Garbage disposals are an amazing invention. They allow us to take some of the food we eat and make it disappear, along with other things cluttering our kitchen.

But disposals also work by grinding up food and sending it through a drain pipe. This can leave behind some smelly waste that can get stuck in the pipes of your sink or disposal, causing a horrible odor to permeate your home. 

If you don’t know how to fix a smelly garbage disposal, then this article is for you.

In this post, garbage disposal installation or replacement experts in Winchester, VA, will discuss the causes of a Fishy Smell from Garbage Disposals and provide some essential tips on how to make garbage disposal smell better. 

So, without further ado, let’s take a look.

What Causes Fishy Smell from Garbage Disposal?

Garbage disposals typically work great and are a simple way to get rid of food waste. They usually don’t need much maintenance and can be easily cleaned with a simple rinse under the sink. However, if you start noticing a fishy smell coming from your garbage disposal, it is time to clean it.

There are a few different reasons why your garbage disposal might start smelling like fish, so we’re going to go over them below. Here are ten possible causes of a fishy smell from garbage disposal:

Leftover seafood

Seafood such as fish, shrimp, and scallops may have a strong odor when they’re fresh. They can also give off an unpleasant smell if they’re left in the garbage disposal too long. This is because seafood contains proteins that break down into ammonia when exposed to air for too long—and we all know what ammonia smells like!

Food buildup

If you use your garbage disposal regularly without cleaning it out regularly, it could start to build up food particles on its blades over time. These food particles will eventually start to rot inside your disposal unit, which will cause an unpleasant odor similar to rotten eggs (hydrogen sulfide).

Insufficient cleaning

Insufficient cleaning is one of the most common causes of a fishy smell from your garbage disposal. If you don’t regularly clean out your garbage disposal, food particles can build up and give the drain an odor.

Clogged or dirty drain pipes

Clogged or dirty drain pipes are another common cause of a fishy smell from your garbage disposal. If there are any holes or cracks in your drain pipes, water can leak into the pipes, making them smell like rotten eggs and creating a breeding ground for bacteria.

Flushing inadequately

When you add food to the disposal, it should run for about 30 seconds. This allows the water to wash away any remaining food particles that could cause odors in the future.

Fats and oils

The fats and oils in our foods can build up inside the pipes of our kitchen sinks and cause unpleasant smells. If this happens frequently enough, it may be time for some maintenance on those pipes!

Decomposing organic matter

If organic material, such as fruits or vegetables, has been left in the disposal for too long, it can decompose and create an unpleasant odor.

Inadequate ventilation

Poor ventilation around the garbage disposal area can trap odors and make them more noticeable.

Sewer line issues

While less common, a fishy smell from the garbage disposal could indicate a problem with the sewer line, such as a broken pipe or a blockage, allowing sewer gases to escape into the house.

Previous plumbing issues

If there have been past plumbing issues or backups in the drain system, lingering odors can sometimes be released through the garbage disposal.

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

We know it’s not easy to deal with the smell of garbage. And we know that you want to be able to clean it up as fast as possible.

That’s why we’ve put together a list of the tools and materials you’ll need to learn how to clean a smelly garbage disposal.

  • Rubber gloves: To protect your hands while working with the garbage disposal.
  • Safety goggles: It’s recommended to wear safety goggles to secure your eyes while working on the disposal.
  • Flashlight: To help you see inside the disposal unit.
  • Cleaning brush or toothbrush
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Citrus peels
  • Ice cubes
  • Dish soap
  • Boiling water
  • Pliers or hex wrench
  • A small bowl or pan for your cleaning solution
  • Paper towels (or another type of rag)

How to Clean Smelly Garbage Disposal?

Garbage disposals are a great convenience, but sometimes the smell can be a bit much. If the smell is coming from your garbage disposal, you can do a few different things to get rid of it. Try the following steps to learn how to get the smell out of garbage disposal:

Safety first

Before you begin, make sure to turn off the power to the garbage disposal at the circuit breaker to avoid any accidental activation.

Remove visible debris

Use tongs, pliers, or another suitable tool to remove any large visible debris or food particles that may be lingering in the disposal unit. Be cautious and avoid putting your hands directly into the disposal.

