How to Clean Garbage Disposal in 6 Easy Ways

Items Needed to Clean Garbage Disposal

Items Needed to Clean Garbage

Several items can efficiently clean garbage disposal in 2020. They get rid of all stains, germs, and odors from the machine, keeping the kitchen and home healthy. Here is the list of items needed for cleansing the disposal cleaner.

  • Dish Soap
  • Abrasive Kitchen Sponge
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Ice Cube
  • Bleach Solution’
  • Rock Salt
  • Citrus (Lemon or Orange) Peels
  • Liquid Dishwashing Soap
  • Flashlight
  • Thongs
  • Needle-nose pliers

How to Use a Soapy Kitchen Sponge to Clean a Garbage Disposal

How to Use a Soapy Kitchen Sponge

Using a soapy kitchen sponge is one of the easiest ways to wash the garbage disposal unit. It gets rid of debris and helps to kill off some harmful germs present. 

Here are the best tips to use it.

Unplug From the Power Source

The first step is to cut off the disposal cleaner from its main power source. Just switching off the power button at the back of the machine is not enough.

Wash the Baffle

Apply some dish soap on the sponge and utilize it to wash under the baffle thoroughly. Rinse often to remove the gunk that accumulates on the sponge during the scrubbing. 

Swab the Grinding Chamber

Scrub the top of the grinding chamber with the soapy kitchen sponge. Rinse regularly as the sponge gets filled with the gunk and repeat.

Wash the Drain

Remove the cover if there is any in use. Utilize the sponge to wash the areas of the drain that the hand can reach. 

Use Baking Soda and Vinegar

They help disinfect the machine. The recommended application usage is half a cup of baking soda. Apply the soda first before applying the same quantity (half a cup) of lemon. 

Seal the Drain

After applying it, the next step is to seal it to let the solution start working. It will start foaming like a well-shaken soda drink. Cover it to prevent the fuzz from spilling out and to keep it inside to wash.

Wash It Down

Wait for the solution to fuzz for a short time duration of three minutes before pulling off the cover. Put back the plug and switch it on. Add hot water to flush the solution.

Repeat the Process (If Needed)

Start the process from the beginning if unsatisfied with the job.

How to Clean a Garbage Disposal With Rock Salt, Vinegar, and Ice            

Clean a Garbage Disposal With Rock Salt, Vinegar

Frost cubes, Vinegar, and Rock Salt, are useful items for cleaning garbage disposal machines in 2020. Used together, they can penetrate the insides effectively. Here are some tips on how to utilize it properly.

Apply Ice

Put frost cubes through the sinkhole. The frost will serve as an abrasive when the other solutions start kicking in.

Apply Vinegar or Rock Salt

Add either vinegar or rock salt, or both, to combine with the ice cubes already inside the machine. The recommended quantity to add is a cup full.

Wash It Down

Switch it on and let the taps run to allow the ice to grind.

Repeat the Process (If Needed)

How to Use Ice and Citrus to Deodorize Your Garburator

How to Use Ice and Citrus to Deodorize

All garbage disposal cleaners, after a while of usage, start to emit unfavorable odors if unproperly maintained. Frost cubes, and Citrus help deodorize it and return it to its pleasant smell state.

Add Ice

Add some cubes into the home appliance. The ice helps scrape off gunk from the inside. 

Add Citrus

The citrus wedge helps fight and suppress the unpleasant smell. It replaces it with its favorable one. 


Do this regularly or each time the unpleasant odor returns.

How to Use Old Toothbrush

The Splash guard is a tricky area to handle. Usually, it needs to be removed to make it possible to wash off the gunk that settles there. With toothpaste, it is possible to wash off the gunk without having to remove it.

  1. Switch off the machine.
  2. Pick up an old toothpaste.
  3. Apply some quantity of detergents to the bristle.
  4. Use the old toothpaste and detergent with little liquid to scrub the splash guard.

How to Get Rid of Slimy Residue

Slimy Residue is responsible for the unpleasant odors that emit from the tool. Kosher salt is an effective abrasive tool for dislodging slimy residues from the garbage disposal. Here is how to clean out garbage disposal by applying the Kosher salt.

  1. Turn off the engine.
  2. Add some pieces of ice cubes.
  3. Switch it on.
  4. Apply half a cup of Kosher salt.

How to Use the Deep Cleaning Method for Persistent Smells

How to Use the Deep Cleaning Method

Using the above steps for sanitizing the garburator may not always effectively remove the bad odors and germs. Sometimes the smells persist even when all other steps get combined and repeated. To fix this, deep cleaning the garburator is the answer.

What accounts for this persistent smell is that when rinsed, participles harden on the pipe. It takes thorough action to remove it. 

Here are the steps.

  1. Leave the liquid on for about two minutes to flow directly through the faucet.
  2. Remove the pipe that connects the garburator to the sink using a wrench from the side of the machine. 
  3. Employ a rubber test cap to seal the part of the pipe that connects directly to the garburator. 
  4. Turn on the tap till the garburator is about half full of water. Place a bucket under the covered pipe.
  5. Apply half a cup of bleach and let it settle for an hour.
  6. Remove the rubber test cap and let the solution flow into the bucket.
  7. Fix the disconnected pipe.
  8. Flush soapy liquid down the drain to remove any debris left.

How to Get Rid of Odours

How to Get Rid of Odours

The appliance develops odors after a long period of usage. If unattended, it can spread around the house. 

To get rid of these unpleasant smells in 2020, do the following: 

Apply Citrus Fruit Peels

Citrus fruit peels such as orange, lemon, and lime can help eliminate odors emitting from it. A natural solution to clean the garbage disposal and remove any form of odors.

