How to Clean a Garbage Disposal
Garbage Disposals: The Smelly Truth
DIY Methods for Cleaning Your Sink Disposal
There are some fairly straightforward techniques to help keep your disposal clean. Luckily, none of them involve sticking anything in your drain to clean out a mess. But if you do these when light clogs come up, then you can prevent sink water or bad smells from backing up into your kitchen.
- Baking Soda and Vinegar. If you have a lighter clog or an emerging smell from your unit, then pour some baking soda down that drain, followed by some vinegar. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes, and then flush the unit with hot water while you have the motor running. The combination of baking soda and vinegar can help break up organic materials and eliminate smells.
- Ice and Vinegar. For tougher clogs, try running some ice and vinegar in your unit. Ice helps dislodge food particles caught in the grinders, while the vinegar can break up stringy organic material and eliminate other materials that can cause rotting smells.
- Citrus Peels. If you consistently find that your disposal unit smells bad, then try dropping a few citrus peels or left-over pulp into the unit with other food waste. The acid of the citrus (lemons and limes work great here) can eliminate the odors, help break up and lingering food, and actually replace the original bad odor with a cleaner-smelling scent.
Professional Methods for Big Problems
- They are linked to the electrical system. Some units plug in to an outlet underneath your sink, while others are directly wired through the wall. In either case, dealing with a garbage disposal means you are dealing with an appliance that carries a significant amount of electricity, which is never to be taken lightly.
- They contain powerful motors. These motors aren’t going to power a boat, but they can hurt if a finger gets caught. That’s not to mention that the grinders are made to grind, which means that they can cause damage to anyone who decides to, say, stick a utensil in the unit.
- They have several points where food can get caught and clog a grinder. If you decide to work on a unit you might not know how to work out catches or clogs in the motor or grinder system. What could be a simple job for a professional could take you the better part of the day if you don’t know what you are doing.
Practice Preventative Care
There are also preventative steps you can take to keep your unit clean and fresh-smelling.
Keep It Clean and Fresh All Year Round
When it comes to how to clean your disposal unit, it is best to work with prevention and basic, non-invasive approaches that can keep the unit running smoothly. But as with all the best laid plans of mice and men, it doesn’t guarantee that the unit will always work as it should. If your garbage disposal unit stops running, or if the motor unit gets stuck, then don’t try to perform mechanical surgery. Call your local plumber to have them not only take care of the problem, but to ensure that your unit functions at its best for years to come.