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Tips on How to Clean Your Garbage Disposal

In spite of everyone’s best efforts, a garbage disposal is likely to end up with its grinders coated in slush, gunk and grime, and eventually is weighed down with debris and buildup. Substances such as glass and rubber can accidentally slip in, and prohibited items such as corn cobs, artichokes, and large bones can clog up the disposal. This can spawn an outbreak of smelly bacteria, which will further keep your disposal and drain from working properly, and is part of why you want to keep a clean garbage disposal.

There are some DIY cleaning methods to maintain your garbage disposal, keep your sink drain free of foul odors and keep your garbage disposal unit in running shape for a long time to come.


Remove Debris

In order to solve this matter, you may have to start by removing any items that are blocking your disposal. Before you begin, you will have to turn off the appropriate fuse—safety first. You want to ensure that your disposal has no power. Then you can take a set of tongs or pliers to pluck out the debris and food scraps, or an old toothbrush or scrub brush to loosen food waste in the baffles or grinding chamber. Only put your hands inside if you absolutely have to, and if and only if you know that the power is turned off.


Use Ice and Salt 

Do not use a drain cleaner on the disposal, as the chemicals in it can eat away at the rubber or plastic parts of the disposal. What you do want to pour in is about two cups of ice, followed by a cup of rock salt. If you don’t have rock salt, then you can use vinegar instead. Next turn on the cold water over the disposal for just 5 or 10 seconds. This can help clean off the grinders at your disposal, ridding them of the sludge.


Rinse it Out

After removing the buildup, your drain is going to need some help. You can plug up the drain, and then fill it up with 2 to 4 inches of water. Then you can unplug the drain as you turn on the disposal, and this should clear out the drain. Some will put white vinegar in the water, add dish soap to create a soapy water mix when running water down the disposal drain. These steps should really be a regular part of maintaining your drain, especially when you have to dispose of fibrous food.


Keeping a garbage disposal clean can help prevent the disposal from growing mold and bacteria. As food is processed in the machine, small food particles can become trapped in the small nooks, eggshells and their linings can get stuck on the sides of the disposer, even if water is run through the garbage disposal as it is being used, giving a good reason to double check and ensure all of the debris and small pieces have been removed.


Weekly Cleanings

Cleaning a garbage disposal at least once a week can ensure that bacteria and mold do not grow in the machine and contribute to odors or dangerous spores.


Some ways to clean a garbage disposal include:


  • Baking soda and vinegar. Pour one-half cup of baking soda down the drain and carefully pour one cup of vinegar afterward. Use a stopper to plug the top of the drain. Leave to settle while a medium pot of water boils. Pour the boiling water down the drain.
  • Water and bleach. Mix a gallon of water with a tablespoon of liquid bleach. Slowly pour down the drain and let sit, you could even add some dish soap. Flush the mixture with hot water for a few minutes.
  • Ice cubes and citrus peels. Grinding ice cubes through the garbage disposal can help encourage cleanliness. Combine the ice cubes with rinds from citrus fruit and grind through, cleaning the blades and dispersing a fresh scent from the disposal.

Following these tips can help ensure a clean garbage disposal free from mold and bacteria. Be sure to always disconnect the garbage disposal from a power source if putting hands near the blades!

If you are concerned about your home’s garbage disposal system, contacting an experienced plumber can ease your mind. Give A-1 Septic & Sewer a call for your garbage disposal needs!


Get Rid of the Odor

Once your disposal has been cleared, it will probably still reek. You can take a fistful of citrus peels and send them down the disposal, turning on both the cold water and the disposal. This should disperse the citric acid, giving your kitchen a fresh, clean smell. You may want to take this step every few months to regularly freshen up the sink. In fact, before you go on several day trips, you will want to clean the garbage disposal. Bacteria are sure to appear if you let damp debris sit in the disposal.


Call A-1 When You Need Help Cleaning Your Garbage Disposal

If you have further problems with your garbage disposal or drain, consider getting the expert help of a Kansas City plumber. At A-1 Sewer & Septic, Inc., you can find the skilled and friendly assistance you need, when you need it. We provide the service you deserve at night and on weekends. Contact our office today to get a quote, and to find out how our experienced plumbing technicians can help you.