The garbage disposal is an appliance that really does some of the dirtiest work in the kitchen. And because it’s designed to mulch down food waste, it’s inevitable that odors and germs will build up in the disposal’s workings and the drainpipe. Making sure you regularly clean your garbage disposal unit will not only guard against bacteria but keep your kitchen fresher. Garbage disposal units that are regularly cleaned last longer too.
How Bacteria Can Build Up in Your Garbage Disposal Unit
Small particles of food can easily get trapped inside the garbage disposal unit. While you might not immediately notice any residual trapped food waste, before long you will become aware of an unpleasant smell. This is the first sign that mold and bacteria are present. And it’s not just the smell that’s the problem. Certain types of bacteria and mold are hazardous to our health. It’s good practice to include the cleaning of your garbage disposal unit in your weekly housekeeping regimen. It doesn’t take long, but the thorough cleaning of the unit once a week should keep even the busiest garbage disposal working efficiently and, more importantly, hygienically.
Effective Ways to Clean Your Garbage Disposal Unit
There are two ways you can clean your garbage disposal unit. Both are simple and make use of cleaning products you will very likely have on hand in the home. Half a cup of baking soda works wonders when poured into the drain of the kitchen sink. Allow to sit for a while and then pour a cup of vinegar down the drain. Put the plug in. Expect to hear a faint fizzing noise as the soda and vinegar react on contact. This sound is a good sign; it means the solution is working well and biting into any lodged food residue. Leave for a few minutes and then pour a kettle full of boiling water down the drain.
If you prefer, you can use chlorine bleach to clean your garbage disposal unit. You don’t need much bleach, about a tablespoon mixed into a gallon of water will be plenty. Slowly pour this solution into the drain and, as before with the soda solution, allow it to sit for a few minutes. Then run the tap with cold water to flush out any remaining food particles and chlorine bleach solution.
Keeping Your Just-Cleaned Garbage Disposal Fresh
The blades inside your garbage disposal unit are fairly robust, so they will easily chop through ice cubes. This is good news, as regularly grinding up ice cubes in the unit helps to remove particles before they have the chance to form mold. To add a touch of freshness to your daily garbage disposal maintenance, try putting citrus fruit rinds or herbs such as mint or lemon grass into the disposal unit. Adding a few drops of your favorite aromatherapy oils like lavender or tea tree or geranium can also help keep unwanted odors at bay. Remember to pour hot water down the drain afterwards, though.