8 Tips on How to Clean a Garbage Disposal


Did you know that your home’s garbage disposal needs to be cleaned regularly? During use, food particles and residue can be left behind and cause the unit to have an unpleasant odor. We all know that smell that tells us when the garbage disposal needs to be cleaned! 

The good news is that you don’t have to buy special or expensive products to do the job. Your disposal can be effectively cleaned with common household items that you probably already have in your kitchen. Read on to learn some of the best and easiest ways to clean your garbage disposal 

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1. Ice cubes and cold water 


One of the best garbage disposal cleaning methods is using plain ice cubes from your freezer. Simply put a few handfuls of ice into the unit, then turn it on and run some cold water while the cubes grind. The ice helps loosen debris and food trapped in the unit and the cold water helps flush it down the drain.  

2. Ice and rock salt 


You can also add about a cup of rock salt to some ice cubes for some extra scrubbing power. Remember to always run cold water when you turn the disposal on. 

3. Baking soda and vinegar 


A simple mixture of baking soda and vinegar is also a good garbage disposal cleaning method. Sprinkle about a half-cup of baking soda into the disposal, followed by a cup of white or apple cider vinegar. Let the mixture bubble up and sit for five to ten minutes, then turn on the disposal and run cold water to distribute the mixture and flush through the unit. 

4. Citrus 


Any type of citrus peel is a good natural disposal deodorizer. Lime, lemon, orange, tangerine, and grapefruit peels will all help refresh your sink, drains, and disposal system. Be sure to cut the peels into small enough pieces for the unit to handle, then turn on the unit and run cold water while the peels grind. 

5. Borax 


Borax is a natural laundry booster and is used in many household cleaning products. To use, simply sprinkle a few tablespoons of borax into the disposal, followed by cold running water for about 30 seconds. 

6. Hot water and dish soap 


Another method of disposal cleaning requires only hot water and dish soap. This method can be particularly helpful if you have noticed an unpleasant odor coming from your garbage disposal. Using the sink stopper, plug the disposal drain and add a generous squirt of dish detergent to the sink. Run hot water into the sink until it’s at least halfway full. As you release the sink stopper, turn on the disposal and let the entire sink contents drain into the unit while it runs. This cleaning method helps fill the disposal with soapy water to reach the upper portions of the unit, which often don’t get cleaned by other methods. It also helps clean the disposal drain line, which can harbor food residue and odors. 

7. Boiling water 


Pouring boiling water into the disposalby itself or following one of the other methods listed herecan help loosen stubborn food particles. 

8. Dish soap and baking soda 


It’s also important to clean the drain crevices around the disposal as well as the rubber splashguard around the drain. You don’t need anything fancy; you can use dish soap or baking soda with a small brush or toothbrush to scrub underneath the splashguard flaps. (Make sure the disposal is turned off when you do this!) 

Remember to use caution when operating your disposal and when using any of these disposal cleaning methods. Never put your hand into the unit for any reason, even if the unit is off. Taking the time to clean your disposal will help keep your sink and kitchen smelling fresh and inviting for your family and guests.  

Did you know an American Home Shield® warranty can help cover your garbage disposal against breakdowns, along with many other components of your home appliances and systems? Find out more and get a fast, free quote below. 

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AHS assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.

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