Ask Your Question

Angie's List Answers is the trusted spot to ask home improvement and health questions and get answers from service companies, health providers and consumers. For ratings and reviews on companies in your area, search Angie's List.

Top 30 Days Experts
Rank Leader Points*
1 kstreett 240
2 Guest_9020487 110
3 Guest_9190926 105
4 GoldenKid 100
5 ahowell 95
6 KnowledgeBase 95
7 skbloom 80
8 Guest_98024861 70
9 Guest_9311297 70
10 Guest_9400529 70

*Updates every 4 hours

Browse Projects By Category

Question DetailsAsked on 5/20/2015

Kitchen drain (disposal side) smells like mildew.

I've tried the baking soda/vinegar volcano; full strength enzyme solution; boiling water; grinding ice cubes in the disposal. Of course, I've removed the baffle (I even purchased a new baffle), used q-tips to clean every nook and cranny I can get to, including inside the grinder area. Is there anything I can do to eliminate the mildew, short of using bleach or calling a plumber? Help!

Do you have the same question? Follow this Question

1 Answer


Assuming you are positive it is coming from the garbage disposal, not from leakage into the substrate under the countertop or in the cabinets from a leaking pipe, or from spillage around the rim of the sink getting under the rim and rotting the plywood or particle board (best seen from under sink looking up around rim of sink), or leakage from dishwasher on to floor under it, then following is what I would do - but check closely for leakage under rim, in cabinet, through backsplash, etc - also at the air vent for the dishwasher - (looks like this, and usually top cap pops off so you can see if crudded up with food particles -

may stick up through sink near faucet, may be installed high up under the sink.) -

because a mildew smell is not what I have noticed in garbage disposals - usually garbage disposal smell is described as rotten vegetable, rancid grease, or dead animal smell, not mildew.

1) cut a couple of lemons into quarters (sixths or eights if needed to fit through the baffle without tearing it) and shove them down with a wooden spoon run them down into the garbage disposal one by one with disposal going and full hot water flow going - let each slice get ground completely up (free-running disposal sound) before doing next one. Note - as long as water is flowing well while doing this it should not plus up your drains, BUT if your trap is nearly blocked already, this much solids being put down it might block the sink trap the rest of the way, necessitating clearing it out. I have never had it happen, but possible, though not liikely because grinder in disposal mushes the stuff up pretty small. Lemon Mr Clean works almost as well, putting a good squeeze down at a time till thoroughly washed around, and repeat 3 times.

2) make sure the area the baffle fits into is well cleaned (assuming removeable baffle here) because the baffle and rim area around it is the usual place for smells like this to occur. Note for readers - the "baffle" here is called the "splash guard" or "rubber sink strainer" by some - the black rubber "fingered" insert that (hopefully) keeps large things from going into disposal and guards against things being thrown up out of the disposal. May be removeable or may be locked in place between disposal and sink.

3) with watar flowing hot about 1/2 flow and disposal running, put about a half cup (trickling in) of borax powder into the disposal. Borax powder comes in a box in laundry detergent section of store - you want pure borax, NOT the abrasive Borax hand powder, which because of the pumice in it would not be good for the disposal.

4) mix liquid laundry bleach 50-50 with water and run that with about 1/4 hot flow with disposal going. NOTE - there will be strong bleach smell so don't stick your nose down into the area till flushed out. Not greatest for disposal or for pipes, but if (after the 15-30 seconds of mixing/draining) it is let sit for 3-5 minutes and then thoroughly washed down with water for a full minute or so should not cause noticeable harm. NOTE: Avoid getting it one the sink itself or onto the rubber more than needed and make sure the running water clears the sink and baffle immediately while it is running - use spray nozzle or hand to be sure to distriburte wqter all around the sink where any drips may have gotten, to avoid possible bleaching of the sink or damage to rubbear baffle.

5) left this to last because messiest - remove the dishwasher hose from the garbage disposal "barb" - the stickout fitting it goes onto (usually just a hose clamp holding it) and use twisted rag or papear towels to twist out the built-up gung in the end 6 inches of the hose and in tyhe barb - it can get really gunky and stinky and because it comes into the garbage disposal high up, does not get cleaned by methods above. IF your dishwasher discharge hose (usually clear or semi-transparent corrugated plastic flex hose) goes directly to the drain pipes rather than the garbage disposal (as works better) then ignore this.

If what you have done plus those above (as needed) do not do it, then beyond me - I have never run into one those did not clear up.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

Related Questions

Terms Of Use
Privacy Policy