How to Keep Your Garbage Disposal Clean

When working properly, a garbage disposal will benefit your cleaning activity in the kitchen. However, when it isn’t working correctly, it can make your kitchen smell like rotten trash. Therefore, it is crucial to keep your garbage disposal clean.

Here are some simple tricks to keep your garbage disposal clean:

1. Know What Is Bad for the Machine

A garbage disposal is meant to grind compostable food waste. So anything that is hard to grind or non-compostable is best to keep out, such as:
– Hard items, like chicken bones or corn kernels. They may cause the device to get jammed.
– Fibrous items, like celery stalks and artichokes. They may get tangled around the blades or the motor.
– Scratchy foods, like potato peels or flour. They may form a thick paste that sticks to the blades.
– Non-compostable waste, such as cigarette butts and plastics. These things will clog your whole drainage system.

If your garbage disposal gets jammed with these things, do not use your hands to take them out. Use a pliers or tongs instead. However, make sure to turn off the machine first.

2. Don’t Let Oils and Fats Get In

Another simple rule for keeping your garbage disposal clean is to keep the grease out of your device. Grease may slow down the motor of your garbage disposal and even clog your pipeline. Of course, it is nearly impossible to keep oils out of your device as food waste is often already oily.

Oily food waste can go straight to the disposal. However, do not ever pour used oil or fats into it. When washing a frying pan, wipe out the oil first using tissue paper to minimize the amount of grease going into the garbage disposal.

3. Ice Cubes and Rock Salt for the Debris

Some food waste debris are tough to flush out. They stay inside the machine and may cause problems later. However, it is actually easy to take care of this problem.

Simply pour about 10-15 ice cubes into your garbage disposal, and then pour in half a cup of salt afterwards. Rock salt may be a better option, but table salt is good to use, too.

Run the machine for a few minutes. It will be loud, for sure, but don’t worry; the ice will not damage your machine.

4. Vinegar and Baking Soda for Bad Odors

When your garbage disposal begins to smell like rotten trash, that means there is still some food waste somewhere inside. The bacteria has built up and created the foul smell.

You need a combination of vinegar and baking soda to deal with this mess. The acidity of vinegar will kill the bacteria, while baking soda will act as a scouring agent.

Pour in half a cup of baking soda inside your disposal, followed by a full cup of vinegar. Pour the vinegar slowly because it will create foam as soon as it meets the baking soda. This foam is great because it can carry the vinegar even deeper and more thoroughly clean the machine.

5. Use Hot Water and Soap for the Grease

Sometimes you may find grease sticking up on the inside of your garbage disposal. This needs to be cleaned, otherwise it may cause a bad smell or clogging.

Start by pouring some dishwashing soap inside your device. Turn the machine on and run hot water into it. The hot water will liquify the oil, and the soap will bind it and carry it away. The more grease you have in your garbage disposal, the more soap will be required to clean it up.

Ideally, a garbage disposal needs to be cleaned at least once every 2-3 weeks. However, use common sense and clean it more frequently if you see sludge and debris building up in the device.

Contact the Plumbing Pros at ECM 

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help with any of your plumbing needs or concerns. Whether you have a simple question or need someone to come out and diagnose an issue, we’d love to help you will all of your plumbing needs.

Contact us at 561-295-1763 or click here to contact us.

Plumbing Service Locations include Palm Beach County, Broward County, Martin County, and St. Lucie County.


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