A garbage disposal is a useful appliance. Like all appliances, it needs to be cleaned occasionally. If it’s not clean, bacteria and harmful mold can grow. The following are some tips on how you can easily clean your garbage disposal.

Why Do Garbage Disposals Need Cleaning?

The garbage disposal breaks down food into small bits and flushes them into the sewer system. However, some small pieces can get stuck in the splash guard. Over time, they start to decay, forming mold and bacteria. Another source of bacteria growth is the slime deposit left behind by stringy vegetables.

Thankfully, cleaning your garbage disposal is easy. You can use things you already have in your home, such as vinegar, baking soda, salt, ice, and lemon peels. Natural ingredients are better than harsh corrosive chemicals to clean your garbage disposal.

How Frequently Should You Clean Your Garbage Disposal?

Every month, clean the splash guard, which is the rubber piece covering the opening in your garbage disposal. With some garbage disposals, the splash guard is removable. If not, pull up each flap and clean underneath them with a scrub brush and hot soapy water. Often, the splash guard is the source of odors emanating from your garbage disposal.

Conduct a quick cleaning once a week to ensure the garbage disposal continues to function properly and keeps your home smelling fresh. Remember to avoid using bleach or abrasive cleaners when cleaning your garbage disposal. They can cause damage to your septic tank, pipes, and the impellers of your garbage disposal.

Do not reach your hand into the garbage disposal. If something falls in and you need to retrieve it, use tongs or another tool instead. Ensure you have the proper tools, such as rubber gloves, a brush, baking soda, and other necessary cleaning tools.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

The volcano method, which involves using baking soda and vinegar to clean your garbage disposal, proves highly effective. To perform this method, pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain and add a cup of heated white distilled vinegar. You can heat the vinegar using a microwave.

As a result, foaming and bubbling will occur. Allow everything to sit for about five minutes. Then, pour a pot of boiling water down the garbage disposal to force everything down the drain.

Subsequently, pour a combination of salt and ice down the drain. Turn on the garbage disposal while running cold water. The salt and ice work together to deodorize the garbage disposal.

If it has been a while since you last cleaned your garbage disposal, use a brush, soap, and hot water to give it a nice scrub. Make sure you turn the garbage disposal off before cleaning it with a brush.

Using Citrus Peels

A second option is to use citrus peels. Using citrus peels goes beyond just deodorizing your garbage disposal. It can make the entire kitchen smell like a lime, orange, or lemon grove.

First, take a cup full of lemon or other citrus peels and put them down the garbage disposal. Next, turn on the cold water. Let your garbage disposal run until all of the citrus peels have been run through the garbage disposal. Turn off the garbage disposal, and let cold water run for 10 to 15 seconds more.

Ice, Salt, and Lemon

This garbage disposal cleaning method has been all the rage on social media in recent years. Pour two cups of ice and one cup of rock salt into your garbage disposal. Run cold water and operate your garbage disposal for around 15 seconds. For an added kick, throw in lemon peels.

The ice and rock salt work together to break up any food particles or debris in your garbage disposal. Use cold water instead of hot water so that any grease that may have found its way into your garbage disposal does not melt and then congeal in your drain.

Are you out of rock salt? Vinegar is a good substitution. In this case, pour two cups of ice cubes and one cup of vinegar down your garbage disposal. Then, follow the same process as above, allowing the garbage disposal to run for around 15 seconds. The vinegar and ice work together to free any bacteria or food stuck in your garbage disposal. Ice cubes can actually help sharpen the blades in your garbage disposal while you clean it.

It’s recommended that after you try any of the above cleaning methods, plug the drain in your sink and fill your sink with water. Remove the plug and instantly turn on your garbage disposal. This will give it that final rinse, removing any remaining debris from your drain.

Steps For Keeping Your Garbage Disposal Working Well

In addition to cleaning your garbage disposal, follow these tips to maintain it so it is ready to use when needed.

Treat Your Garbage Disposal With Care

Garbage disposals efficiently dispose of unwanted food items, but certain things should never be poured down them. Avoid fats, oil, coffee grinds, pasta, rice, and bones. Even softer materials like fibrous vegetables and eggshells should be disposed of sparingly. These items can wrap around the blades, causing clogs. Never put non-food items down the garbage disposal, as this can damage the blades and lead to costly repairs or replacement of the unit.

Extend the Run Time of Your Garbage Disposal

Allow your garbage disposal to run for an additional five to 10 seconds longer than you think is necessary. This ensures that all food particles are processed and prevents debris or particles from getting stuck, which can cause bad odors and mold.

Use Garbage Disposal-Friendly Cleaning Products

Occasionally, use cleaning products to remove bacteria and prevent clogs. Ensure that you choose products specifically designed for garbage disposals. These products will help eliminate odors, clear clogs, and protect your garbage disposal from corrosion and damage.

Avoid Hot Water

Use cold water to carry waste from the blades through the drain pipe when operating your garbage disposal. Hot water can cause fats and grease to melt and adhere to the disposal blades.

Additionally, be mindful of the size and quantity of waste you put into your garbage disposal. Cut large items into smaller pieces and gradually feed them into the disposal. Slowly add additional food to avoid jamming the blades or clogging the drain.

Run the Garbage Disposal Every Couple of Days

Even if you do not have food scraps to grind, run your garbage disposal with cold water for around 10 seconds every couple of days. This will prevent the blades from sticking or resting because of lack of use. And, if there’s any leftover food from the last time you used the garbage disposal, it will have another chance to be washed out.

Work With the Number One HVAC and Plumbing Company in Cheshire

At F.F. Hitchcock Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, we are more than just HVAC specialists. We also work to address your plumbing needs. We recognize that technology has changed over the years, but our commitment to our customers and our pride in our work has not changed. We are committed to taking the hassle out of purchasing and installing HVAC systems or plumbing parts in your home.

Our services include HVAC installation, repair, and maintenance. We install heat pumps and ductless mini-splits. Our plumbing services include drain cleaning, water treatment, boiler installation, gas piping, and fixture replacement. Contact F.F. Hitchcock Plumbing, Heating & Cooling today and see how we make it easy to stay comfortable.

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