Easy Steps for Cleaning Your Garbage Disposal

The garbage disposal is a useful kitchen tool that helps break up food particles and move them down the drain to prevent unwanted clogs. Occasionally, not all the remnants of food get processed completely, causing buildup that leaves a lingering odor. Noticing a foul smell is a sure-tell sign that the garbage disposal needs a deep clean. But rest assured, by following these simple steps your garbage disposal will not only smell clean, but will also be working at optimal efficiency.

Unclog any food particles that may be stuck in the disposal.

Make sure the power to the garbage disposal is completely off to avoid risk of harm. Then following one of these three ways to unclog a drain to dislodge or remove any objects before proceeding to the cleaning process.

Manually clean the disposal with a scrub brush.

For a deep clean, use an old toothbrush or a scrub brush designed specifically for the garbage disposal to clean the hard to reach places inside the disposal. If possible, remove the screen from the top of the drain to make cleaning easier and more efficient. Then remove lingering odors by using one of the following methods:

Ice and Vinegar
  • Pour white vinegar into ice trays and freeze overnight
  • Place one to two cups of the frozen vinegar cubes into the drain
  • Running cool water, turn on and run the garbage disposal until the ice has fully been ground
Ice and Salt
  • Place one to two cups of ice in the garbage disposal
  • Sprinkle one tablespoon of rock salt on top of the ice
  • While running cold water, turn on and run the disposal until the ice has been fully ground
Baking Soda and Vinegar
  • Pour half a cup of baking soda down into the drain, allowing it to settle
  • Add one cup white vinegar
  • Allow the mixture to sit for five or ten minutes
  • Rinse down the baking soda and vinegar with hot water while the garbage disposal runs

For a fresher scent, add a quartered lemon or lime wedge to the disposal and process with cool water. This can be done after following any of the odor removing methods listed above.