of garbage in your kitchen sink can be enough to make you vomit. If you’ve ever had to learn how to fix a smelly garbage disposal, you’ll need the following:

  • Rubber Gloves: Wearing rubber gloves will protect your hands from any debris or bacteria in the garbage disposal.
  • Flashlight: A flashlight will help you see inside the garbage disposal to locate any clogs or buildup.
  • Long-Handled Brush or Bottle Brush: A long-handled brush or bottle brush will be useful for scrubbing the inside of the garbage disposal and removing any residue.
  • White Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Ice Cubes
  • Citrus Peels
  • Boiling Water
  • Dish Soap

How to Fix Smelly Garbage Disposal?

If you’ve ever opened the sink and smelled a bad odor, your garbage disposal is probably the culprit.

Garbage disposals are one of those appliances that can be tricky to maintain—you don’t want to use too much water or food, but you also don’t want it to smell horrible all the time either.

Luckily, there are a few steps you can take to learn how to make garbage disposal smell better. Follow these steps:

Disconnect Power.

Turn off the power to your garbage disposal, and make sure it’s not plugged in. Use a flashlight to check for loose cords, especially if multiple outlets are nearby. If you’re still having trouble, try shutting off the circuit breaker for your appliance.

Remove Debris.

Now that your garbage disposal is turned off, you can start cleaning out any debris that might be blocking its blades. Use a flashlight to see inside the unit and remove anything that might be stuck there (such as large food scraps).

Clean with Vinegar and Baking Soda.

Next: clean out your garbage disposal by running some vinegar through it. Use baking soda and vinegar in a 1:1 ratio to clean out your garbage disposal. Pour this mixture into the disposal and run cold water while it’s in there for 30 seconds at a time until it no longer smells like sulfur or rotten eggs. Then, after rinsing out your sink, drain with hot water, add about half a cup of baking soda to the disposal, turn on the power, and let it grind up for about 30 seconds. You’ll know if this step worked because… well… there won’t be any smell left when you finish!

Scrub the Disposal.

After you have cleaned out all of the gunk from inside your drain pipe, take some time to clean the inside of your disposal. You can do this with a toothbrush or other small scrubbing tool that you can get inside your disposal without having to take it apart (if possible). If not, don’t worry—you can always take apart your disposal if necessary! Just make sure you put all those little screws back where they go before putting everything back together again!

Freshen with Citrus Peels.

Citrus peels are the perfect way to learn how to make your garbage disposal smell better. Just toss a few lemon or orange peels into your drain and let them sit for at least an hour before running hot water through it. The citrus oil will break down any lingering smells, leaving you with a fresh smell.

Flush with Boiling Water. 

If you have a clog in your garbage disposal, put some hot water down the drain and let it be there for around 15-20 minutes before running the disposal again. This will loosen up any food particles that may be causing the clog so they can go down more easily when you run your disposal again later on.

Maintain Regularly.

Disposals should be maintained at least once a week—more often if you notice that it’s getting smelly more quickly than usual. This can be done by grinding ice cubes or simply running half a lemon down the drain. Using this method daily can help prevent buildup on the blades of your disposal, which can affect its performance and cause odor problems in the future. If you don’t want to do all the stuff alone, you should hire a garbage disposal installation and repair expert.

What not to put in your garbage disposal?

While garbage disposal can handle many types of food waste, there are certain items that should never be put into a garbage disposal. Avoid putting the following items in your garbage disposal and prevent it from smelling bad:

Grease, Oils, and Fats

First of all, grease is the enemy of your garbage disposal. It’s thick, sticky, and hard to wash out of your pipes. If you pour it down the drain, it can clog up the pipes and cause problems for everyone on that block. So don’t put grease down there! Also, oils and fats tend to get rancid very quickly—even if you pour them down a sink full of hot water first—so they’re best left out of the equation entirely.

Fibrous Vegetables

Fibrous vegetables like celery or corn husks are not only loaded with water content but also tend to wrap around your drain pipes and even form blockages if they get caught between the blades of your garbage disposal.

