A foul or foreign odor emanating from the garbage disposal that won’t go away no matter how thoroughly you have rinsed it, may also be a sign that it’s time to replace it. As the components in the grinding chamber wear out and the blades get duller and duller, food can easily get trapped inside and start to decompose. You may never have noticed the smell or have chosen to adapt and wait it out, but it may be a sign of a deeper problem. Visiting family members and dinner guests probably wouldn’t appreciate it very much, either.
Locate the leak. Wipe off the disposal unit with a dry rag. Run water into the unit and turn it on. There are four places where the disposal unit may leak. At the top main seal, at the drain pipe, at the optional dishwasher inlet or along the garbage disposal body. Notice where the water is coming from. If the unit is wet at the very top, the main seal is leaking. If the area beneath the drain pipe is wet, the gasket is leaking. If the hose from the dishwasher feed drips, the hose or clamp may be faulty. If water is running out the bottom of the unit but the inlets and outlet are dry, the unit itself has developed a leak and must be replaced.
Inspect each of these locations while gliding a light-colored rag over the unit; the dyed water will readily show on the rag and reveal the location of the leak. If a leak isn’t immediately apparent, remove the sink stopper and pour a few more cups of dyed water down the sink drain, then check for leaks again. Leaks near the top of the unit are more likely to show themselves while the sink is plugged, while side and bottom leaks are more noticeable while the sink is unplugged.
If your garbage disposal is making a clicking or rattling sound, there may be some food particles that will not grind up inside. Remove power from disposer, reach into the sink hole with a pair of tongs and remove anything that is still down in the disposer. Test your disposer to be sure the noise is gone. If not continue troubleshooting your disposer issue (see below).