How to Clean Out a Garbage Disposal

How to Clean Out a Garbage Disposal

Your garbage disposal does a lot of work. Not only does it cut up all your food scraps, but it also acts as a drain. It makes sense that some noxious odors can build up over time. We’re here to tell you it’s very easy to clean out a garbage disposal.

Tools Needed

Most of the time, garbage disposals clean themselves. However, with enough time and use things can start to get a little stinky. Don’t worry about cleaning out the garbage disposal on a regular basis, you only need to do it when there’s a noticeable odor.

When it’s time to get to cleaning, there are a few tools you’ll need.

  • Rubber Gloves
  • Abrasive Sided Kitchen Sponge
  • Dish Soap
  • Ice
  • Rock Salt
  • Citrus Peels

How to Clean Out a Garbage Disposal Part 1: Start with Scrubbing

Good news! Cleaning your garbage disposal is a relatively easy task and shouldn’t take too much time.

Step One: Turn off the Garbage Disposal’s Power

When it comes time to cleaning your garbage disposal, the most important thing you can do is turn off the power. We want to have a clean sink, not recreate a horror movie.

There are two ways to turn off a garbage disposal. Some disposals can just be unplugged. Others need to be turned off in the home’s breaker box.

No matter the method, after everything is turned off, flip the switch to make sure it really is off.

Step Two: Scrub the Sink Baffle

The rubber splash guard that sits between your sink and the garbage disposal is called a sink baffle. Because of its various edges, a lot of organic matter can get caught in the baffle.

To clean this, wet a sponge and soap up the abrasive side of a sponge. Then start scrubbing.

Be sure to scrub between the folds and under the baffle. Also, make sure to routinely wash out your sponge.

Step Three: Scrub the Grinding Chamber

The grinding chamber is where the good goes when it’s time to be chopped up. For this step, you’ll be cleaning the walls of the grinding chamber, not the blades themselves.

For this task, make sure you have enough soap in your sponge and start scrubbing the chamber from top to bottom. Keep scrubbing until the sponge isn’t pulling up any gunk. Also, remember to routinely rinse the sponge.

Step Four: Add the Ice

To clean the blades, fill the disposal with ice cubes. Don’t worry about filling it all the way to the top, there’s no such thing as too much ice.

Step Five: Add the Salt and Run the Disposal

This is the last step of the cleaning process. Simply measure a cup of rock salt and dump it down the sink over the ice.

When everything is in the disposal, power it back up. Run cold water into the disposal and let everything grind.

We do not recommend using hot or warm water to flush everything through the disposal. Warm water will break up any fats or oils that may be in your disposal.

We like to keep those fats and oils clumped together so they can slide through your system and not contribute to any lurking clogs.

Part 2: Kill that Odor

Since you now have a clean garbage disposal, it’s time to kill any lingering odors.

We like to use citrus peels to naturally diffuse any smells. You can use orange, lemon, lime, or grapefruit; really anything smells good.

Now that you have a nice, clean garbage disposal, the last thing you need to do is deodorize it.

Our favorite way to naturally deodorize a garbage disposal is with citrus peels. Whether it’s orange, lemon, or lime, it doesn’t matter. Just choose the scent you like the most.

Put the peels down the disposal, run some cold water, and grind up the peels.

If you have any bigger issues with your garbage disposal, don’t hesitate to call the plumbing experts at Bell Brothers.