How to Clean a Garbage Disposal

A dirty garbage disposal can leave your kitchen smelling less than fresh and can impact the appliance’s function. At Rooter Hero Plumbing, we get phone calls every day from homeowners who want to know what they can do to clean their garbage disposal.

To clean your disposal, follow these three easy steps.

  1. Run cold water while the unit is turned on.
  2. Feed ice cubes (two to four trays worth) into the disposal. Don’t do this too quickly. Only put a handful of ice cubes in the disposal at a time. Contrary to what many people believe, the ice cubes are not necessarily sharpening the blades. Instead, the cubes freeze the stuck food and other debris. As the blades turn, the frozen debris flies off.
  3. Continue to run the water for one minute after the final ice cube is broken up.

Getting Rid of Garbage Disposal Smells

Ice cubes clean the disposal, but to get rid of smells chop up a lemon and feed it into the disposal. Lemon peels are quite tough, so make sure you slice the lemon up well before putting it into the disposal.

Are there still lingering smells after grinding up the lemon? If so, use a biodegradable cleaning product like Bio-Clean, but NEVER use chemical drain cleaners. Typical drain cleaning contain abrasive agents like sand and bleach that can quickly corrode your pipes.

What Are My Options If these Tips Don’t Work?

Sometimes what you think is smelly garbage disposal may be a clog in the pipe. Clogs can form quickly and cause smells because rotten food and other debris are gathering in the pipes or drain. To find out exactly what is going on in a situation like this, it’s best to call a plumber.

At Rooter Hero Plumbing, we have video camera inspection tools to see inside your pipes and determine if a clog may be causing the problem. If so, we can quickly eliminate the clog using hydro-jetting or other drain cleaning methods that will eliminate the odors you’re smelling.

To learn more about garbage disposal operation, cleaning, and installation, call Rooter Hero Plumbing today!

Have other how-to questions? Check out our posts on how to flush a water heater and how to clean up after a water leak.