In general, most of us don't think about "cleaning" our garbage disposal units. But, like any other appliance, if they are maintained on a regular basis they will tend to last longer and work better.

A little TLC can go a long way in helping you to save money and time, no matter what the appliance or product is.

Also, keeping your garbage disposal clean will help to eliminate any possible problems that could occur with smelly drains. If you are already having problems with foul odors coming from your drain, read our article on How To Get Rid Of Smelly Drains.

So, here are our top tips on how you can clean your garbage disposal.

Remove Any Large Items

Before you do anything, make sure to remove any large items that may have fallen into your disposal. Of course, make sure everything is turned off first!

  1. Turn off the disposal but I would recommend to go one step further and turn off the power TO the disposal.
  2. Use long handled tongs or needle nose pliers (works well if you have glass in the disposal unit) to fish around and remove anything.
  3. You can also use a shop vac to vacuum anything out of the unit.
  4. Once you're done turn the power back on.

Flush It Out With Hot Water

Put a stopper on your sink's drain, turn on the hot water and let it fill up the sink with about 4 inches of water. Add some dish soap to the water and let it sit there for about 5 minutes. Then remove the stopper and turn on your garbage disposal immediately (simultaneously if you can manage it) and let that hot, soapy water get pulled down your drain and disposal.

Scrub It With Salt And Ice

Turn on your cold water faucet and then turn on your garbage disposal. While that water is running throw down about a cup of ice cubes (or frozen cubes of white vinegar). Then, while the disposal is still running, pour down one cup of rock salt. This combination helps to scrub away any debris that has gotten stuck and it also helps to sharpen the blades of the disposal unit.

Clean The Rim And The Flaps

The rubber flaps that you see as you stare down into your drain where your garbage disposal sits also needs a little cleaning every now and then. The best way to do this is to use a brush (even a toothbrush will help) along with your favorite all purpose cleaner or white vinegar and baking soda.

Get That Clean Fresh Smell

The final step is to get that nice clean, fresh smell and you can easily do that by putting some slices of lemons or a citrus fruit. You can even cut up the lemon or fruit into quarters and put them all in the disposal one by one while the disposal is running. Some of our clients have also gone as far as adding rosemary or lavendar oil as well. If you don't like any of these smells then try pouring a 1/4 cup of baking soda into your sink drain and then follow it with 1/2 cup of white vinegar. You will see some "fizz" coming out of the drain in a few minutes. Wait 10 minutes and then run the faucet with very hot water for about 3 minutes.

Following this maintenance schedule every 2 - 3 weeks should keep your garbage disposal running smoothly for a very long time.

If you have any questions about your garbage disposal, call Atlantis Plumbing today at 770-443-8229. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.