Cleaning a Kitchen Garbage Disposal

Most people assume that garbage disposals are clean.

On the surface this makes sense due to the number of times it sees dish detergent, soap, and water running through it. BUT, this couldn't be further from the truth. The water combined with the nutritious ingredients from the foods that go through it make the perfect breeding ground for germs and bacteria. It is important to keep the garbage disposal clean to ensure it is in working order so you don't have to buy a new one.

For those interested in how to clean a garbage disposal, read below!

how to clean a garbage disposal

Use a soft rag or sponge with some soap to to wipe down the sink surface. When this is rinsed through the garbage disposal, this will clean most of it. Every once in awhile it is important to clean the garbage disposal thoroughly to kill the bacteria off of the blades and keep it in working order. Be careful to avoid materials such as ammonia or bleach that can strip the stainless steel or its finish.

The ingredients for how to clean a garbage disposal include liquid dishwashing soap, white vinegar, baking soda, sea salt, lemon or lime, and ice. A soft sponge and old toothbrush (that nobody uses anymore) can also be used. First, take one half cup of baking soda and gradually pour it into the garbage disposal. Then, add about a full cup of the distilled white vinegar. This mixture will start to fizzle and make some noise that can get quite loud. Do not be alarmed and just allow this to do its job for about 5 to 10 minutes. While this is happening, fill a tea kettle or small pot with hot water. Place it on the stove and heat this until it begins to boil. Once it is boiled, pour it down the garbage disposal.

Next, fill a measuring cup with two cups of ice. Pour this down into the garbage disposal. The garbage disposal should be almost full with ice. Follow the ice with about a cup of salt. Sea salt works well, rock salt works even better. Next, turn the faucet on and run some cold water over the ice. Keep this going until the ice is gone. The larger rock salt and ice are good for knocking smelly debris off of the blades.

Finally, take the lemon or lime and slice this in half. Continue to run the water into the garbage disposal and shove the fruit halves into the disposal with the water running. This will help to rid the garbage disposal of any remaining odors. This should keep the garbage disposal free of debris, smelling nice, and functioning well for the future.

Broken garbage disposals can be a challenge to fix. Keep them running well by cleaning them regularly. They will return the favor by working efficiently and reliably for many years to come.


Justin Curtis

I am not a professional plumber, but I do feel like I am pretty handy :). I would love to hear your comments about this post or others. Thanks for reading!

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Al Horst - March 27, 2018

Can I replace the splashguard on a Badger 500 easily or does the unit have to be unbolted to get at it? I bought what looks like a direct replacement for the splashguard and an insinkerator u-tube claims you can pull the old one out from above, which doesn’t seem to be the case, as it looks to be attached to the pump. Which is it? Thanks.


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