How to Clean a Garbage Disposal

The moisture and food particles left behind in a garbage disposal make it a prime spot for bacteria and mold to grow. If you notice a sewage smell creeping up from your kitchen sink, chances are the garbage disposal is the source. When it’s time to tackle the stench, it’s important to use caution to clean the garbage disposal safely and effectively.

Garbage disposal cleaning

It’s best to clean your garbage disposal once a week to avoid overpowering odors in the kitchen. There are many components of a garbage disposal, so familiarize yourself with the pieces that could be causing the smell. Odors could originate from the inside of the pipes, the disposal itself, the area around the blades or the disposal stopper.

There are a number of methods to clean your garbage disposal. From a quick daily cleanse to a more concentrated weekly detox, use these techniques to keep your kitchen smelling fresh.

Vinegar to clean garbage disposal

Food remaining in the garbage disposal or caught within the blades is often the cause of unpleasant odors. A simple cleaning task that’s safe to perform everyday is using vinegar and dish soap. Plug the garbage disposal side of the sink and fill halfway with hot water. Add a cup of vinegar and a small squeeze of dish soap. Release the mixture and turn on your disposal. Allow the disposal to run for a few seconds after the food grinding noises have stopped.

Baking sodato clean garbage disposal

Baking soda and vinegar are classic green cleaning ingredients. To use the duo to clean your garbage disposal, pour half a cup of baking soda into your disposal. Follow with a cup of vinegar, poured slowly to allow the mixture to fizz and eat away at any bacteria or grime. Allow the mixture to set for three minutes and then wash out with boiling water. Once a week, slice a lemon or lime in quarters, adding each quarter one at a time to deodorize your disposal.

If the smell coming from your disposal persists, clean the stopper and flaps at the top of the disposal. Use a brush and dish soap to remove food particles. For stuck-on particles, use a baking soda paste (baking soda with a few drops of water) to scrub the flaps.

Keep pipes clean

Remember that your garbage disposal system doesn’t stop with the pieces you can see. The debris is released into an attached pipe and swept into your local sewer system. To keep the pipes clean, pour hot water down the drain to help melt away grease and fat buildup. Use vinegar or a green-cleaning product once a week to clear any remaining debris from the pipes. Avoid chemical drain cleaners, as they can cause severe burns to your skin and speed up the deterioration process in your pipes.

If you continue to have problems with your garbage disposal or the smell doesn’t dissipate, even after extensive cleaning, you may be dealing with a larger problem within your pipes. Call your local plumber to have the system inspected.

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