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How to Clean A Garbage Disposal - Kitchen Cleaning Tips

A garbage disposal under the kitchen sink is easy to build residual waste, clog up and produce odors. See how to clean a garbage disposal easily with these useful tips.

by Niko | 2019-08-16 Share:

If you want clear and odor-free kitchen environment, you’d better add the garbage disposal cleaning into your regular kitchen cleaning task list. Do not overlook this part, a garbage disposal under the kitchen sink is used frequently, and easy to collect residual waste, clog up and produce bad smells. The good thing is that clean a garbage disposal is quite simple and convenient, and usually it takes only few times after doing dishes at night. For those people who don’t have as much time as they’d like for this, it’s acceptable to cleaning it once a week. In this article, we give all the details of what supplies you need and how to clean a garbage disposal.

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Why Clean a Garbage Disposal

We point the main reasons why a garbage disposal cleaning is necessary. If you are not aware of this part yet, read it first.

·         Prevent Clogging

Although it is inconspicuous, a garbage disposal actually is used frequently. Maybe you’ll notice the garbage disposal only when it drains slowly or stops draining at all, making the sink backs up with residual waste and foul water. Regularly clean the garbage disposal can prevent clogging, so you won’t be bothered by this issue. Besides, it helps reinvigorate the performance of your garbage disposal.

·         No Bad Smells, Bacteria or Pests

Smelly odor is always one of the main issues in kitchen. It’s easy for a garbage disposal to collect food particles or other wastes. Just to prevent from producing bad smells and attracting household pets, you have to clean the garbage disposal on a regular basis. If you ever do this, no bad smells or odors will be produced.

How to Clean a Garbage Disposal - Different Solutions

Before getting started, you’ll need to prepare these supplies for garbage disposal cleaning. They are dish soap, baking soda, vinegar, ice cubes, salt, sponge (better with an abrasive side) and bleach solution. Ok, everything is ready now, let’s see how to use these items to clean a garbage disposal in an easy way.

1. Turn off the Power

 Make sure to turn off the power before cleaning (maintaining or fixing) a garbage disposal. This is for your safety, it’s dangerous to clean it while it’s running, or in case the garbage disposal turns on accidentally during the cleaning process. In general, there are 2 main types of garbage disposal product. One is a plug-in garbage disposal under kitchen sink, if you have this one, then you can simply unplug it to turn off the power. If you are using another type of the garbage disposal - built-in one, you’ll need to turn off the power to the whole kitchen area in your home electrical panel.

Some additional words here, the interior components of a garbage disposal also require cleaning and maintenance. Unless you have some knowledge and skills, or you’ll need to contact a professional.

*No matter which cleaning method you choose, this is always the first step.

2. Clean the Garbage Disposal (Baffle, Grinding Chamber and Drain)

To clean a garbage disposal, you need to focus on 2 key areas - the baffle and the grinding chamber, or you can consider taking more time to clean the disposal and drain pipe. There are some homemade cleaning solutions that can be used for quick and effective cleaning. Check them one by one.

·         Dish Soap & Sponge

Thoroughly scrub the baffle with a soapy sponge, and do not miss any crease or fold. Rinse the sponge frequently and repeat, until all gunk or grease on the baffle are removed. You can take the same approach to clean the grinding chamber

·         Baking Soda & Vinegar

The combination of baking soda and vinegar is very helpful for cleaning a garbage disposal, especially the drain pipe. Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda and a full cup of vinegar (white vinegar preferably) into your garbage disposal successively but carefully. The mixture of baking soda and vinegar will cause chemical reactions inside the garbage disposal, helping kill germs and bad smells.

Then, place the sink stopper and wait for a while. After later, remove the sink stopper, turn on the garbage disposal and flush it with warm water. If needed, repeat a few times to ensure fully cleaning.

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·         Ice Cube & Salt

Or you can try the solution of ice cube and salt (rock salt or table salt) to clean a garbage disposal. The ice effectively helps congeal any grease or gunk buildup, and salt can scrub the inside walls and blades of a garbage disposal.

Pour ice cubes into a garbage disposal (usually 10 to 15, depends on the size or volume of a disposal). Pour a cup of a cup (or a half cup) of salt into it after the ice. Turn on the garbage disposal, and let it run for around 1 or 2 minutes. Finally, flush the garbage disposal with clean water. Do not ignore this step, the water flush will carry away debris and make the disposal clean. 

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3. Daily Maintenance

Here are 2 main notes that help you maintain your garbage disposal better. After doing dishes, flush with warm water and keep the garbage disposal running for about a half minute.

Moreover, just be careful what you put in the disposal, because the garbage disposal can not digest everything. Some materials you should never put down your garbage disposal, including bones, celery, coffee grounds, egg shells, fruit pits, grease, pasta, potato & onion peels and etc. Such things will easily wrap around the blades, and clog the garbage disposal. Just throw them in your trash can.

How to Deodorizing a Garbage Disposal

What if your garbage disposal has already begun to smell, and how to clean a smelly garbage disposal? If you come across this issue, check the following tips for deodorizing a garbage disposal.

Two cleaning solutions - the baking soda & vinegar and ice tube & salt mentioned above actually can work to make a garbage disposal smells better. While, there are another 2 solutions have excellent effects on deodorizing.

·         bleach solution and warm water

You can mix bleach with warm water, and pour it into the drain to remove bad smells. There are 2 warnings with this approach: do not use more than 1/3 cup of bleach, use diluted bleach if possible; wear gloves.

·         citrus peels

Another way to clean a smelly garbage disposal is to use citrus peels like orange peels or lemon peels. Although this way is quite popular, the citrus oils in the peels can only add some fragrance. It’s not that practical to completely deal with the bad smells of a garbage disposal.

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Tips for Unclogging a Garbage Disposal

Just like some other kitchen or bathroom appliances, a garbage disposal is easily clogged. Maybe it’s much easier, if you put wrong things and there is much residue buildup in the disposal unit. These actions will also cause a clogged garbage disposal:

·         drop foreign objects like fork or spoon into the garbage disposal

·         failing to run enough water while the disposal is running

Turn off the power to a garbage disposal, and try the following tips to unclog it.

Tip 1: Take a look in the garbage disposal (with a flashlight if needed). If you can see an object caught in it, try to dislodge it by using a pair of pliers or a kitchen plunger. After the sink to drain, clean the garbage disposal.

If it doesn’t work or there is no obvious object caught in, try the second method.

Tip 2: Find yourself a long dowel or a wooden spoon with long handle (Regardless of what tool you are going to use, never put your hand into the drain opening). Push the bottom end of the wooden probe against the impeller, try to rock it back and forth and see if the impeller can move freely.

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Contact a repairman to handle it if necessary. In general, clean your garbage disposal on a regular basis can reduce the risk of clogging.

Related Readings for Reference

How to Clean Bathroom Sink Drain with 5 Methods

How to Clean Laminate Countertops with 3 Methods

How to Clean Sticky Wood Kitchen Cabinets - Kitchen Cleaning Tips

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