How to Clean Garbage Disposal for a Fresh Kitchen

Last updated on July 3, 2024

Learn how to clean your garbage disposal effectively and keep your kitchen smelling fresh.

Tired of your garbage disposal smelling like last week’s leftovers? You’re in the right place! In just a few easy steps, you’ll go from funky to fresh by cleaning out that gunky disposal of yours. Ready to dive in and make it sparkle? Let’s get to it!

Key takeaways:

  • Disconnect power: Safety first, unplug or switch off.
  • Clean splash guard: Remove, scrub, rinse for freshness.
  • Remove debris: Use tools to clear leftovers, rinse.
  • Baking soda & vinegar: Fizzy duo eliminates odors, grime.
  • Ice & salt: Grind for cleaning, refresh with coolness.

What's Inside

Disconnect the Power

disconnect the power

Safety first, folks. Before you do anything, make sure to cut the power to the garbage disposal. We don’t want any accidental finger-chopping incidents.

You can usually do this by unplugging the unit under the sink. If you can’t find the plug, locate the circuit breaker and turn off the right switch. It’s not worth guessing which one, so check your breaker panel for labels.

Just remember, a garbage disposal is like a teenager on TikTok – it’s unpredictable and can turn on at the worst possible moment. Better safe than sorry.

Once the power is off, you’re ready to dive into the next steps, without any worries of unwanted surprises.

Clean the Splash Guard

Ew, the splash guard can be a gunky mess! It’s often overlooked, but not on our watch. Here’s how to tackle it:

First, pull out the splash guard. Yes, it’s removable.

Next, grab an old toothbrush and your trusty dish soap. Scrub-a-dub-dub.

You might find food bits clinging on for dear life. Show them who’s boss!

After a good scrub, rinse under hot water.

Voila! Your splash guard is now sparkling clean, way more inviting for the next disposal mission.

Remove Any Visible Food Debris

Time to get a bit hands-on, but don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it sounds! Use a flashlight to take a peek inside the disposal. You might find bits of leftover food clinging for dear life. Grab a pair of tongs or pliers to fish out these stubborn bits—your hands are precious, and we don’t want any accidental switches!

If some pieces are too tough to reach, consider using a long-handled brush to give them a gentle nudge. It’s like poking a really stubborn roommate to get them to clean up.

Once you’ve got the big chunks out, it’s time for a quick rinse. Running hot water through the disposal while it’s off will help wash away any remaining debris. Your garbage disposal is starting to look and smell better already!

Pour in Baking Soda and Vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar are a dynamic duo for your garbage disposal. They work together to nix odors and loosen grime.

  • Start by pouring half a cup of baking soda into the disposal.
  • Follow this with one cup of white vinegar.
  • You’ll get a fun, fizzy reaction that means it’s working!

Let it sit for about five to ten minutes. This time lets the mixture break down any stubborn gunk. After the wait, rinse it all down with hot water to wash away any loosened residue.

Voilà! Your garbage disposal now smells fresh and is gunk-free.

Grind Up Ice and Salt

Now, let’s talk ice cubes and salt. These everyday kitchen heroes can work wonders for your garbage disposal. Here’s how:

First, toss a few ice cubes into the disposal. Ice helps to dislodge any stubborn gunk stuck on the grinding elements. It’s the cleaning version of giving your disposal a cool, refreshing snack.

Next, sprinkle about half a cup of salt over the ice. Go for coarse rock salt if you have it. The salt adds abrasion, which scours away any sticky residue.

Run cold water and turn on the disposal. The sound might resemble a mini avalanche, but don’t worry, it’s just the ice and salt doing their thing. This noisy duo will help clean the blades and the chamber walls efficiently.

Plus, the cold from the ice can help mitigate any smells. Double win!

Grind Up Lemon Peels

Throw a few lemon peels into the disposal and run it. The natural oils from the peels do wonders in breaking up gunk and grime.

  1. Freshness Factor: Lemon peels help mask any lingering odors. Your kitchen will smell like a citrus paradise.
  2. Abrasive Effect: The peels act as a mild abrasive, scrubbing the blades as they churn around.
  3. Easy Does It: Always cut the lemon peels into smaller pieces to avoid choking the disposal. You want a fresh kitchen, not a plumbing bill.

Consider using other citrus peels like oranges or limes for a different zesty aroma.

Clean the Grinding Chamber

Let’s get down to business! Use a long-handled brush specifically designed for garbage disposals. You don’t want your too-close encounter with who-knows-what down there. A toothbrush can work too, but why risk it?

Scrub inside the chamber thoroughly. This helps remove any food particles and gunk stuck on the grinder blades and walls.

Rotate the brush around, get those nooks and crannies. Imagine you’re brushing the teeth of a very hungry, very messy giant.

After scrubbing, rinse with hot water. The hot water helps wash away loosened debris and bacteria. Trust me, you want that stuff gone.

If you’ve got any smells still hanging around, don’t worry. You’re almost there!

Flush the Disposal With Hot Water

Time to give your garbage disposal a nice hot soak. Here’s why and how:

First, the hot water helps dissolve and wash away grease and gunk that’s built up. Think of it like a mini spa day for your disposal.

You’ll want to use hot tap water, not boiling. Boiling water could melt plastic components. Run the water at full blast for about 30 seconds. This also helps push down any leftover bits clinging to the pipes.

If you’re feeling extra fancy, add a few drops of dish soap. It’ll help cut through grease and leave things smelling fresh.

Remember, you’re aiming to flush, not flood. A strong, steady stream will do the trick without drowning your kitchen.

Freshen With Vinegar and Citrus Peels

For a final touch, you want to freshen up the garbage disposal with a duo that smells heavenly and packs a cleaning punch. You’ve already given it a good scrub, but let’s make it smell as good as your kitchen after you bake cookies.

First, pour a generous amount of vinegar into the disposal. The vinegar acts as a natural disinfectant, helping to kill bacteria that might cause unpleasant odors. The best part? It’s safe and non-toxic.

Now, grab some citrus peels—lemon, lime, or orange. These citrusy wonders contain natural oils that can help break down grease and add a refreshing scent. Toss a handful of the peels into the disposal.

Run the disposal with cold water. The grinding action will release the citrus oils and mix with the vinegar, creating a naturally fresh and clean aroma.

Voilà, you’ve just given your garbage disposal a spa day! Even the most stubborn smells don’t stand a chance against this dynamic duo.

And just like that, your kitchen smells divine again.

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