I was in a bit of a cleaning kick this morning, and although I didn't get that much done if you measure the work by volume, I did achieve a great victory. My kitchen sink--which is pretty trashed and looks filthy even if I've just finished scrubbing the hell out of it with Comet--has had this awful, musty, dank, nasty smell emnating from it since I moved in. At first I didn't know what to think about it. Then I started to worry because it seemed like it was coming from the non-garbage disposal side, which might mean there was pipe trouble. Then I thought that it might be my faucet somehow, because we discovered it was leaking under the sink. However, the repair guy came and replaced the faucet and sprayer, yet the smell continued, so it wasn't that. Then I wondered if it was just pile of dirty dishes I'd let build up in the sink. No, I remembered that the smell had been there pre-dishes.
Then I realized that the little silver drain catcher thingy was just in the wrong side of the sink and that the garbage disposal side was actually the one stinking to high heaven. So I poured baking soda and vinegar down there. It still stank. Bleach. Still stanky. I scrubbed out the sink with Comet and scrubbed the rubber seal (the top of it at least). Still stanky. Boiling water. Still stanky.
I went online and did a couple quick searches and saw that people recommended throwing some ice cubes* in the disposal and turning it on, which would help dislodge any gunk that was stuck on the blades or maybe on the underside of the rubber seal--everyone seemed to agree that the gunk was the cause of most disposal stink. That made sense, but too bad my couple of ice trays probably wouldn't be full of ice since I had no idea where they were.
Wait. I have an automatic icemaker now. W00t!
So I packed the disposal with ice--I wanted to get it really full in case the gunk was on the underside of the rubber thing--and flipped the switch.
HOLY. CRAP. All this brown sludge was suddenly seething right below the drain opening. Sick. I seriously gagged--no wonder the disposal had been smelling. So gross.
I turned the water on once it sounded like the ice was mostly crushed. Aaaaaand brown water started backing up into the sink a little. (Which, if you'll remember, I had just cleaned and disinfected. Sigh.) So, I turned off the disposal and the water, feeling a little panicky. The water sat there. I thought for a minute, shrugged, and turned the water and the disposal back on. Brown water splashed out onto my previously-clean sink and counter. Nice.
But then I heard the disposal clear and the water slurped back down the drain! So I repeated the whole process with the rest of the available ice, and then I poured a bunch of hot water down the drain and stuck my head in the sink and sniffed. No funk! It worked!
I poured a bunch more baking soda and the rest of my vinegar down there, just to clean it a little more, but I fixed it! I fixed it! Triumph!
* I also read a tip suggesting that you freeze some vinegar into ice cubes and use those in conjunction with baking powder when you clean the disposal with ice--I think that's such a brilliant idea.
P.S. I really love to clean with vinegar and baking soda. They're non-toxic and really effective.