How to Safely Clean Your Garbage Disposal

How to Safely Clean Your Garbage Disposal

The concept of having to clean your garbage disposal might sound odd, as that is what you use to clean up your meals. But contrary to popular belief, your garbage disposal, like any appliance, needs a little TLC too. By periodically cleaning your disposal you can help prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria and mold. Before jumping right into cleaning, be sure to read the proper methods to use to make sure you clean your garbage disposal safely. 

When should you clean your garbage disposal? 

The first tell-tale sign it is time to give your garbage disposal a deep cleaning is if you notice any foul odors coming from your sink drain or pipes. These smells are likely due to buildup of food and scum in the disposal itself. Another red flag for how to know it’s time to clean your disposal is if you notice it making any odd noises or not working properly. It could be clogged or have something that shouldn’t have been put down there jammed into the appliance. A good rule of thumb for how often to clean your disposal is every 2-3 weeks or as needed. 

How to clean your garbage disposal

Now that you’re ready to clean your disposal, be sure to follow these steps to make sure you stay safe throughout the process. 

1. Turn off the power

Before you go sticking your hand into an appliance that chops things up, be sure to turn the power off by unplugging the disposal under the sink or cutting the electricity at the breaker box. If this is the only tip you remember that’s okay because it is the most important one. 

2. Clean the rubber guard (or baffle) 

Using soap and a sponge, scrub the top and bottom of the rubber guard to rid it of any slime or build-up. 

3. Clean the grinder  

Just below the baffle is the grinder chamber. This will likely be where you see some food debris. Using a flashlight, inspect the chamber and remove bits of food that remain using tongs, and wipe the area clean using your sponge. 

4. Clean the disposal

Pour half a cup of baking soda into the garbage disposal. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes and then pour one cup of vinegar into the disposal. This will have a chemical reaction and foam up. After a few minutes rinse everything down the drain with hot water.

5. Turn the power back on 

You’ve made it through the dangerous part, so it is safe to plug in your disposal or switch the breaker power back on. 

6. Clean the blades 

Fill a bowl with ice cubes and put them down the disposal. Add one cup of salt on top of the ice. Run cold water and turn your disposal on until the ice is completely ground up. This acts as an exfoliant for the blades, scrubbing them and ridding them of any residue that remains. 

Let Stephens Plumbing Check Your Disposal For You!

If you get into the habit of cleaning your disposal periodically you can greatly prolong the life of your appliance and prevent any unwanted odors wafting through your kitchen. If after cleaning your disposal you still experience issues with odor, sounds, or functionality, it might be time to replace your garbage disposal and seek a plumbing service. Be sure to contact us to set up a visit where we can assess the disposal and replace it if needed.