How to clean Garbage Disposal?

Everyone loves a fresh environment and a clean kitchen. An important tool of the kitchen is the garbage disposal unit. It can be a small part of your kitchen, but it performs a crucial position in removing leftovers and meal waste. If no longer wiped clean and maintained on a normal basis, garbage disposal can produce unpleasant odors and clogs. By following a simple and clean setup, you could maintain this kitchen appliance in form and jogging easily.

Understanding Garbage Disposal Cleaning: An Inside Look

When it comes to cleaning your garbage disposal, it is fair to say that understanding what goes on inside is key. From an external perspective, all we see is a switch flipped, some humming noises, the occasional clunk, and the plate scraps disappear. Hence, it becomes increasingly important to know exactly how to clean the garbage disposal efficiently and effectively.

Over time, scraps of food, grease, and other unsavory items take up residence inside, leading to a build-up that can cause several issues. These include persistent foul odors, reduced performance, and even the risk of your garbage disposal breaking down entirely. Hence, keeping it clean is not just about hygiene but also about maintaining the operation of your disposal.

To break it down (much like your disposal does with scraps), cleaning a garbage disposal involves the following steps:

  • Preparing the Disposal: This includes making sure the device is turned off and unplugged to avoid accidents. Safety is a very initial step.
  • Initial Cleaning: Here is where you will begin to work on the visible parts of the disposal, using common household cleaning items.
  • Deep Cleaning: This step involves reaching into the areas that are not visible, or easy to reach. This process will thoroughly clean the grinding components of your disposal and get rid of any remaining residue and odors.

Why Regular Cleaning of Your Garbage Disposal is Necessary?

Regular cleaning of your garbage disposal not only keeps your garbage disposal efficient. But it also keeps your kitchen smelling fresh by maintaining the best possible health and safety standards.
Over time, disposals can accumulate grease, oil, and food residue particles. Water alone can’t dissolve them. This can cause blockages, unpleasant odors, and unit malfunctions.
Also, you need to check the contents of your garbage disposal. For example, a disposal has a shredder that separates food waste.

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Step-By-Step Guide to Clean Your Garbage Disposal

Follow these important steps to clean up your garbage disposal and its parts regularly.

Step 1: Initial Cleaning

Start by disposing of the garbage disposal. You certainly do not need to treat your hands getting too near the impellers whilst you are cleansing them. Wear rubber gloves, get a scrubbing brush, and keep rubbish packing containers easy.

Step 2: Clean the Visible Parts

Visible parts can be cleaned using a toothbrush or a small scrubbing brush. Clean any grime that you can see. Focus on the outer rim and the portion of the garbage disposal visible from your sink. A mixture of warm water and dish soap can be a useful cleaning solution for this first step.

Step 3: Ice Cubes and Salt Technique

An easy and effective method of cleaning inside your garbage disposal involves ice cubes and salt. Start by pouring half a cup of salt and about two cups of ice into the disposal.  To clear off any hardened waste clinging to the grind elements and to sharpen them, fill the disposal with two cups of ice and a cup of household salt.

Step 4: Turn On the Garbage Disposal

Once your ice and salt mixture is in place, you can restore the power to your unit. Run cold water from the tap and switch on the garbage disposal. The ice and salt mixture will break down, throwing dust and dirt onto the internal walls of the tube.

Step 5:  Use of Baking Soda and Vinegar

The aggregate of baking soda and vinegar works like magic to easily deodorize your exhaust. Add half a cup of baking soda to the drain, accompanied using a cup of vinegar. Wait for the foam to rise. Then rinse with hot water.

Step 6: Deodorizing your Disposal

Finally, to make sure that your machine doesn’t leave back an unpleasant odor, grind lemon or orange scrap down the drain for a fresh, easy heady scent. Pass a stream of cold water as the pieces grind.
With these steps, you can ensure that your disposal is not just gunk-free but also smells great.

Dealing a Clogged Disposal

There is safety to remember before we take ourselves. Before doing any cleaning or maintenance, always disconnect your garbage disposal from its power source. This acts as protection against unexpected accidents.

Using a plunger

One of the popular methods involves using a plunger. Place the rubber part of the plunger over the drain opening. Press down and pull up forcefully, but make sure to be careful not to damage your sink or the disposal.

