Want to know how to clean garbage disposal with baking soda, vinegar, lemon and ice cubes too? Then keep reading for the full step-by-step instructions on how to clean a smelly garbage disposal the best way!
You just scraped off the dinner plates into the sink, turned on the water and the garbage disposal, but things don’t seem to be going quite right down there.
The disposal starts making unusual noises like a baboon chewing slowly on a mouthful of bricks and it takes forever for the food to process through. When you run the dishwasher, you may even find residue and gritty leftovers on your dishes. Guess what? It’s time to sharpen the chopping blades inside your garbage disposal! It’s super-easy, and NO! It does not involve sticking your hand down in there!
Keeping your garbage disposal in good working order is such a simple thing to do – I am always surprised by how many people don’t know these fast and simple hacks, so now I’m sharing them with you!
How to Sharpen, Clean and Deodorize a Garbage Disposal
Materials Needed to Clean Garbage Disposal
Step 1: How to Sharpen Garbage Disposal Blades
Put a couple of cups of ice cubes in a bowl and sprinkle it liberally with the Sea Salt. The ice will sharpen the blades, and the sea salt helps by exfoliating old food from the blades and sides of disposal.
Dump the ice and salt into the garbage disposal – don’t fill it above the line where the sink plug will be inserted.
Insert the plug into the sink, and here’s a tip – HOLD it down until you’re done! The ice spinning around in the disposal can actually make the plug pop out of there, and believe me…you don’t want a hunk of ice flying through the air at your forehead!
Do NOT turn on the water – just turn on the disposal and let it run until you hear no more chopping noises…just the nice, quiet humming of the motor.
This takes care of the first step – keeping the blades sharp ensures you will chop the discarded food into finer pieces so they wash away instead of getting trapped in the disposal and/or drain lines, which can build up into your pipes and interfere with the proper workings of your dishwasher as well.
I probably do this to my garbage disposal about once each month, but you may want to do it more if you use yours a lot.
Step 2: How to Clean Garbage Disposal
So now that we’re here, let’s finish the job and get the disposal as clean as possible too!
How to clean inside a garbage disposal
Use baking powder – I just shake enough into the drain so I can easily see that it is coating the bottom, and I try to get it all around the sides as well. I do enough to give it a nice, thick coating.
You’ll hear the two react when they mix together, and start bubbling. This bubbling action is hard to see down in the drain, so I put the same solution into a bowl for you so you can see what it’s doing:
All that nice bubbling action is loosening up food and gunk on the sides and blades, but also getting into and cleaning out all the small crevices in between at the same time.
Once you don’t hear bubbling anymore, simply turn on the cold water tap, let it flow into the drain, and turn on the disposal to help it flush out all those remaining food particles.
Why cold water? Most of us will always have a certain amount of grease in the drain – it is best to use cold water so any grease residue solidifies and then gets chopped up into tiny pieces by the disposal and washes down the drain in small amounts instead of allowing it to block up your drains.
Step 3: How to Clean Smelly Garbage Disposal and Deodorize It
I’ve seen lots of ‘recipes’ for deodorizing tablets out there, and many of them combine with baking soda as well. These are great too, but I’m a really simple girl!
- Cut a lemon in half – leave the seeds in!
- Throw it in the disposal, one half at a time.
- Turn on the cold water and let it run into the drain.
- Turn on the garbage disposal. The lemon deodorizes the drain while the seeds and rind get chopped up and once again help to scour the interior sides of the disposal.
More Tips on How to Use a Garbage Disposal Properly
I was always taught not to put anything hard down a disposal drain, ever! There are some items that are good for it though because they can be chopped up easily and, as they are getting pulverized, the particles create that scouring action that helps clean the grind chamber walls. I’ve also learned what not to put down a garbage disposal too.
Don’t use anything too big or too dense, but smaller chicken bones, fish bones, egg shells and small fruit pits are typically good. Here are a few other helpful hints regarding garbage disposals:
- Always chop large items into smaller pieces and feed them down just a few at a time – do not over-fill the disposal and expect it to grind through.
- Be sure to run your disposal regularly to prevent corrosion and rust that can form just by simple lack of use.
- Always run the disposal after placing food into it. Allowing food to sit in the disposal will make the food dry out and become much more difficult to chop up and rinse down the drain.
- Never purposefully dump grease or oil down any of your kitchen drains!
- Avoid putting things like pasta, rice and potato peels down your disposal. Pasta and rice expand in your drain, just like they do when cooked on your stove and can cause blockages. Potato peels can form a paste when they are being chopped up, which will cause clogging as well.
- Keep your disposal’s motor on until all grinding is complete, and keep the cold water running too. Once your disposal has finished grinding, turn it off, but keep the cold water running for another 10 – 15 seconds so that the remaining food particles can be washed down the drain.
I hope you enjoyed these fast and easy tips for your disposal!
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For more smell-fighting tips, check out the following ways on how to clean away the odors: