If you’ve noticed a foul odor emanating from your kitchen sink, chances are it’s coming from your garbage disposal. Take a moment to visualize its interior – your garbage disposal is moist, dark, and subject to a consistent source of food scraps and water. In short, it’s a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and mold, not to mention the already smelly food waste you throw away.
Can You Clean Your Garbage Disposal?
While garbage disposals generally clean themselves and send food remnants through your plumbing where it belongs, even the best disposals can experience a sludgy buildup that can lead to unpleasant odors. If this is the case with your disposal, you can clean it on a weekly or biweekly basis to keep your kitchen as fresh as possible. However, it’s important to avoid chemicals like bleach and other kitchen cleaners, which can damage your system.
So, how can you effectively clean your garbage disposal and eliminate odors? Follow these simple steps:
- Use rock salt and ice. First, it's important to get as much food waste buildup off the blades and inner mechanism of your disposal as possible. Accomplish this by tossing a few ice cubes and a half cup of rock salt into your disposal. Then, turn it on to scrape buildup off all the moving parts.
- Cut the power. Next, you’ll need to cut the power, since you’ll be reaching into your garbage disposal with a small brush. The easiest method is to unplug your disposal from the wall beneath your sink. Then, check to make sure the power is off by turning the disposal on and off.
- Disinfect with vinegar and baking soda. This powerful duo can kill bacteria without damaging your pipes or garbage disposal. Pour in a cup of vinegar and top with ½ cup of baking soda. Let the mixture bubble for about fifteen minutes.
- Scrub the flange. The rubber flange that separates your garbage disposal from your sink can harbor odor-causing sludge and bacteria. Make a paste with baking soda and a small amount of vinegar. Use a small brush (we suggest an old toothbrush) to scrub the interior and exterior of the rubber flange with the paste.
- Restore power and flush the system. Fill your sink with hot water and a few drops of dish soap. After you’ve restored power, remove the stopper and turn on the disposal, flushing excess cleaning solution and sludge down your drain.
Aside from odor, continued blockages, reduced grinding power, and odd noises are all signs your garbage disposal needs expert attention. Contact Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Houston for all your kitchen drain and garbage disposal needs.