Clean a Smelly Garbage Disposal with Baking Soda and Vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar are two of the most widely used household items, so they’re great for getting rid of odors in your garbage disposal. Here’s how to do it:

Fill the garbage disposal with 1/2 cup baking soda, turn on the water, and let it run for a few seconds. Pour 1 cup of white vinegar into the sink drain. Let sit for 15 minutes, then flush with hot water (for tough odors).

Clean a Smelly Garbage Disposal with Ice Cubes and Salt

Here’s another popular tip for cleaning out your garbage disposal: fill it up with ice cubes and salt, give them a whirl, then rinse them down with warm water. The ice melts and cleans out any gunk that might be stuck in there, and the salt helps rinse any remaining food particles out of your drain system.

Clean a Smelly Garbage Disposal with Citrus Peels

Citrus peels have antimicrobial properties that help prevent bacteria from growing on the inside of your garbage disposal. To clean your garbage disposal with citrus peels:

1. Cut each lemon or orange into quarters, then remove all seeds and piths from the fruit.

2. Drop the lemon or orange quarters into your garbage disposal and run it for 30 seconds – 1 minute (depending on how clogged your garbage disposal is). Do this until you no longer smell any fruit odors coming from your sink drain area. This may take multiple rounds of dropping in the citrus peels and running the disposal. 

Clean a Smelly Garbage Disposal with Boiling Water

Boiling water is another way to clean your garbage disposal and remove odors from it as well. The boiling water will help kill off any bacteria or mold that may be growing inside your sink drain, and it will also help dry out any remaining food particles that may have been left behind from previous meals you have prepared in your kitchen area. Boiling water is an easy way to ensure that your garbage disposal will smell fresh again after every use!

Clean a Smelly Garbage Disposal with Dish Soap and Water

You will need to pause before you learn how to get rid of foul smelly garbage disposal. First things first: You need to ensure your sink is completely empty before starting this process. Then mix one teaspoon of dish soap into two cups of water in a bowl or measuring cup—we recommend Dawn dish soap because of its grease-cutting properties—and pour it down the drain. After about 15 minutes, run some hot water down the drain for another couple minutes to wash away any residue from the dish soap and rinse everything clean!

Clean a Smelly Garbage Disposal with Vinegar and Water Soak

If you really want to learn how to make a garbage disposal smell better, try soaking it overnight in vinegar (and maybe baking soda!) The acidity of the vinegar will help break down any lingering food particles that might be causing the smell, while baking soda will absorb some of those odors before they escape into your kitchen air. Just pour some vinegar into the sink drain, then sprinkle some baking soda on top of it before covering everything up with a wet paper towel—the ingredients should start fizzing together as they react with each other! Then just leave everything overnight so they can do their magic!

Clean a Smelly Garbage Disposal with Enzyme Cleaners

Enzyme cleaners are another great option for learning how to clean a garbage disposal smell. Add some enzyme cleaner to warm water, then pour the mixture into the drain while running cold water at the same time. This will help break down any remaining food particles at your disposal and prevent future odors from forming there!

Clean a Smelly Garbage Disposal with Chlorine Bleach

If the smell comes from the garbage disposal, you can use some regular old chlorine bleach to clean it out. Just pour some bleach down the drain and then run cold water through it for several minutes—the bleach will help kill off any bacteria that might be causing the smell.

Rinse and restore power

Finally, turn on the cold water and let it run for a few minutes to flush out any remaining residue. Once you’ve completed the cleaning process, restore energy to the disposal at the circuit breaker.

DIY Vs. Professional Garbage Disposal Installation/replacement

Doing it yourself can save you a lot, except when it comes to garbage disposals or your plumbing. Whether it is replacing or installing a new one, a professional plumber is often better suited for the job.

If you are confused about which one is better between DIY Vs. Professional garbage disposal installation and replacement, then here’s a comparison chart highlighting the main differences between DIY (Do-It-Yourself) and professional garbage disposal installation/replacement:

CostLower (only parts and tools)Higher (includes labor costs)
Expertise RequiredModerate to HighHigh
Time RequiredLonger (depending on experience)Shorter (professional efficiency)
Quality of WorkmanshipVariable (depends on skills)Consistently higher quality
Warranty and GuaranteesTypically noneProvided by the professional
Safety RisksHigher (potential for accidents)Lower (professionals trained)
Tools and EquipmentMust be procured or rentedProfessionals bring their own
Knowledge of Plumbing SystemsRequiredProfessionals have expertise
Code ComplianceResponsibility of homeownerProfessionals ensure compliance
Disposal of Old UnitHomeowner’s responsibilityHandled by the professionals
Time CommitmentIt depends on the individual’s scheduleAppointment-based


Are you looking to install or replace your garbage disposal? Our experienced garbage disposal installation or replacement plumbers are happy to help. 

Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help answer your most pressing questions.

Why do I need a garbage disposal?

It’s necessary for any kitchen that wants to provide its residents with a seamless experience, whether they’re cooking or cleaning up. It makes food prep easier and less messy, and it allows you to save time by not having to dispose of food scraps by hand.

How does a garbage disposal work?

Turning on the water in your sink pushes out through the pipes and into your disposal. The blades inside your disposal spin at thousands of RPMs, which grind up any food scraps or other items that have been stuffed in there. Then this ground-up material is flushed down into your sewer system through an opening in the bottom of the unit.

How do I know if my garbage disposal is broken?

You’ll know something is wrong with your garbage disposal when the sink doesn’t drain properly, or strange noises come from your pipes. If you hear grinding or buzzing noises coming from the sink area, this may be a sign that your disposal needs servicing.

How do I install a garbage disposal?

Most modern garbage disposals come with an installation kit that includes all the required parts and instructions. You can follow these instructions to install the unit yourself without having to hire a plumber. However, if you’re not confident about garbage disposal installation on your own, it is recommended that you enlist the help of a qualified plumber.

How much does a garbage disposal cost?

The garbage disposal installation cost varies depending on the type of unit you purchase, but it can range anywhere from $100 to $500.

How long does it take to install or replace a garbage disposal?

A new garbage disposal can be installed in as little as an hour, but if you’re replacing an old model, it might take up to four hours.

What kind of maintenance do I need to do on my garbage disposal?

You should always run water through your disposal while it’s running. This will help prevent clogs and keep your unit working properly. If you have hard water, you should also periodically pour white vinegar into your drain to keep mineral deposits at bay.

How often should I clean my garbage disposal?

It depends on how much you use it! If you use it frequently, we recommend cleaning it once a month. If you don’t use it often, we recommend cleaning it once every few months.

How do I know which brand of garbage disposal is right for me?

The best way to find out which brand of garbage disposal will work best for you is to take some time to analyze each brand’s website and compare them side by side. It’s important to consider the most important features to you, so make a list of those features and prioritize them before looking at any products. You can also talk with friends who have already installed garbage disposals or used one in their homes before deciding on one for yourself!

Are your plumbers certified?

All of our Winchester plumbers are certified by the National Association of Plumbing in their area of expertise. These certifications ensure that our technicians are qualified to do their jobs and help us avoid any unfortunate accidents on-site.

Do you offer a warranty on your services?

Yes! We offer a one-year warranty on all of our services unless otherwise specified by the client upfront during contract negotiations.

Call A Professional For Garbage Disposal Installation & Replacement In Winchester, VA!

Is your garbage disposal not working? Do you need to replace it? Are you in Winchester, VA, looking for a plumber specializing in garbage disposal installation and replacement?

Casco Plumbing And Well Pump Service is a full-service plumbing company that offers garbage disposal installation and replacement. We’re the best choice for your garbage disposal installation needs because we have been in business for many years now, and our experience clearly shows. Our company has served thousands of customers over the years, including many satisfied homeowners in Winchester, Virginia. We do it all: disposal, installation, repair, and replacement. No matter what kind of garbage disposal problems you’re having—whether it’s clogged or leaking—we can help!

At Casco Plumbing And Well Pump Service, we take pride in providing top-quality service at an affordable price. We want every customer to be satisfied with the work we do for them, and we understand that quality workmanship is key to achieving this goal.

Our licensed professionals are highly skilled and experienced. They have been working on the job for many years now, which means they deeply understand how things work. They also understand what it takes to complete the job successfully while considering your budget. We’ll also take care of everything from start to finish, so you won’t have to worry about a thing!

We also offer competitive rates and offer same-day service at no extra charge!
So, If you are looking for professional Winchester Plumbers Garbage Disposal Installation Services, then contact us today at (540) 773-8076!