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Horrible smelling garbage disposer

We're doing some cleanup in the house we bought, and I'm taking my time working my way through the many cabinets washing them up We will have to replace the cooktop; it has been scrubbed to death, and still shows the scars of burned up pans. But the unexpected problem is a horrible chemical odor which taints the entire kitchen, and seems to emanate from the garbage disposal. We agree that this does not smell rotten, or as if something is decomposing, but like a strong chemical. We get the smell from the disposal and the faucet which is a spray nozzle model, like this http://tinyurl.com/9xgqgyy, but not so much from the other drain or the water itself.

We've disconnected the water filter under the sink. That was not the culprit. Even though the water does not seem to smell (except of chlorine), we get the odor when we run the faucet. Every other faucet in the house runs with no odor. And if I lean down to smell the disposer I get a noseful. The smell is just bad. I don't recognize it, but it doesn't smell organic.

A Google search on a chemical odor in the kitchen produced problems with adhesives used to glue down granite, and the smell of the deadening asphalt stuff used on the bottom of sinks. The sink looks to be the age of the house (10 years) and the tile was laid that long ago as well.

The drain seems to run well from both disposer and regular drain. It doesn't appear that there are clogs in the line.

We will call a plumber. But does anyone have a clue what we are dealing with?

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  1. try to pour some white vinegear in the disposal. Just an idea

    1 Reply
    1. re: alex70

      I did. I am considering bleach next.

    2. There could be something that was dumped into the disposal and just sat there until it hardened. Running water may moisten it to the point where it releases an odor. Shine a light into the unit and see if anything is visible. Also, if you can, pull the head from the sprayer and then run water and see if there is still a smell. Do you have a double sink? If so, there is usually a cross pipe connecting the two drains and there could conceivably be something nasty stuck to the pipe wall. Then there is the dishwasher. Most have a small disposal unit which is not mush more that a small wire like device near the sump. All manner of food and grease gets down below the filter. The drain hose runs or should run to the disposal side of the sink. It is run with a loop in it, sort of a P trap/anti-siphon type configuration which should prevent water flowing backwards as well as smells from the dishwasher getting into your sink drain.While the pump should expel all matter, they sometimes do not. Your sump may need cleaning. I would do it anyway. Just a few thoughts. Good luck.

      1. Run a few loads of ice cubes mixed with baking soda through the disposal... It does a very good job of cleaning the interior.

        1. What about putting Borax down the drain or use those cleaners for the top loading washing machines and run some very hot water through the system.

          1. I absolute hate those infernal gadgets,but when mine started to reek I tossed in the peel of an orange,Ice cubes and a quarter cup of bleach. Run cold water at a trickle until racket stops and you're good to go.
            Done once a month, it maintains a fresh smelling kitchen.

            1. Thanks for all the good ideas. The plumber is thinking more along the line of dcrb. There is a P trap, and there is also a line that runs from the doohickey pressure valve(?) which sinks have to have in the State of Washington. This plastic pipe connects to the dishwasher, and the doohickey smells absolutely awful. (The doohickey is a valve that provides a gravity feed to the dishwasher. It is covered by a plastic cylinder and it lifts off. And when we lift it off, it smells as horrible as the disposer.)

              We've dumped baking soda, a bleach solution, and several pots of boiling water down the disposal. We have put citrus peels down it. We have used the ice cube method with those disposal tablets that are supposed to clean the inside of the disposal. All to no avail.

              I will mention to Mr. Sueatmo that we need to look at the mesh thing in the dishwasher. We'd forgotten about that. As it stands now, we are replacing the disposal, the faucet which is leaking, and the line from the foul smelling doohickey.

              The disposal is old, possibly dating to the build of the house.

              it is possible that carpet cleaners dumped solution down the kitchen sink.but there is a perfectly good laundry sink a few steps away, so I don't know if this situation was caused by that. All I know is that we didn't smell anything when we had the inspection a couple of weeks ago.

              Here is a bit wisdom for anyone buying a house. If there is a bad smell on the walk through, find out what it is before signing! We were on assured on walk through that it was carpet cleaning chemicals and nothing more.

              1. In divorce court, isn't this how he describes her cooking skills, and how she describes his amorous deficiencies?

                1. Dishwasher strainer is OK.

                  We've purchased a new garbage disposal and a new faucet and we'll get a new pipe under the sink this week.

                  With every move in to a "new" house there is at least one nasty surprise. I hope this is the only one.

                  1. Just to finalize this, we did have the garbage disposal, the faucet, and the under sink pipe replaced. The smell is gone. Expensive but effective. Whatever was in there that was smelling up the kitchen, wasn't going away anytime soon.

                    2 Replies
                      1. re: sueatmo

                        Hooray, but sorry it took such extremes. For the record (and because no one else seems to have mentioned it), whenever I'm through with a lemon, I put what's left in the garbage disposer. Keeps it fresh.