How to Clean and Freshen Your Garbage Disposal

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  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-50
What You'll Need
Baking soda
White vinegar
Drain stopper
Teakettle or pot
Boiling water
Ice cubes
Citrus rinds

Even though a garbage disposal is designed to pulverize and remove kitchen waste from food products, food particles often become trapped in the nooks and crannies of the disposal and drainpipe. This provides the perfect environment for mold and bacteria to grow and create unpleasant odors, as well as unhealthy spores.

At first, the odors may not be noticeable. However, given enough time and lack of cleaning, the unpleasant smells may become stronger as the bacteria and mold continue to grow. Cleaning the garbage disposal at least once a week with one of the following methods will help to keep it free of nasty bacteria and unsightly mold.

Tip: When cleaning your dishes, use detergents that break up grease and use hot water. Remember that kitchen grease will harden in your drains and retain odors, so put as little grease down your drain as possible. Also, always run water while running your garbage disposal to help keep it clear and clean.

1. Baking Soda and Vinegar

baking soda, vinegar, and citrus

Pour one half cup of baking soda down the kitchen drain. Then, carefully pour one cup of white vinegar on top of the baking soda, and place the stopper in the drain to close it off. If you have a double sink, you should do this for both drains. The mixture will fizz and make a bit of noise. Allow this to work its magic for a few minutes while you boil some hot water using a teakettle or medium size pot. Once the water has reached a steady boil, pour it down the drain.

2. Water and Bleach

row of Clorox bleach

Using a clean container, mix a gallon of water with one tablespoon of liquid chlorine bleach. Carefully and slowly, pour the solution down the drain and allow it to sit for several minutes. Flush the drain thoroughly with water for several minutes afterward. While bleach kills germs and helps smells it also will harden any grease in your drains, so be sure to flush the drain with warm to hot water instead of cold since this will help to loosen the grease rather than solidify it.

3. Ice and Citrus Peels

Maintaining a clean garbage disposal using one of the above methods will help to keep it smelling fresh and odor-free. You can take this a step further by grinding ice cubes in the garbage disposal to clean the cutting blades. Simply place several cubes in the drain and grind. If you want to add a little bit of scent to the area, you can add rinds from any citrus fruit in the disposal with the ice cubes.

Tip: Always disconnect the power to the garbage disposal before putting your hands inside it.