Cleaning the Garbage Disposal: A Step by Step Tutorial

A garbage disposal is a device that is put under the kitchen sink used to chop off pieces of food that you dispose in your sink. This is done so no chunks of food will clog your drains. The garbage is chopped into small pieces that they easily pass through the drainage. Here is the step by step process of cleaning your garbage disposal unit.

1) Check things lodged in the Disposal

First of all, turn off the garbage disposal so you don’t accidentally cut your fingers. Next, check for anything lodged in the disposal. If it is big enough to reach with your finger, then take it out. But if possible, don’t put your fingers near the blade because you never know what might happen.

Otherwise you can use a long nose plier or forceps to remove whatever is stuck in the unit. Remove anything in the garbage disposal unit before we can proceed to the proper cleaning.

2) Flush the Garbage Disposal

Turn on the tap water to flush the garbage disposal. Any loose dirt will be removed and those small enough fragments will wash down the drain. Put a stopper on the garbage disposal and fill the sink with water, and then squirt some dishwashing soap on the sink.

Let the soap sit a while on the sink before we proceed to the next step. It is better to use hot water rather than cold, this is to melt any grease or oil that is lodged in the disposal. With the use of hot water, the grease will be washed away.

3) Remove Stains

To remove tougher stains on the garbage disposal, you can use some ice cubes and salt. Pour about two cup of ice in the drain, followed by a cup of rock salt. Turn on the garbage disposal unit and allow it to slice through the ice and salt. This will help remove the food particles that are stuck to the disposal unit. Doing this will also sharpen the blades.

An alternative for ice and salt would be to freeze vinegar so they will turn into ice cubes and crush these in the disposal instead. Using vinegar will also disinfect the garbage disposal.

Vinegar Ice Cube - Source: Wikihow
Vinegar Ice Cube – Source: Wikihow

4) Brush through the Drain

If you are not satisfied with the steps mentioned above, you can also clean your garbage disposal manually. With the use of a tooth brush, you can push your brush through the drain and brush the disposal unit manually.

You can also use a scrub brush that is designed specifically to clean disposal units. You can use dishwashing soap to clean the unit or you can also use vinegar to scrub with.

Use toothbrush to clean disposal
Source: Handyman

5) Get rid of the odors

Now that the disposal is mostly clean, we can now work on eliminating any remaining odors. You can use peels of oranges or any citrus fruits to freshen up the garbage disposal. Using this will also leave you with a great smelling kitchen.

You can do this by dropping the fruit peels down the garbage disposal and grinding them until they can pass through the pipes. The peel will not only remove odorous smells but also clean the blades with the citric acid present in the peelings.

Orange Peel to clean garbage disposal
Source: Wikitricks.org

6) Vinegar & Baking Soda for No-more Smell

Another way to remove the bad smell from the garbage disposal is to use vinegar and baking soda. Sounds like a science experiment, but the combination of these two has been proven to work wonders on anything and especially garbage disposals.

Put a stopper on the disposal then sprinkle one half cup of baking soda down your drain, followed by one cup of vinegar. Let the concoction sit for about five to ten minutes then you can rinse it with hot water. Leave the garbage disposal running while doing this to make sure that the water pours on all the blades.

baking soda and vinegar to clean garbage disposal
Source: PracticallyFunctional.com

7) Garbage Disposal Maintenance

Now that your garbage disposal is clean and smells great, this step calls for the maintenance of your unit. You can maintain the cleanliness of your garbage disposal by only putting biodegradable items in the unit.

The garbage disposal is not your trash can, so anything that is not biodegradable should not go into the garbage disposal unit. Aside from non-biodegradable things, you should also not put rice, pasta, coffee grinds, onion skin, artichokes and corn husks down your drain.

8) Things to take note

Another way to maintain your garbage disposal unit is to avoid pouring grease down your sink. The grease and oil can solidify in your garbage disposal unit and this makes it hard to clean the sink. Once the grease and oil accumulates, it will cause the motor to slow down and eventually the motor will stop running.

Pouring grease down your drain is a guaranteed way to destroy your garbage disposal unit. Lastly, regular cleaning will help keep your garbage disposal unit at its top form. Choose the best garbage disposal from this review article!

1 thought on “Cleaning the Garbage Disposal: A Step by Step Tutorial

  1. Nice advice – vinegar and soda can be of great help, when used properly πŸ™‚

    Vinegar and soda remove odors and disinfect, but if lemon and ice cubes are used after (or orange peels, like article suggests) vinegar and soda, not only that odors will be removed, but lemon’s fragrance will be present for longer period of time …

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