The Right Way to Clean Your Garbage Disposal

We are so lucky these days to have technology at our disposal that can make our life much easier. One of the critical pieces of equipment in many of our kitchens is the garbage disposal unit. These devices can easily suck up our food waste, gargle down that flat soda and make our homes a little more eco-friendly. Most of the time a garbage disposal will toil away without complaint, and they require very little maintenance. Despite this, the unit will need to be cleaned from time to time, and it’s important to do this in the right way. A Cautionary Note The first thing to consider is that there are materials that should not be placed into the garbage disposal unit. These materials include common kitchen waste, such as coffee grounds, liquid grease, fibrous materials, egg shells, bones and fruit pits. All of these materials can dull the blades and clog up your garbage disposal. This will impede the performance and make your unit much harder to keep clean. Flush With Water Now we can start cleaning, the first thing we need to do is dislodge any loose food waste, grime and dirt deposits in the unit. Start by plugging the garbage disposal opening and fill up the sink with 3” of hot standing water. Pour in some dish soap, move it around and then remove the plug to flush the hot soapy water through the garbage disposal pipes. The hot water will help to liquefy the grease and clean up and crud that has built up in the pipes. Ice and Salt Next, take some two cups of ice cubes and one cup of table salt and put them down the disposal. This may seem strange, but it really works. Turn on the disposal and be prepared for a loud noise that may seem alarming. Don’t be worried; this is all part of the cleaning process that we are trying to achieve. Then turn on the tap water, and this will combine with the churned up ice and salt mixture. This concoction that you’ve created will help to remove any sludge and debris that has adhered to the inner surfaces of the disposal. The ice will also sharpen up the blades, and this will even improve the garbage disposal performance. Time for a Scrub Now that you’ve removed a lot of dirt and sludge from the disposal it’s time to give it a scrub. Now, it’s important to state up front that you should never ever put your hand in the garbage disposal even if the power is turned off. Instead, use a long handled scrubbing brush or even an old toothbrush to manually clean inside the unit to remove any remaining stubborn debris. This can be done with just water, or you can add more dish soap for a more thorough clean. Once the scrubbing is finished, give it a good rinse with plenty of clean water. To finish as an optional step, you can throw some citrus peel down the disposal for a fresher scent. Congratulations, your garbage disposal is now clean, fresh and ready for use. By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solution.