Down the Sink

Reviews and General Information on Garbage Disposals

How to Clean a Garbage Disposal

I’ve decided to add a few words on our website for those of you that think you may need to replace your garbage disposal. When in fact, it probably just needs a good old clean.

There are a couple of things that can make it kind of obvious that you need to clean your unit:

  • That smell! When you walk into your kitchen, are you hit by a smell like a garbage dump? Are you having trouble locating where the smell is coming from? Look to your waste disposer!
  • When you switch your unit on, do you find it’s not as effective as it once was?

These are both signs that it’s time to clean your unit BUT, there are certain safety measures you need to take. After all, what lurks beneath your sink isn’t just rotten bits of waste that’s started to smell, you also have some pretty heavy duty cutting implements that can slice through fingers like butter.

Safety Precautions

So, take these safety precautions first:

  • Switch the power off to your unit and check you have done this properly by trying the power before you even think about starting to clean it.
  • NEVER put your hands down the unit even if you’re confident the power is off.

What you Need

A Few things you will need are:

  • A pair of tongs or pliers (these will replace what your hands would normally do).
  • Some ice and rock salt. If you don’t have rock salt use vinegar instead.
  • Some lemon peels, and make sure any pips are not present.

What NOT to Do

Things you should never do when you’re cleaning a garbage disposal unit (apart from the safety factors detailed above) are detailed below for you:

  • DO NOT use bleach or other corrosive cleaning liquids with your garbage disposer. This is one mistake many people make. In fact, I once did this and ended up having to buy a new unit because the parts inside were really badly affected, rendering the whole thing useless.
  • Never use hot water when you’re rinsing the disposer. Hot water can melt certain fats that may be lurking beneath, and this will just cause jams.

The Actual Cleaning Procedure

Finally, to make sure you don’t get a smell issue in the kitchen (and to help extend the life of your garbage disposer), you should give it a good clean once every 2-4 weeks (depending on the amount of usage).

To find out how you actually go about cleaning your garbage disposer, you can watch the video with step-by-step instructions.

Happy cleaning, and keep those hands safe!

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