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Garbage disposal wrench

If plunging doesn’t do the trick, consider using a garbage disposal wrench for added muscle. These specially designed tools can reach into your disposal and manually crank it to help loosen any stubborn blockages. Just remember to always have your disposal turned off at the power source for safety while using this tool.

Wet-dry vacuum Tool

For obstacles that cannot be cleared properly, a wet vacuum can be very helpful. Just attach a narrow nozzle to your vacuum and pull that barrier out. Be sure to remove any items from the sink first and check the manufacturer’s restrictions or recommendations.

What are the consequences of not cleaning a garbage disposal?

Not keeping your garbage disposal clean is a kin to inviting trouble over for a weekend slumber party. A constant, unpleasant odor wafting through your kitchen, stubborn stains that simply refuse to let go, and a slow-functioning machine.
If you’re struggling with a smelly garbage disposal, there are effective ways to combat this issue. Check out our blog on ‘How to Make Your Garbage Disposal Smell Better?‘ for some handy tips and tricks.

Knowing the potential consequences might urge you to start a regular cleaning routine. Dirty garbage disposals do not just work slower but also they can eventually stop working. Over time, debris accumulates in the corners and crevices, obstructing the grinding that normally helps smooth everything down your drain. Having a blocked or slow garbage disposal poses considerable inconvenience in your kitchen workflow, especially if you rely on it daily.

Moreover, accumulated food particles become the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, multiplying at an alarming rate over time. Not treating this promptly may lead to serious health issues. These bacteria cause that notorious, repugnant odor which is hard to ignore. The stench itself is nauseating enough, but understanding that it’s caused by bacterial growth is even more alarming. Leaving your garbage disposal unclean for long stretches can expose both you and those around you, to health hazards.

Finally, by neglecting to clean your garbage disposal, you could essentially shorten its lifespan. Over time, it can lead to irreversible damage, resulting in additional expenditure for repairs or a complete unit replacement.


In conclusion, apart from serving hygiene purposes, regular cleaning enhances the overall performance of your garbage disposal. It doesn’t take much time. Simple steps involving a scrub brush, ice cubes, salt, and a combination of baking soda and vinegar can keep your disposal in top shape. This also extends its lifespan and avoids unnecessary repair or replacement costs.

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Tackle any stubborn clogs with advanced cleaning techniques like a plunger, garbage disposal wrench, or a wet-dry vacuum tool. Being mindful of what goes into your garbage disposal can also save us from creating a breeding ground for bacteria, avoiding foul odors and potential health risks.

As a concluding note, remember the importance of taking safety measures before we commence any cleaning process, and ensuring the device is turned off and unplugged can never be overstated. Consistent maintenance of your garbage disposal contributes not just to a functional kitchen, but also to a healthier and more enjoyable cooking and dining experience.

How often should I clean my garbage disposal?

You should clean your garbage disposal once a week to keep it working well. You can do this by running some ice cubes and a few slices of lemon through it. This helps to remove any food particles and keep it smelling fresh. Remember to always turn off the power before cleaning.

Can I use chemical cleaners in my garbage disposal?

No, it’s not a good idea to use chemical cleaners in your garbage disposal. These chemicals can be harmful to the environment and can damage the disposal. Instead, you can clean it using natural ingredients like baking soda and vinegar, which are safe and effective. Always avoid putting chemicals down the disposal.

What should I do if my garbage disposal starts to emit a bad odor?

If your garbage disposal starts to smell bad, you can try pouring a cup of baking soda down the drain followed by a cup of vinegar. Let it sit for a few minutes, then run the disposal with hot water. You can also grind up citrus peels to help freshen it up.

Are there any items I should avoid putting in my garbage disposal?

Yes, there are some things you should avoid putting in your garbage disposal. These include large bones, grease, oil, fruit pits, coffee grounds, and non-food items like paper or plastic. These items can damage the disposal or cause clogs. Stick to small bits of food and run cold water while using the disposal.

What is the safest way to unclog a garbage disposal?

The safest way to unclog a garbage disposal is to first turn off the power to the disposal. Then, use a long wooden or plastic tool, like a wooden spoon or a plunger, to carefully push and break up the clog. Avoid using your hands and never use metal tools to prevent injury.

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