Some days, your garbage disposal ranks high on your list of favorite kitchen amenities.

Other days, its dreadful odor sends it right to the bottom of the ranks.

The smell is unpleasant, and the clogs that follow don’t make things any better.

Nevertheless, you’re probably the cause. Here’s what you need to know about your garbage disposal and how to keep it from smelling awful.

Where did that smell come from?

Contrary to popular belief, your garbage disposal isn’t exactly full of sharp blades or knives. It’s made up of two chambers — one upper, one lower — that work in tandem to help you dispose of unwanted food.

When the food enters the disposal, it falls into the upper chamber and is forced through a sort of plate-like flywheel that contains many holes. The top is connected to smaller impeller blades that will mush up food and pass it through the holes in the flywheel.

When the food passes, it’s typically liquefied and collected in the bottom chamber. Eventually, it will drain out, never to be seen again.

Yet sometimes, food isn’t fit for the garbage disposal. A clog and foul smell come next. Fibrous foods, foods that clump easily or anything that isn’t food are definite don’ts for your disposal.

What can I do about it?

A quick way to get rid of a garbage disposal smell is to eliminate the source of the problem. Try running a few ice cubes through the disposal, but make sure the water is running when you put them in and turn on the disposal. Be careful — doing this may release some particles or discolored water. Either dispose of anything extra in the trash or wait for the water to flow back down.

Citrus fruits can also do wonders for your disposal. Place small pieces at a time inside your disposal, with the water running. It’s fine if you use parts of the peel, too. Not only will this help clear out any debris, but it will also give off a nice fresh scent into your kitchen.

How do I prevent it in the future?

The best way to get rid of smelly garbage disposal is to get right to the root of the problem. Be cautious of what you’re putting down the drain, and be careful not to force anything down that shouldn’t be in there. Running the disposal regularly will help it function properly while using cold water will assist in moving things along.

Fats, oils or grease should never be put down the disposal. It’s also a good idea to take preventative measures, even if you don’t have a clog in the first place! Try putting ice, and then citrus fruits, through the disposal once per month in order to keep the garbage disposal working properly.

If you’re experiencing a slow-flowing drain or garbage disposal issue, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® of Dallas can help. We’re experts in a variety of plumbing services, and we’re available 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a service!