How to clean a garbage disposal

The garbage disposal is designed to make your kitchen cleaning chores a lot easier. With the garbage disposal, you can now effectively dispose of your food waste without the worries of bad odor buildup from the trash bag and the drain hole. It possesses sharpen blades to grind and shreds the food waste to pieces, ensuring the food waste does clog up the pipe. Unpleasant odors and clogging of the drains are due to overtime use of the garbage disposal. In this post, you are going to be guided on how to clean garbage disposal.

Cleaning the garbage disposal is not a hard task to do. There are various methods to clean the garbage disposal effectively. Why so many?… Because different food wastes cause issues for the garbage disposal and there is no single method for cleaning them.

Why you should keep the garbage disposal clean

The short answer is ‘to prevent smells and germ build-up’. Nobody likes a smelly and bacteria-infested kitchen. It would discourage anyone from cooking or even staying in the kitchen. Although the garbage disposal may possess sharp blades ready to pulverize any food waste that falls down the kitchen’s drain, overtime some food particles may be stuck along the drain or pipe. Without routine cleaning, the garbage disposal will then begin to develop an unpleasant smell and will also be a haven for bacteria.

If there are consistent weekly cleanings, you are sure of a stink-free and bacteria-free kitchen.

Food wastes that shouldn’t go down the drain

Here is a list of what you should keep from falling down the drain, as it will cause the garbage disposal a lot of issues.

  • Peels (potato, banana)
  • Nutshells
  • Shrimp shells
  • Grease
  • Glass
  • Cutlery
  • Bones
  • Paper
  • Expandable foods (pasta, rice and other starchy foods)
  • Any item that isn’t biodegradable.

How to clean out a garbage disposal

There are over 7 ways to effectively clean the garbage disposal. Once mastered, you will be able to remove all food particles and smells that developed due to overtime use.

Clean the parts that are easy to access

For this, all you need to do is prepare a scrub brush or dish wand with a little amount of dish soap. Make use of the scrub brush or dish wand to clean all the visible parts of the garbage disposal.

Scrub the joints, corners, and rims clean so there will be no food particles left that could cause the disposal to reek.

Eject slimy residue

There is an effective way to remove all those sticky and slimy residues, hanging around the garbage disposal pipes. With the help of a special substance known as Kosher salt and a process, the slimy residue will be gone in an instant.

Here is how you do it…

Pour into the garbage disposal a large combo of ice and salt. Switch it on while dispensing half a cup of salt into the garbage disposal. Once the grinding is done, the slimy residue will be removed, and so will the smell.

As you’ve seen, there is no need for a special item. You can get all your requirements from your kitchen and freezer.


This method of cleaning should be performed routinely, like every week. Constant practice will make sure you are not left with a smelly kitchen.

Here is how you do it…

You start by deactivating the garbage disposal from the switch on the wall. The next thing to do is run your faucet for hot water, let it run through the garbage disposal for one minute or a little bit less. With one minute, the stuck food particles should be able to get unstuck and pushed down the drain.

This will lead to the eradication of bad odor developed by the slimy food particles that were stuck on the garbage disposal pipes.

This is one of the easiest and effective methods of cleaning the garbage disposal. As you can see, there is no need for a special item. All that is required is hot water running directly from the faucet for about a minute and it’s done.

Deodorizing cleaning

This method involves improving the smell of the garbage disposal. It’s more like your last chance to get rid of the smell if other methods fail. What you will need to perform this method include baking soda and vinegar.

Here is how you do it…

Start by raising the rubber flaps and then pour into the garbage disposal half a cup of Baking soda. Make sure the baking soda fills up the drain.

After applying baking soda, The next thing to do is apply vinegar which should also have a quantity of half a cup. Let the solution do its work for up to one hour while the disposal is not activated. Once the one-hour has taken place, activate the disposal while running cold water down the drain for one minute. The result to expect is a clean deodorize garbage disposal.

This method of cleaning should be practiced only when it is needed. The reason is that the vinegar from the solution can damage the rubber components of the disposal.

Remove large waste manually

Large items or food waste at times do fall accidentally into the drain and then obstruct the garbage disposal from functioning well or cause the disposal to reek. These items or food wastes should be removed immediately, as the large mass cause great issues. Make sure to remove them with caution.

Here is how you do it…

Turn off the garbage disposal so you can prevent any severe damage to the body such as maiming. With the garbage disposal turned off you should be confident and safe enough to remove heavy clogs from the garbage disposal pipes. If the large item or food wastes happens to be sitting in the garbage disposal, make use of a plier or tong to remove it. Once you’ve taken every step, run cold water from the faucet so you can rinse off the residues.

Make sure to put on thick gloves, so your hands won’t be hurt by the sharp blades.

Cleaning with citrus

Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit are good cleaning agents for the garbage disposals. It performs to tasks and they are cleaning and deodorizing. All thanks to its acidic juices and nice aroma.

The juices of the citrus fruit will perform the deodorizing while the peels will help clean the disposal walls and sharp blades.

Prevent using citrus oil, as it is not so effective.

Take preventive measure

Prevention is the best action to take to keep the garbage disposal clean and functional. By just reframing from throwing certain waste or items that could cause the garbage disposal to reek or damage it, you are sure to enjoy functional garbage disposal with a nice aroma.


Now, with the information given, you should know how to clean out garbage disposal. All equipment required is quite easy to get because they are mostly found in kitchens and bathrooms.

If you are the one that does not have much time to clean, the best action to take is to practice preventive measures and weekly routine flushing. If you can prevent certain foods and items from damaging the garbage disposal, flushing should be a breeze.

5/5 - (3 votes)

Jim Powell

Jim is our staff editor and writer. He has a degree in engineering. His hobbies are radio engineering and new technologies about which he has been writing for more than 7 years.

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