The smell of citrus is attractive, and it is an active ingredient used in many air fresheners. Keep the home smelling good by applying citrus fruit peels to the appliance. 

Apply Vinegar and Baking Soda

The combination is the right mixture to combat odors caused by residue. The recommended quality is half a cup each for both. 

Pour the soda first, then pour the vinegar through the hole where liquid flows out and let the solution fizzle for about 10 minutes.

Switch it on, remove the seal and pour hot water to rinse off the mixture. The odor will no longer be present, and a nice vinegar and soda smell will replace it. 

Use Bleach to Rinse

Bleach is an effective sterilizing agent that helps remove unpleasant odors. Apply a little quantity (a teaspoon) of bleach into a gallon of water. Gently pour it into the sinkhole.  After two minutes, wash it off with liquid.

Apply Borax

Pour four teaspoons of Borax into the machine. Leave to settle for an hour before rinsing with steaming liquid.

Do’s and Don’Ts of Garbage Disposals

Do’s and Don’Ts of Garbage Disposals-min

It is not a magical tool that gets rid of all kinds of dirt we throw at it. There are things we can and cannot put into it. 


  • Read the manufacturer’s manual or privacy policy. The instructions vary from one model to another. It contains tips on how to maintain the device.
  • Get a professional to install it instead of doing it manually. 
  • Always turn off the disposer before trying to remove anything that accidentally falls into it.
  • Prevent children from placing around it.
  • Disinfect it regularly to prevent it from becoming a breeding ground for germs and unpleasant smells.
  • Apply citrus peels to rid it of unpleasant smells and to improve the scent of the home.
  • Apply tongs to collect items stuck in the machine. 


  • Putting hands into the disposer.
  • Flushing down fats and other greasy substances.
  • Disposing of metal, cigarette butts, glass, or wood. 
  • Grinding items outside food scraps.
  • Using it as a general trash can.
  • Stuffing large amounts of participles such as pasta, potatoes, and rice can block the pipe.
  • Using hot water to grind.
  • Pouring excessive amounts of bleach into it in the name of maintenance. It can damage the pipes.
  • Washing off coffee grounds into it. While this will not pose any damage to the machine itself, it can clog it up and cause drainage problems.
  • Turning it off while it is still grinding.

Maintaining Your Garburator

Proper maintenance of the disposer keeps it working perfectly, gets rid of harmful germs, and prevents the emission of unpleasant odors. Several steps or tips can help maintain the machine.

Put Only Food Items That Are Biodegradable in the Disposer

Only biodegradable items should find their way into it. This is because they can easily decompose. 

Some examples of non-biodegradable items to avoid include:

  • Onion Skins
  • Celery Stalks
  • Corn Husks
  • Artichokes
  • Potato peels
  • Coffee grinds
  • Rice
  • Pasta

However, some non-biodegradable items help maintain the disposer. 

They include:

  • Egg Shells
  • Small Fruit Pits
  • Small Fish
  • Chicken Bones

Note that putting these excluded items above in large quantities into the garburator can block the pipes. 

Leave It on for a While After Grinding

Many people switch it off once the grinding sounds stop. This is not the best practice as some residue for items may remain behind. Instead, leave the machine to run for longer and switch on the taps to flush down what is left. 

Don’t Pour Grease

Pouring grease directly from the kitchen sink is a bad idea. It may seem harmless, like pouring liquid, but it is not. It can do more damage to the garburator than non-biodegradable items.


Dispose of all types of oils, fats, or grease in a proper trash can. It is not entirely possible to prevent oils from running down the sink because most cooked food items use it. Try to empty the oil from pots and pans before running the taps.

Cut Big Pieces Into Smaller Ones

Before disposing of any item, ensure it is cut into small and easily disposable pieces. Cut down large pieces into smaller ones, especially for fruits and vegetables.

FAQ Section

  • Is It Ok to Pour Bleach Down a Garbage Disposal?

    No, it is wrong to use flush bleach or any other strong solution down the machine in large quantities. However, if the intention is to clean it, a teaspoon of bleach mixed in a gallon of water is sufficient.

  • Do You Need to Clean Garbage Disposal?

    Yes, it is necessary to keep it working in top shape. There is a need to do it regularly to avoid the accumulation of debris and other participles. It can cause it to start emitting bad odors. Health is also an important factor. A more thorough hygiene routine will eliminate harmful germs.

  • How Often to Clean the Garbage Disposal?

    The ideal time interval is once a week. With proper maintenance (carefully watching what goes into the disposer), it is possible to only do it once every two to three weeks.

  • What Should You Not Put Down a Garbage Disposal?

    There is a long list of items that should never find its way into the machine.

    • Fibrous materials like celery stalks, corn husks, and onion skins can get tangled in the motor and affect the efficient functioning of the machine.
    • Eatable items such as rice, oil, coffee grinds, pasta, potato, potato peels, and starchy and expandable foods are bad for it.
    • Non-eatable items such as metal, cigarette butts, grease, glass, or wood can block the pipe and destroy the machine.

Why Keep Garbage Disposal Clean

A dirty garburator is a haven for harmful germs, which can cause running noses and other infections. It will also emit offensive odors that make the home unbearable to stay in.
The design of the machine allows it to self-clean. However, it can only do this to a certain extent. Debris and smug can stick to some of its parts. Only a stronger force or solution such as vinegar and baking soda can wash it off. Twitter and Facebook communities can help locate good products.
What is the best way to clean the garbage disposal in the house?