Starchy Foods

Fried foods, bread, and pasta are great for your stomach but not so good for your garbage disposal. They can clog up the drain pipes and cause them to get stuck. The best way to avoid this problem is to cut these foods up into small pieces before putting them in your garbage disposal. If you’re using a food processor or blender, be sure to put those items in a separate bowl first so they don’t go down your sink, either! 

Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds are another common culprit when it comes to clogging up drains because they can create a paste that sticks to the inside surfaces of pipes over time. To avoid this problem entirely, try using hot water instead of cold water for brewing coffee—this will prevent any grounds from sticking together as much as possible! 


Eggshells are a no-no in the garbage disposal because they can scratch the blades.


Bones should never go down the disposal because they can damage your pipes and the disposal itself.

Non-Food Items

The main reason you shouldn’t put non-food items in the garbage disposal is that they don’t break down. Instead, they get caught up in the blades and eventually jam your entire system. This can cause damage to your pipes or, even worse, lead to a leak or flooding!


Things like bleach, acetone (nail polish remover), paint thinner, gasoline, and other chemicals should never go down into your garbage disposal because they can corrode the metal parts inside and cause them to corrode faster than normal.


If you have questions about garbage disposal installation, repair, or replacement, here’s a list of our most frequently asked questions.

How does the garbage disposal work?

You can think of it like a giant blender for your food waste—it grinds up everything from vegetable peels to leftover chicken bones and turns them into liquid sludge that can be easily flushed down the drain.

What happens if my garbage disposal leaks?

Call a plumber right away! They will come to your home and make sure your pipes are safe and that there isn’t any damage to them or your home.

My garbage disposal is not working properly anymore—what should I do?

If you’re having trouble with your garbage disposal, try turning off all power at the breaker box and then resetting the circuit breaker two or three times before plugging anything back in again. If this doesn’t work, you’ll want to call up one of our trained technicians right away so they can come out and look at what’s going on with your unit.

Can I install my own garbage disposal?

You sure can! Just make sure you know what size it needs to be for your sink and where to put it. We recommend hiring a professional plumber if you’re not familiar with plumbing or electrical work. They’ll know how to take care of any issues that might arise during garbage disposal installation so you don’t get any shocks later on down the road.

I don’t know what kind of garbage disposal I need—how do I choose?

At Mr. Expert Plumbing, we’ll help you figure out which model works best for your needs and budget. We can also show you some models that might be more durable or easier to maintain than others.

How much does it cost to install a garbage disposal?

It depends on what kind of disposal you want and how much labor we need to do. But rest assured that our service is affordable and reliable, so there’s no need to worry about spending too many dollars on something like this. We have lots of experience with different brands, so when you come in for an appointment for a garbage disposal installation or repair appointment, our technicians will know exactly what kind of model will work perfectly for your home and budget.

It’s Time for New Garbage Disposal Installation!

Garbage disposals are necessary for every kitchen and are also one of the most dangerous appliances you can use. If they don’t work properly, they can cause big problems—and even worse, they can break down and leave you with a mess that needs to be cleaned up. That’s why keeping your garbage disposal running smoothly is so important.

Luckily, Mr. Expert Plumbing is here to help you out! We specialize in providing quick and easy Garbage Disposal Services in Salt Lake City that will keep your kitchen running in a smooth manner for years to come. We know how stressful it can be when your garbage disposal isn’t working properly, so we’ll do everything possible to install your new unit as quickly as possible.

Our team of professionals will get your home back on its feet in no seconds with our affordable services that include:

– Garbage Disposal Installation

– Water heater Installation, Repair, and Replacement

– Leak Detection

– Faucet Repair and Installation

– Clogged Drain Cleaning

– Commercial Plumbing Services

– 24*7 Emergency Plumbing Service

Our licensed and insured experts are here to help you through every step of the process, from assessing the problem to repairing or replacing your garbage disposal, so you can be sure that everything is working properly again. In fact, we offer a free quote for any plumbing job—that’s how confident we are that we’ll do an amazing job for you!

So don’t waste any more time trying to figure out how to get your smelly garbage disposal working again. Just pick up the phone now and call (801) 560-8207 for Garbage Disposal Installation services in Salt Lake City!

Schedule Service Now!

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