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How to Clean a Garbage Disposal

A garbage disposal is a convenient appliance that makes it easier to break up and dispose of foods without throwing them in the trash. However, it is prone to buildup of gunk and debris. This may not only cause mold and bacteria to grow, odors, and other problems, but can clog up the device as well. Cleaning the unit weekly can avoid these issues. We’ll now explain how to clean a garbage disposal, so it is always ready to use.

Cleaning a Disposal with Ice

One of the simplest ways to clean a garbage disposal is, when it’s off, to put six ice cubes in the chamber. Then place a tablespoon of baking soda, three thin lemon slices, and a teaspoon of bleach in it. Add six more ice cubes before turning the unit on. Do not run the water at this point. The contents will grind up and when you no longer hear the grinding, run cold water (with the motor running) for 30 seconds.

As an alternative, you can use a half-cup of baking soda and a cup of white vinegar. After 10 minutes, turn the disposal on and run hot water until the mixture is washed away.

Cleaning Garbage Disposal Components

To clean your garbage disposal more thoroughly, first turn off the power. This requires either pulling the plug from the outlet under the sink or turning off the breaker for the circuit powering the disposal. Test the unit to verify you turned off the right circuit. Then follow the steps below:

  • Clean the Splash Guard: Also called a gasket or baffle, the splash guard has grooves and crevices that can catch food and grease. Lift it out of the drain and use a toothbrush or scrubbing brush, with dish detergent, to clean it. Be sure to remove debris/slime from the underside of the splash guard.
  • Check for Trapped Objects/Debris: Using a flashlight, check the drain for any objects that might be blocking the grinder. Debris can often be removed with tongs or long-nosed pliers. If you need to reach into the unit to remove an object, wear a rubber glove.
  • Clean the Inside of the Disposal: Preferably, you want to use a long-handled scrub brush that has a narrow head. Wet it with warm water and dish soap and insert the head into the disposal. Reach for all surfaces within the unit. Once you’ve cleaned the whole interior, remove the brush, turn the power back on, and flush with hot water.

To clean the top of the grinding chamber, wipe a sponge around. Clean the sponge frequently as it collects gunk. Repeat this process until you cannot pull any more debris from the unit. The baffle and grinding chamber are the two most important areas to clean.

  • Run the Unit with Ice and Salt: With the power on and splash guard in place, pour two cups of ice into the disposal and a cup of salt. Then run the cold water and turn it on until all the ice has been ground up. This is an effective way to loosen buildup and clean the blades.

Know How to Use Your Garbage Disposal Properly

Using the disposal properly will also help keep it cleaner. Load it with only as much as one cup of food debris at once. Also, avoid putting grease, coffee grounds, egg shells, or fibrous vegetables like corn husks or celery into the grinding chamber. This will help keep it clean and free of clogs.

Contact Village Plumbing and Air for Garbage Disposal Service

If you know how to clean a garbage disposal properly, you can possibly avoid repairs. But these appliances can develop issues such as leaks, noise, or breakdowns. At Village Plumbing and Air, we have trained technicians who can troubleshoot and repair disposals as well as install one in your home. To learn more or schedule garbage disposal services in Houston, call 713-526-1491 today.

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