How to Clean Your Garbage Disposal

It’s a common scenario: you’re working in the kitchen when suddenly, you notice a foul odor. After some detective work, you realize it’s coming from your kitchen drain – more specifically, your garbage disposal. Before you attempt to clean your garbage disposal yourself, consult this brief guide from your friends at Mr. Rooter Plumbing Sacramento.

How Often to Clean Your Garbage Disposal

By nature, your garbage disposal does a fairly good job of cleaning itself. It sends the majority of food scraps and wastewater down the drain where they belong. However, sludge can build up over time, causing a noticeably foul odor to emanate from your drain. To prevent sludge and rid your disposal of buildup in areas not reachable by the grinding mechanism, a few simple steps once a week can improve freshness.

Steps For Disposal Cleaning

It’s important to avoid harsh chemicals like bleach and ammonia, which can harm your disposal mechanism and your pipes. Instead, to clean and freshen your garbage disposal, follow these simple steps:

  1. Break up food waste. Start by adding some crushed ice (about 12 cubes) and ½ cup of rock salt to the disposal. Turn on the water and run the disposal for about a minute to remove buildup from the blades.
  2. Turn off the power. The easiest way to do this is by unplugging the disposal itself; if you don’t have access, turn off the circuit breaker. Be sure to test by turning the garbage disposal on and off.
  3. Kill bacteria. Next, pour ½ cup of baking soda and 1 cup white vinegar into the disposal. Cover with your disposal stopper and let it fizz for about fifteen minutes. This natural cleaner is safe for your disposal and pipes, and it kills common household and odor-causing bacteria.
  4. Clean the flange. Make a thick paste of baking soda and vinegar on a small plate, then use an old toothbrush or kitchen sponge to apply it to the top and underside of the rubber flange. While you’re scrubbing, tackle any crevices in your drain area and the underside of your disposal and sink stoppers.
  5. Flush with water. After scrubbing, replace the drain stopper and fill your sink ¾ full of hot water, adding a few drops of dish soap. Restore power to your disposal, remove the stopper, and turn on the mechanism, letting the water drain with the force of the disposal.

After you’ve cleaned your garbage disposal, you can run small pieces of citrus rind through the mechanism for added freshness. In the event of disposal failure, leaking, or clog, however, it’s best to contact Mr. Rooter Plumbing Sacramento for help. We have the tools and expertise necessary to get your kitchen drain and garbage disposal working the way they should.