Garbage Disposal Smells Like Sewage? 3 Magic Cleaning Tips

Does your garbage disposal smell like sewage, and it’s stinking up your kitchen?

How inconvenient! One of the key elements any kitchen must have is a pleasant smell that not only opens your appetite but also invites others to join you.

I know having a stinky garbage disposal messing with your home’s Feng Shui can be very annoying. Especially if you’re having people over, or are simply tired of the terrible smell.

But don’t worry, you want answers, and you won’t leave without them. Below, I’ve prepared a list with 3 cleaning tips and good practices that will get rid of the sewage smell coming from your appliance.

When your garbage disposal smells like sewage, try checking the food you’re throwing in it, pouring some cleaning solutions down the drain, or calling a plumber as a last resort.

Keep reading for a fresh kitchen!

#1 Check Your Food

Let’s start off by making sure that you’re throwing the right foods into your disposal. I know it might be hard to believe that a rotating machine with sharp blades can have trouble processing anything. But there are many things that can create problems for your appliance.

The first thing you want to avoid pouring down the drain is oil, as it not only contaminates hundreds of litters of water but also has the potential to create blockages on your sewer lines as time goes by.

The same goes for fibrous or stringy foods, like celery, banana peels, or pasta, as any of them can easily become tangled on your appliance’s blades, creating excessive strain on the motor. This can not only decrease its lifespan significantly but also make it less efficient.

Chopped vegetables
Not all foods are garbage disposal-friendly

So, if your garbage disposal smells like sewage, chances are there is rotting food residue stuck to the pipes, the blades, and the motor of the appliance.

Solution: The best way to get rid of most debris and grease spots is by pouring cleaning solutions down the drain. This will be discussed in the next section. For now, try watching a little more closely what you throw into the disposal to avoid future issues.

#2 Pour a Cleaning Solution Down the Drain

When it comes to substances to clean your garbage disposal, there are several brands and products you can go with. A lot of people seem to like Drano, as it does a terrific job at unclogging all sorts of pipes, eliminating sink drain gurgling, and removing stuck residue from food or oil.

However, the downside to using this cleaning solution is that, after all, it’s made from various chemicals which can contaminate a lot of water and isn’t the most natural substance out there.

If you’re environmentally conscious, you could try pouring a solution of baking soda and vinegar down into the appliance. This should get rid of even the toughest grease spots and can also go a long way in removing food debris that might be stuck on the way down.

Baking soda and vinegar
Cleaning your garbage disposal often is critical

Solution: Ideally, you’ll want to pour this solution into your appliance at least once every two weeks. This will help reduce bacteria buildup on the duct, and the blades, while also aiding in keeping your piping unobstructed.

Provided that rotting food or degrading oil is what’s making your garbage disposal smell like sewage, this should take care of everything.

#3 Call a Plumber

Lastly, let’s address the elephant in the room.

When all else fails, there might be something more serious going on in your home’s sewer lines and piping structure. Regardless of how handy you are, checking on this usually requires the help of an expert.

I’d advise against putting this off, as having your garbage disposal smell like sewage could be the first sign of a major blockage that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

A plastic P-Trap
Plumbing issues are no joke. Call a professional as soon as you suspect something’s wrong

Solution: While you’ll need a professional plumber to take a closer look at this and fix the problem, you can diagnose somewhat accurately what’s going on before the expert arrives.

If the smell is only coming from your garbage disposal (as opposed to your bathroom and shower), chances are the P-Trap on your kitchen sink is dry, which could be letting unpleasant sewer gases pass through your piping.

Planning ahead can save you a lot of time and money.


When your garbage disposal smells like sewage, entering your kitchen can feel like daily torture to your nose.

Luckily, I hope this piece has helped you see that, in many cases, addressing the main causes behind this situation is very easy. More often than not, throwing only the right foods into your garbage disposal, and using a cleaning solution to remove tough grease spots, should do the trick.

Thank you very much for sticking with me all the way to the end. If this article piqued your interest and was helpful, it’ll make you glad to know that there’s new content to learn from every week.

Make sure to check out our other incredible resources below, where you’ll find all sorts of troubleshooting guides, as well as must-know life hacks, including alternatives to plumber’s tape when you have a leak.

Have a great week!

Hi there! I’m Craig, and I’m the founder of Appliance Analysts. When it comes to appliances and anything electrical, I’ve always loved opening things up, figuring out how they work, and fixing them. This website is where I share free advice from myself and our experts to help our readers solve their appliance/HVAC problems and save money. Read more