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How to Clean Garbage Disposal

best way to clean a garbage disposal

Knowing how to clean everything in your kitchen properly is essential. It will allow you to eliminate bad smells and threats, and sanitary concerns, after all. So, let’s take a look at something a little trickier: how to clean garbage disposal. However, before deep-diving into the topic, let find out:

How to tell it’s time to clean a garbage disposal

Of course, when talking about cleaning, the important first step is ascertaining that you need to do it in the first place. In addition to your regular cleaning schedule, there are several situations in which you can clearly tell that you need to clean your garbage disposal. Such signs typically are:

  • Frequent or sudden clogs. This often happens during winter, when people stay home more and cook greasier food. Which, in turn, necessitates more frequent garbage disposal cleaning
  • Bad smells. It is typically a sign of something getting stuck in the disposal or a buildup of food particles
  • Weird noises. While it can be a sign of a mechanical breakdown, it can also be a sign of something hard getting stuck. Be it food or something dropped in accidentally
  • Unexpectedly poor performance. Again, it can either be something that needs to be fished out or a breakdown.
Smelly garbage
: Never let your garbage disposal’s smell get worse than actual garbage!

Best way to clean a Garbage Disposal

Never clean with the disposal still on

Unlike trying to do electrical work at home on your own, if you follow the proper procedures on how to clean a garbage disposal, then you’ll be perfectly safe. On the flip side, it is almost no less dangerous if you are careless. In order to be completely certain nothing can go wrong, just turning your garbage disposal off is not enough. You need to make sure to unplug it, too. Or, if you can’t do that for some reason, you should turn off the electricity using your breaker box that feeds into that part of your home. Double-check that you’ve done it right, too! To say that the possible results of failing to do so would be reminiscent of a horror movie is by no means an exaggeration. So, if you want to keep all your fingers, do not skip this step!

The easy part of working to clean a garbage disposal

The next step of cleaning a garbage disposal is relatively simple and easy. You just need to remove the splash guard on it and clean it! Now, do not try and clean it while it is still attached. All the crevices on it make it rather unlikely that you will actually succeed in getting everything. And its role makes it an inevitability for bits of food to get stuck. Thankfully, it’s quite easy to pull it out of the drain. And even if you don’t specialize cleaning equipment, you can use a toothbrush and detergent to clean it quite thoroughly. Just remember to scrub very vigorously in order to actually get all the nasty stuff off it.

A red toothbrush
A toothbrush is a surprisingly useful kitchen cleaning implement.

Removing larger debris chunks

The next thing to do in order to clean a garbage disposal would be to deal with any pieces of food stuck in it. With the splash guard out of the way, you will be able to get a better look inside. You should use a flashlight or similar in order to really reveal any bits of food, though. Once you’ve spotted the problems, you should use either pliers or tongs in order to actually remove the pieces of food. Never, under any circumstances, should you consider sticking your fingers in there. The blades are still wickedly sharp, and if you mess up, you can cut yourself badly. This type of cleaning is also normally needed after the winter months. It is frequently part of the spring cleaning before moving house since it’s the perfect time to clean after the increased use of the garbage disposal during winter holidays.

A more thorough cleaning

Cleaning the way we previously discussed, however, still leaves you with slime, gunk, and other unpleasant stuff in your garbage disposal. In order to clean them all away, you typically need to rely on chemicals. However, just as it’s smarter and better to pressure wash a house rather than scrubbing it with all sorts of harmful chemicals, the same logic applies here. Using chemicals can even damage the blades and make them do their job far worse than before. So, we rely on a more traditional concoction: half a cup of baking soda, allowed to sit for around half an hour, and then chased down with one cup of vinegar. This will produce a foamy liquid that will bubble into your sink. After about five minutes, simply rinse it all down with some hot water, and you’re done!

how to clean garbage disposal with a thorough cleaning
Of course, some garbage is better off in the trash

Taking care of the blades

Even all of that is not always enough to remove nastiness from your garbage disposal’s blades. So, in order to clean a garbage disposal, we once more have to rely on a unique trick. Namely, once you’ve put in the splash guard again, you need to turn your garbage disposal on again and pour around two cups of ice into it. Following that, you should pour in a cup of salt, turn your tap on cold, and let the garbage disposal run. The combination of ice and salt will scrub away anything that has survived the soda and vinegar combo.

Eliminating nasty smells

The final step of our guide on how to clean a garbage disposal is optional. Its whole purpose is to speed up the dispersal of bad smells that can linger even after the cleaning is done. Thankfully, though, it is really quite simple. All you have to do is peel citrus, put the peel into your garbage disposal, and run cold water to wash it down. Lemon peel is one of the best choices due to its refreshing smell. Once you do this, you’ll be free of bad smells and free to move on to other home improvement ideas!

Final comment

The most important thing about how to clean garbage disposal should be obvious by now: safety!

No matter what you do, you must ensure that you never risk your fingers during the cleaning. Everything else is relatively easy to handle.

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