What You Need to Clean a Garbage Disposal

garbage disposal

It has happened to all of us. You walk into your kitchen and breathe through your nose, and realize that something is wrong. Very wrong. Your nose has caught the type of smell that can only be described as a mixture of days old meat and moldy fruit, but where is this smell coming from? The first thought is always the trash can. Many times this is the case, but nope, not today. After clearing the trashcan of the accusations, you move onto the fridge. Maybe you left some chicken in there for just a bit too long, and it decided to take your kitchen hostage with it’s smell. After a quick inspection you realize that it too is not the culprit.

After using your nose like a bloodhound, smelling everything in your path, you make your way to your kitchen sink. It is here you find the smell. It is coming from inside your sink. It’s your garbage disposal. You know that it is never a good idea to stick your hand inside of a disposal, so you grab a flashlight and pull back the gasket to peak in with a flashlight. To your surprise you find no large chunks of rotting food. So, what is causing the bad smell?

It is actually a combination of several things. When your disposal grinds up your old food it creates small particles of food that get stuck in your sink that don’t get properly washed down the drain. Many times they stick to the sides of the garbage disposal because of grease buildup or get wedged between your gasket and sink. So, what can you do to remedy the situation? Clean your garbage disposal of course! It is much simpler than you might have imagined!

What Supplies do you Need

Let’s start out by gathering the supplies we will need in order to clean your garbage disposal.

You will need: ½ cup of baking soda, 1 cup of vinegar, 2-3 cups of ice, 6 cups of boiling water, 1 cup of salt, 1 lemon cut into small pieces and seeds removed, tongs, and a scrubber.

Remove the Splash Guard

The first thing you will need to do is grab the gasket or splash guard on the top of your garbage disposal with your tongs and pull it out of your sink. It is very important that you never, for any reason stick your hand in the garbage disposal. Doing so can lead to serious injury. Once you have your splash guard out of your disposal you may quickly realize that it may be one of the major causes of the smell that was coming from your sink. Grease and food particles get trapped in the creases of the splash guard and can begin to rot which can be a big source of a foul smell.

Now take your splash guard and do a deep clean on it. I like to let it soak sink full of soapy dish water, before cleaning it with the scrubber. If after attempting to deep clean your splash guard, it still smells, you may want to consider replacing it altogether. They are relatively inexpensive and tend to run around $5. Now inspect the inside of your disposal to see if there are any large blockages that may be causing smell. Remember things like grease, stringy vegetables, and fruit pits should NEVER be put down a disposal, They can damage your disposal and plumbing system.

Rinse the Disposal

Once you have inspected your disposal, and removed any possible blockages, you should then grab your ½ cup of baking soda and pour it down the disposal. Then pour your cup of vinegar into the drain. You will begin to hear it fizz and make noise. Let this combination work for 2-3 minutes. Next grab your boiling water and pour it down the disposal to rinse away the baking soda and vinegar. Now you will need to take your ice and fill up your disposal. This can take 2-3 cups of ice to fill your disposal all the way with ice. Now take your cup of salt and pour it onto your ice. Turn on cold water and then run your garbage disposal until the ice and salt combination is gone. The ice and salt do a great job of helping loosen the buildup of grime inside your sink.

Finishing Touches

Now that your sink is free of most of the cause of the smell, it is time to kill any leftover smell. Make sure you put your splash guard back onto your sink at this point. Take your lemon and put two of the fourths of the lemon into the disposal. Turn on cold water and then run the disposal. Once half of the lemon is gone, go through the same process with the other half. This lemon smell will help eliminate any leftover smell in your disposal.

That’s it! You disposal should be cleaned smelling great. If you continue to have a bad smell come from your sink, contact a licensed local plumber to have your home worked on professionally.

Check out this video to show you how to clean your garbage disposal.

Guest Blogger: Doug Hoffman is a Social Media Supervisor for Budget Heating, Cooling & Plumbing with a passion for all things that have to deal with home. Being able to create the best living space possible is what is most important to me!