How to Clean Your Garbage Disposal Like a Pro

A plumbing technician working on a garbage disposal with the words "How to Clean Your Garbage Disposal Like a Pro."

Your garbage disposal is a hard-working machine. Countless scraps of food are put into it time and time again. Eventually, small pieces of food can get stuck in your appliance, potentially causing it damage or to stop working. In addition, bacteria or mold can grow in it, which you do not want in your kitchen. 

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent this from happening. HEB Plumbing & Sprinkler is here to tell you how to clean your garbage disposal correctly.

HEB Safety Tips

When working with a garbage disposal, it is essential to remember how dangerous it can be. Not only do you have fast-moving parts that can catch on your hands or loose clothing, but you’ve also got the electricity powering the disposal and water nearby—a dangerous combination.
Here are a few things to remember when dealing with a garbage disposal:

  • Never stick your hand into one.
  • Contact a professional if it needs to be repaired.
  • Read the instructions.

Garbage Disposal Cleaning

Cleaning your garbage disposal can help it continue to work properly, but it can be dangerous if not done correctly. Therefore, safety should be your main priority when cleaning your garbage disposal.

Step 1. Getting Ready

  • Start by turning off your garbage disposal.
  • Disconnect your garbage disposal from its power supply. This may involve shutting off the circuit breaker to your kitchen.
  • Be sure to check that the power is actually off to your disposal by testing the power switch to ensure it has no power. 

Step 2. Look for Blockage

  • Using a flashlight, look into the grinder to check for any blockage.

Step 3. Remove Any Blockage

Step 4. Run Water

  • Reconnect power to the disposal. 
  • Plug the sink.
  • Fill the sink halfway up with hot water.
  • Without burning yourself, pull the drain plug and activate the disposal until all the water has run through the drain.
  • Turn off the disposal again, and be sure to disconnect the power.

Step 5. Scrubbing and Cleaning

A plumber loosens a nut on a kitchen sink pipe with a pipe wrench
  • For this step, you’ll need either an old toothbrush you no longer use or a scrub brush with a long handle.
  • Get a little water on the head of whichever brush you use, then put a small amount of grease-cutting dish soap on it.
  • Scrub the insides of the garbage disposal, getting all the inner surfaces.
  • Once you’ve got the brush out of the sink, connect the power back to the garbage disposal, and rinse it with hot water again.
  • Next, take two cups of ice and one cup of rock or kosher salt and pour them into the garbage disposal.
  •  Activate the garbage disposal, then turn on the cold water. Let the water run as the ice cubes and salt ground.

Deodorizing a Garbage Disposal

You don’t want your garbage disposal to stink up your kitchen. Here are steps to take to deodorize your garbage disposal.

  • Sprinkle half a cup of baking soda into the garbage disposal’s opening. 
  • Next, pour a cup of white vinegar in and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  • Activate the garbage disposal and turn on hot water to rinse out the baking soda mixture.
  • You can also utilize chopped citrus peels in place of vinegar and baking soda. Take a handful of cut-up peelings of orange, lime, lemon, or another citrus fruit. Then remove some of the white pith and throw it out. Take the peels and put them through the grinder several strips at a time while cold tap water is running. 

How Often Should I Clean My Garbage Disposal?

Ideally, your garbage disposal should be cleaned once a week or at least once every two weeks. Regular cleaning can help prevent problems from forming.

Garbage Disposal Repair Services

If your garbage disposal leaks or frequently has problems, it’s probably time to call in an expert—like the Plumbing Lady HEB Plumbing & Sprinkler. We serve the Tarrant County area and can help you get your garbage disposal working as it should or even install one for you. So contact us to help your garbage disposal work right.

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