How to Clean Your Garbage Disposal

Published Categorized as Appliances, Appliances Advice, Guide

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After countless recommendations from your friends and neighbors, you finally decided to install a garbage disposal unit under your kitchen sink. You thought of the great benefits it brings. The convenience and eco-friendly advantages of garbage disposal are your main reasons for deciding  to have one installed.

And of course, the garbage disposal delivered. With the leftover foods that you had during the Thanksgiving party, you happily realized the working miracles of garbage disposal. You eventually thank yourself for installing that small kitchen appliance which saves both your time and the environment.

Then you began to wonder where the foul odor is coming from in your kitchen. You discovered that it was coming from your garbage disposal. It also looks like its draining system is not working like before. You are thinking of calling a plumber to check and solve it but are hesitant to do so as it would cost you some money.

You researched the possible solutions for your garbage disposal and asked your friends about it. You discovered that you have been putting unnecessary and prohibited items in the garbage disposal.

Then you were advised by your friends and neighbors to start cleaning your garbage disposal as soon as possible.

Sound familar? 

Importance of Garbage Disposal

You might be thinking that having a garbage disposal was a wrong decision after all. You might be blaming the people who advised you to install it. But you know what, they are right. Getting garbage disposal for your kitchen sink has some fantastic advantages.

Instead of throwing your leftovers in to the trash bins, you can deposit it into your kitchen sink and it gets instantly shredded by your disposal.

Another benefit is the odorless disposal of food waste. And you don’t have to worry about segregating it with other types of trash.

Well-installed garbage disposal also saves you money. Many have a useful feature that automatically unclogs the pipes.

Essential Materials and Steps in Cleaning Your Garbage Disposal

Let’s assume that you have placed incorrect items in the garbage disposal and it’s your first time to inspect it by yourself. To successfully clean and unclog your unit follow our steps below.

Prepare the following materials ahead of time:

  • Tongs or Pliers
  • Mild Dishwashing Liquid
  • Ice Cubes
  • Salt
  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Scrubbing Brush and Toothbrush
  • Lemon

Step 1: Make sure to turn off the power to your garbage disposal. You would normally find a switch under your kitchen sink. Another option is to turn off the breaker to your disposal from the main service panel of your house.

Step 2: Check for the medium to large-sized items inside your disposal. Don’t use your bare hands to avoid cuts from the unit’s blades. Use tongs or pliers to remove any unwanted items that are stuck.

Step 3: Using a plug, pour a small amount of mild dishwashing liquid in to your kitchen sink. Make sure to use only cold or warm water in this procedure as hot water can melt the grease and other food waste, making it harder to remove. Let it rest for a few minutes. Pull out the plug to let it drain in to the unit.

Step 4: Apply ice cubes and salt to the disposal. You can put 10-15 ice cubes and a half cup of salt in to the disposal. This will help to grind other items that are still stuck in the garbage disposal.

Step 5: Mix baking soda and vinegar in to the disposal unit. This will create a foam reaction. This mixture will give the your garbage disposal a good clean removing much of the remaining dirt. If you want to be very well prepared you can also use frozen vinegar cubes as the alternative to this combination.

Step 6: Get a scrubbing brush or toothbrush to clean the other parts of your disposal. Don’t rinse out the foam that was made by the baking soda and vinegar combination before doing this.

Step 7: After leaving the foam for a few minutes, you can wash it away. Fill your sink with water to clean the foam. If you find it hard to remove the debris of the foam, you can repeat this step or use your scrubbing brush to fully remove it.

Step 8 (optional): Continuously run the water in your sink. Place small slices of lemons in to your garbage disposal. 

Garbage Disposal Tips

After you’ve finished cleaning your garbage disposal, it is good to know the do’s and dont’s for your unit. Being familiar with these tips will save you time and effort in in the future. It can also save you from havig to call out a plumb if you are unable to unblock the unit yourself.

Tip # 1: Know what not to put in your garbage disposal. Although we know that leftover foods can be placed in the disposal unit, you should still be aware of the items that you can’t put in it. Potato peels, eggshells, pasta, and oil are big no’s. You should also realize that you can’t throw other non-food items in to your disposal unit such as glass, plastic, and metal. These items will make your disposal’s blade dull causing it to be less effective.

Tip # 2: Use cold water when running your garbage disposal. Hot water can melt food that makes it harder to clean and push out in to the drain.

Tip # 3: Regularly run your garbage disposal. It is important to maintain your unit to avoid unexpected problems. Running your disposal every few days will help your unit to function well. It can prevent freezing or hardening of the leftover foods that were not by the prior use.


Your garbage disposal is an amazing kitchen appliance that you should maintain like any other appliances.

You should regularly check and clean it to avoid a smelly kitchen and blockages. It is important to understand that not all foods can be thrown in the disposal.

Keep this in mind and you’ll be enjoying this convenient appliance for years to come.