Cleaning the Garbage Disposal

Black Kitchen Sink and How to Clean the Disposal.

Cleaning and Deodorizing the Kitchen Garbage Disposal.

How to Clean the Garbage Disposal

The garbage disposal is a very big and necessary appliance in the kitchen. This small unit is a must for most people because of the amount of food scraps it grinds.

And like other appliances in the kitchen, the garbage disposal needs a good cleaning periodically as it can be a breeding ground for bacteria.

Yet, if you’re like most people, despite the fact it’s used almost daily, you probably don’t think about cleaning it. If you keep it cleaned and maintained it will run smoothly for years.

To keep your garbage disposal working right and odor free, we’ll give you tips for operating it, clearing jams, cleaning it and keeping it odor free.

Operating the Garbage Disposal

Some good tips about using a garbage include the following:

  • Do not put oils in a garbage disposal.
  • Do not put fats in a garbage disposal.
  • Do not put grease in a garbage disposal.
  • Do not put potato skins in the garbage disposal.
  • Do not put pasta or rice in the garbage disposal.
  • Do not put fibrous foods in the garbage disposal.

Any of these will slowly accumulate, clog and keep the disposal from grinding properly.

  • Operate your garbage disposal with cold running water. This will help move food waste down the drain and solidify any grease, fats or oils that may get in there.
  • Only use the garbage disposal when a strong stream of water is running.
  • Do not overfill the disposal with food products and put small amounts of food in at a time.
  • Be sure to break up large pieces of food before grinding.
  • Remove dishware, silverware and glasses from the sink before grinding.
  • Be sure to let the water run for at least 30 seconds after turning the disposal off.
  • Be careful with what you put down there! You don’t want to have the unit smashing up hard bones and glass.
  • Do not use any type of bleach, drain cleaners or chemicals of other types within your garbage disposal.
  • Do not put food in the disposal until you have turned it on. Then, do so slowly, without shoving large items into it.
  • Do not allow utensils to get into it.
  • Never put your hands in the drain.

Clearing a Jammed Garbage Disposal

Try this to dislodge a jam in the garbage disposal.

  1. Press down on the reset button that most units have. The reset button is red and on the very bottom of the unit.
  2. If the reset button does not fix it, you need to try to remove whatever it is that is lodged in it.
  3. The garbage disposal came with an allen wrench (key). The allen wrench can be inserted into the underside of the unit and wiggled to dislodge many jams without having to call a plumber.
  4. DO NOT put your hand into it or any type of sharp object.
  5. If all else fails and you are still having problems with your garbage disposal, call a plumber.

Cleaning the Garbage Disposal and Removing Odors

To clean your garbage disposal, run hot soapy water through it on a daily basis. Toss a few ice cubes in the disposal to clean and sharpen the blades, this can also help break up any build up that has accumulated.

Occasionally, to remove odors from the garbage disposal, grind a cut up lemon, lime or small orange to get rid of odors.

Freeze white vinegar in ice cube trays and periodically run these in the disposal to remove odors, bacteria and help sharpen blades.

Pour baking soda or borax (about 1/4 cup) in the drain and let it sit for an hour or so to remove stubborn odors.