How to Clean Your Garbage Disposal

A close up of a sink drain with the words, how to clean your garbage disposal.

A putrid smell in your home is often blamed on a trashcan or forgotten leftovers in a fridge. After taking out the trash or cleaning out your fridge, the smell still persists. What gives? You may have a dirty garbage disposal. Over time, grime and sludge can get caught on the blades and the piping, resulting in a building odor. Take back control of your kitchen and follow these tips on how to keep your garbage disposal clean.

Turn Off the Power to Your Garbage Disposal

Horror movies often make light of the dangers surrounding the garbage disposal. While uncommon, garbage disposals do have the ability to cause serious lacerations on fingers and hands, and in worse cases, sever fingers. Reduce the risk by removing the power to your garbage disposal.

Remove Trapped Objects

Sometimes bones or even small utensils can get caught in your garbage disposal, causing a build-up of old food. Use a flashlight to shine into the drain; see if trapped debris is the cause of the problem. If you spot large objects, use pliers or tongs to safely remove them. Be careful not to damage the grinder when removing the objects. Also, never try to reach into the garbage disposal with your hands. Even if the grinders are not turned on, they are still sharp and can lead to some nasty cuts.

A Soap Flush

For a soap flush, install the stopper into the sink, add dish soap, and run warm water until it’s 2-4” deep. Remove the stopper and allow the water and soap to drain down the sink. The soap will help dissolve and remove any grime in the drain, and the water will help to flush dislodged objects from the walls of the grinder. Repeat this process two to three times for optimal results.

The Old Toothbrush Scrub

Before you throw away your old toothbrush, consider using it to scrub down your garbage disposal. Using warm water and dish soap, scrub the blades gently to remove stubborn scum.

Ice Cubes and Salt

Restore power to your garbage disposal. Pour two cups of ice into your garbage disposal along with one cup of rock salt. Turn on the garbage disposal and chase the ice with cold water. The grinding ice will help sharpen the blades, dislodge grime or sludge, and remove unwanted odors. Three birds with one stone!

A lingering smell could indicate a problem with your pipes, such as a forming clog. You will want to contact the plumbing experts at HEB Plumbing & Sprinkler – Kathlyn Smith to help you remove the clog and avoid a potential disaster.