If you don’t know how to clean your garbage disposal, this could happen to you…
The other day I noticed a funky smell in the kitchen. At first, I thought it was the trash… but the closer to the sink I got, the worse the smell got. Then I realized — it was the garbage disposal!
I’ve heard people say “you shouldn’t need to clean your garbage disposal because it’s self-cleaning.”
Just because it’s supposed to chop everything you put in there into tiny shards and wash it away like magic doesn’t mean it actually does that. Tiny particles get left behind, causing things to get a little gunky — and smelly.
So here’s how you clean your garbage disposal.
Clean Your Garbage Disposal
First, run hot water down the disposal for about 30 seconds. This will help loosen all the slimy bits. While the water runs, run the disposal for about 15 seconds, then turn off both the disposal and water.
If you’ve been reading my blog for long enough, you know how much I love our homemade citrus vinegar cleaner! Any time we have citrus fruit that is about to go bad, we cut it up and steep it in vinegar. This particular batch of grapefruit vinegar was ready to be poured off at the right time. I removed the rubber drain cover, and…
EW. Just ew. I sprayed it with cleaner and scrubbed it up good.
Next, I put in the grapefruit chunks. Laden with vinegar, they’ll act as scrubbers when you clean your garbage disposal. Replace the drain cover, turn on the cold water, and pulse the disposal a few times to help break the chunks up without putting too much constant stress on the disposal. After 6-8 pulses, turn the disposal on and let it eat the rest of the chunks of grapefruit (or whatever citrus fruit you may be using).
Lastly, remove the drain cover again, put a handful of ice in the disposal, and sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Replace the drain cover, turn on the cold water and let ‘er rip! The ice will remove little bits of leftover citrus while the baking soda reacts with any vinegar residue to finish the cleaning and help deodorize the disposal.
Some sites will tell you to follow up with bleach, but I don’t think bleach is meant for kitchen drains. Use it at your own risk.
Maintain Your Garbage Disposal
- Never put anything into your garbage disposal that isn’t biodegradable.
- Never put fibrous materials into your disposal (like onion skins, corn husks, or celery stalks). Likewise, never put peelings in the disposal (potato, carrot, etc). They may tangle and bind the blades.
- Never put any kind of oil, grease or fat in the disposal. They can accumulate, slow down the motor, and cause the drain to clog.
- Eggshells, small fish & chicken bones are good for the disposal – they help scrape loose any stuck-on gunk.
- Run your disposal 15 seconds longer after the grinding stops, and run the water an additional 30 seconds. This will ensure everything has been ground down and washed away as much as possible.
- Once a week, flush your disposal. Plug the disposal side of the sink with a stopper, fill half way with warm water and add some dish soap. Turn on the water, unplug the drain and turn on the disposal to let the warm soapy water flush the disposal of loose particles of food. (This will help keep down the gunk and smell, too.)