Your garbage disposal is a convenient way to get rid of food scraps, but can be a conducive environment for mold or bacteria if not properly cleaned. Pieces of food can decay in the grinding chamber or the splash guard. Old food can stink up your sink and clog up the disposal as well. Fortunately, it is easy to clean a garbage disposal and avoid a few problems that food waste can cause.
If you’re wondering how to clean a garbage disposal the right way, follow these simple steps:
How to Clean a Garbage Disposal
- Turn Off the Power: Remove the plug from the outlet below the sink or turn off the breaker serving the disposal. Try to turn on the garbage disposal to confirm you disconnected the right circuit.
- Remove the Rubber Splash Guard: The gasket, or baffle, has grooves and crevices that food particles and grease can collect in. Scrub it clean with a soft brush (even an old toothbrush will do) and dish detergent, especially on the bottom side. It may be slimy so be sure to get all the grime off.
- Check for Any Blockages: Turn on a flashlight and shine it inside garbage disposal. Stray food pieces can be removed with longed-nosed pliers or tongs. Don’t attempt this with your fingers; the blades are very sharp and can injure you even when turned off.
- Reconnect the Device: Next, plug the garbage disposal back in or reset the circuit breaker. Fill the sink with hot water up to about halfway and allow the water to flush through the unit.
- Disconnect and Continue Cleaning: Using a narrow-head scrub brush with a long handle (or an old toothbrush if necessary), and wet with warm water. Add some dish soap as well. Scrub the inside surfaces, making sure to reach every area. Reconnect the system and flush it once again with hot water.
There are some other clever ways to clean your garbage disposal. One is to turn off the disposal and faucet, and then place six ice cubes in the chamber. Then put a tablespoon of baking soda, three thin lemon slices, and a teaspoon of bleach. Add six more ice cubes and then turn the unit on without any water. Wait until the grinding stops, but keep the motor on, while applying a 30-second flush of cold water.
Here are some other methods to try:
- Baking Soda and Vinegar: Pour a half a cup of baking soda into the disposal and allow it to deodorize the unit for a half hour. Pour in a cup of vinegar next. You should see a foamy liquid bubbling up, which is a chemical reaction that dissolves any residue left behind. After about three minutes, run hot water to rinse it away.
- Ice and Salt: With the blades clean and any buildup removed, reconnect the disposal and add two cups of ice. Next, add a cup of salt and run the cold-water tap. Run the disposal so that the salt and ice become like a scrub.
- Lemon Peels: The peel of lemon or any type of citrus can be added to the disposal to give it a fresh smell. With the peel inserted, run the cold water and turn on the unit. The result should be a pleasant fruity smell that gets rid of any stale odors.
Remember not to use lye, chemical drain cleaners, or commercial garbage disposal cleaners as they can be extremely corrosive and ineffective.
Contact Service Today
If you need assistance, our team can explain how to clean a garbage disposal and perform maintenance for you. The plumbing technicians at Service Today can also be trusted when you need garbage disposal repair, installation, or replacement. Call (888) 205-9590 to schedule prompt service or receive immediate answers to your questions.