Food particles and grease can often build up inside your garbage disposal, turning into an odorous gunk right under the rubber flap covering the drain hole, also called a splash baffle. This buildup can become smelly if left uncleaned for long periods of time, wafting up from your sink even if there are no dirty dishes to be found!
To clean this precarious spot, first make sure that the power to the disposer is completely cut off, either by unplugging the machine or tripping the breaker, this way it can’t start up accidentally. To clean out the gunk, using a scouring pad wand and some basic dish soap, sticking the wand through the splash baffle and scrubbing inside. make sure to get at the upper lip of the grinding chamber, too, where more build up might be hanging out.
Afterwards, and after removing the wand, reconnect your power, filling your sink roughly halfway with warm water and baking soda. Then let the disposer run, flushing it out with the water and baking soda mix to disintegrate any remaining particles for good.
In the future, you can minimize odors by making sure you use plenty of cold water when using your disposer and always leave it on for a few seconds after the grinding stops to flush any leftovers down the drain. And for a quick fresh-scented pick-me-up, you can always grind up lemon and lime slices to leave a citrus scent!