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How To Clean Garbage Disposal

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Is your garbage disposal unit stinking with an unpleasant odor? Do you need some easy maintenance tips to keep your unit functional? 

One cannot deny the convenience of a garbage disposal unit as we may count it in kitchen essentials. Now, with frequent usage, that dear unit may turn into a nuisance with an unpleasant and lingering odor emerging from it. It is extremely important to eliminate the yucky smell but please understand that it is not a Hercules’ task.

With some easy hacks and cleaning ideas, you can get rid of the odor in minutes or you can simply prevent the odor-causing elements from accumulating in the first place! 

While routine cleaning can have no other alternative, domestic ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and citrus can drive the smell of the unit with a little labor. Here we present 6 tips that would help you clean garbage disposals with minimal effort! 

How To Clean A Garbage Disposal

1. Baking Soda And Vinegar

One of the most effective and cheap methods to clean garbage disposal is using a mixture of baking soda and apple cider vinegar. They have fantastic absorption properties that help in neutralizing the unpleasant odor. This is a rigorous method which is also a surefire way to get rid of the smell.

You need to sprinkle about half a cup and a full cup of each of the ingredients at the disposal. Let the mixture settle for a few minutes and then turn on the machine. Run water through the unit to let the mixture spread evenly into the surface. Repeat this method at least once a week and you will have a fresh kitchen always! 

2. Citrus And Borax

Any kind of citruses like lime and lemon can act as a good deodorizer by eliminating the foul smell. It is a cheap and convenient method as well which is widely used when it comes to cleaning a garbage disposal unit. 

Use peels of lime, orange, grapefruit, and lemon and put them inside the disposal. You can also use the entire fruit for the same. Use small pieces of peels so that the grinder could manage and run water before turning on the unit. 

Borax is another useful substance when it comes to cleaning garbage disposals. You need to sprinkle a few tablespoons of borax in the unit and then turn it on with running water. It also absorbs the moisture and can cover the odor. 

3. Clean Slimy Residue

We did mention ways to eliminate the odor, but cleaning kitchen disposal is a different job. Since it is not visible, we must do our best to keep it clean as much as possible and avoid clogging due to residues. 

Clean the visible portion of the unit using a toothbrush together with baking soda. You can also use soap for this one and rub it thoroughly until no visible residue is left. You can also avoid this by running the kitchen faucet every time you use the garbage unit. 

Use abrasive cleaners like a mixture of kosher salt and ice cubes to dislodge the slimy residue that might be present inside the unit. This would grind away the odor-causing remains and hence, keeping your kitchen clean! 

4. Dish Soap

Using dish soap to clean your garbage disposal might be very effective if you can smell an unpleasant odor from the unit. You can use dish soap with both hot water and baking soda and get similar benefits.

Before adding the dish soap, use the sink stopper to block the disposal drain. Add a good amount of dish soap to the sink and fill the sink halfway with hot water. As you release the sink stopper, make sure the tag is still running. As the soap water gushes into the unit, the dirt is likely to come out. It also targets those areas which aren’t accessible by other methods. It might also eliminate the slimy residue in the drain line.

Dish soap and baking soda would be a good cleaner for the visible parts of the unit. Clean the rubber splash guard and drain crevices with a toothbrush after covering it with the paste of baking soda and dish soap. Clean the underneath of the splash guard flaps for better results. 

5. The Garbage Disposal Deep Cleaning Method

If you have tried all the above methods but the smell still persists, it might indicate that the food sludge has hardened into the pipes. You would need a rubber test cap with a stainless steel clamp to get rid of the lingering odor. 

For effective deep cleaning, fill the disposal with hot water and soap for about one minute. Don’t forget to disconnect the pipe that is leading to the outside of the unit. Use a rubber stopper to seal the underside of the mail pipe and use a bucket to hold the spills. 

Make sure the water level at least reaches the top of the drain. Once done, add half a cup of powdered oxygen bleach to the unit. Give the bleach enough time to soak into the interiors before opening the rubber stopper. You can empty the contents into a bucket and then reconnect the pipe. 

This is a rigorous method since bleach is never a good option as it can cause damage to the metals inside the unit. If you do a routine clean up with soap and water, it might not be necessary to perform this step as well! 

6. No Large Materials

It is not always smaller substances that can clog a passage and cause bad odor in your garbage disposal unit. Look out for large materials like a spoon or similar things that might have accidentally fallen into the unit, They can clog the passage badly cause extra food sludge and residue.

You can take these items out manually but be very careful with the blades because they are grinders and safety is important. Do turn off the main fuse of the machine so that by no chance it can turn on while you are working. You can also use tongs for this purpose because the insides would be yucky! 

Garbage Disposal Maintenance

You don’t have to do much in order to keep your garbage disposal clean and running. The best way to prevent blockage and other hindrances is by running cold water regularly. It is efficient enough to clean any stuck food or waste and thereby maintaining the unit. 

Use de-greaser that would prevent the fat from building up, at least once a week. This would also prevent lingering odors and keep the unit efficient. Snake the drainage pipe twice a week to keep it running smoothly and use citrus and ice cubes for some extra cleaning and maintenance of your garbage disposal. 

Things To Avoid

While following the maintenance guidelines would be very helpful to keep the garbage disposal efficient, there are certain red flags that you must avoid as they might damage the unit.

Hot water is an effective cleaning agent but you must never use it during the grinding process. It might be harmful to the blades and it is better to avoid and it can also make the fats stick to the blades. 

Do not run greasy or fibrous food items into the unit. Avoid pasta and potato skins as well as they are known for clogging the opening. If you have a whole bucket of waste to grind up, do not do it at once. If you make the unit neck-full, it might not work. 

Finally, do not use harsh chemicals for the cleaning process for obvious reasons. Also, please don’t expect the unit to grind up non-edible items like paper or towels. 

Eliminate Odors

Garbage disposal odors are one of the worst things that could happen to your kitchen. Though the unit can successfully eliminate kitchen waste, the trapped food particles are responsible for the rancid odor. 

Such odors are hazardous because they create the mold which is perfect for bacterias to grow. This will eventually create an unhealthy environment in your kitchen and nobody would want that. So, routine cleaning to eliminate any odor is extremely important! 

Garbage disposals are extremely essential utility in our daily lives and we should do our best to keep it clean. Remember, they do not respond well to abuse, and let’s say it, they do deserve our care! 

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