Have a funky smell in your kitchen, and you’ve already checked the normal suspects: fridge, garbage cans, or the dishwasher? Try cleaning the garbage disposal. Think about all the food particles that your disposal sees and some of those might not always rinse completely away. The dark, moist environment can make your garbage disposal chamber the perfect breeding ground for germs and bacteria. Cleaning your disposal is not only necessary, but it’s also quick and easy to do.
To keep your disposal in tip top shape, you should really clean it weekly. The good news is that it can take as few as twenty minutes to get this task completed. There are several ways to clean your disposal and most of them use items you most likely already have in your home. Here are some of the ways to clean and deodorize your garbage disposal.
To get started, all you need are a few items you probably already have lying around the house. Here’s the list:
* A pair of tongs or needle-nosed pliers
* Baking soda
* Rock salt (tons of household uses for this item - cleaning stubborn spots on cast iron is a big one!)
* White Vinegar
* A mild dish detergent like Dawn blue liquid
* A small scrub brush or toothbrush
* Lemon or other citrus fruit peels
1. The first step is to turn the power off to your disposal. Many units plug into a nearby outlet - it might be under the sink. If yours doesn’t plug into the wall, turn the power off at the breaker. Taking this step is so important – unless you want to potentially lose a finger.
2. Remove the rubber splash guard, also called the baffle. Using a scrub brush or toothbrush and the mild detergent, clean the top and underside and set the guard aside to dry.
3. Before going too much farther into the cleaning process, use a flashlight and thoroughly check in and around the disposal for anything that might have fallen into or gotten trapped in the unit. If there is anything in there, turn the power off to the unit if you didn't do this in step 1. Use either needle nosed pliers or kitchen tongs to remove the objects. This helps ensure your fingers won't get cut on the blades.
4. Turn the power back on to the unit. Fill the disposal with ice and add ½ cup of rock salt. Run a stream of cold water into the disposal and run the unit until all of the ice has been ground up and has gone down the drain.
5. Turn the power to the disposal off again and add 1 cup of vinegar and ½ cup of baking soda into the drain so it bubbles in the unit of the disposal. Let the fizzing bubbles work their magic on the inside of the unit. While that is working, mix a paste of vinegar and baking soda. Use your cleaning toothbrush and press the paste into the rubber parts of the neck of the disposal and scrub clean.
6. Check for any remaining areas that need to be scrubbed with the paste.
7. Rinse the unit with cold water.
8. Replace the nice and clean splash guard.
9. Restore the power to your disposal
10. Enjoy your efforts with your clean and fresh smelling disposal.
If your disposal is still really stinky, you can grind some citrus peels, like lemon or orange, in the unit to help remove those stubborn odors.
Now that the disposal is clean, there are some things to never put in it:
- Coffee Grounds
- Onion skins
- Rice, Pasta, or bread – turn into a gloopy paste
- Celery or corn husks
- Egg shells
- Potato skins – either they get missed by the blades or turn into a paste
- Cooking oils or grease – they can congeal in your pipes
- Pits or seeds
- Bones or seafood shells
- Nuts – turn into a paste when ground in the disposal and mixed with water.
Hope your garbage disposal is clean and smells great. Stay tuned for our next Cleaning Class!