How to Clean a Garbage Disposal

Even if you are careful with food scraps and use a lot of water while using your garbage disposal, stinky food particles can eventually build up. When cleaning the garbage disposal, it’s important to pay attention to the splash guard, the disposal chamber, and the trap while removing accumulated filth and deodorizing the appliance.

When Should You Clean Your Garbage Disposal?

The chamber inside the disposal usually stays reasonably clean since the garbage disposal often does a superb job of cleaning itself, effectively breaking up the food bits and pushing them down the drain.

The parts that are not cleansed by the disposal’s crushing action eventually develop a foul slime. These are the slick, sloped surface at the top of the grinding chamber and the bottom part of the rubber stopper at the drain aperture.

The waste disposal may be kept odor-free and clean with weekly cleaning.

Tools and Materials Needed for Cleaning 

  • Sink stopper
  • Rubber gloves (optional)
  • Hand soap
  • Half cup of baking soda (optional).
  • Half to one cup (optional)
  • Ice (optional)
  • One cup of rock salt.
  • 1/3 cup of bleach solution (optional) 
  • Citrus peels (optional)

You can get most of the tools you need from Domejo Stores on Amazon.

What Are the Ways to Clean My Garbage Disposal Properly?

Fortunately, deep cleaning your garbage disposal is simple, and chances are you already have the necessary cleaning supplies at home. You can clean your garbage disposal using a soapy sponge, baking soda and vinegar, or ice cubes and salt. 

The best approach to cleaning your waste disposal is using natural substances because chemical cleansers can corrode the metal components. Any of the techniques listed below will quickly and naturally get your waste disposal clean and odor-free.

Method 1: Using a Soapy Sponge to Clean Garbage Disposal

1. Disconnect the Power

unplu garbage disposal

Even though your fingers shouldn’t be close to the grinding “tooth” at the bottom of the chamber, It is vital to turn off the power to stop the disposal from being accidentally activated while you are cleaning. Turn off the disposer’s breaker in your home’s main switchboard or unplug the waste disposal from the socket under the sink (breaker box).

Before you start cleaning, always confirm you turned off the proper circuit by trying to turn on the garbage disposal.

2. Clean the splash guard

Clean garbage disposal splash guard

The plastic splash guard (also known as a baffle or gasket), with its numerous grooves and crevices, probably has a lot of small food crumbs and grease trapped behind it.

splash guard

Take it out of the pipe and scrub it thoroughly with an abrasive kitchen sponge or an old toothbrush and a lot of dish detergent. To remove any dirt or slime, scrub vigorously, paying special attention to the underside.

3. Scrub Grinding Chamber

Wipe the top of the grinding chamber while rinsing the sponge repeatedly. Continue until there is no longer any debris left on the sponge and the disposal’s grinding chamber feels clean.

Your sink will likely be in good shape if you only clean these two important regions. But go ahead and add baking soda and vinegar to the next step if you also want to freshen the garbage disposal and drain pipe.

If the disposal drones unstoppably, check our guide on How to Fix Garbage Disposal Humming.

Method 2: Garbage Disposal Cleaning with Vinegar and Baking Soda

You’re undoubtedly already aware of vinegar and baking soda’s amazing cleaning abilities, which combine to create thousands of tiny, odor-repelling, scouring bubbles that will zap away the gross filth within your disposal.

1. To remove odors and loosen garbage that has become trapped in your disposal, add half a cup of baking soda and let it sit for 30 minutes to perform its deodorizing magic.

2. Add a cup of vinegar, which will result in a foamy liquid bubbling up into your sink. Allow this chemical reaction to clean out the debris in your garbage disposal for about ten minutes.

3. Wait a while, then take out the stopper and run the garbage disposal while running hot water through the disposal. If the sink features two basins, cleaning both at once will maximize the effectiveness of the cleaner. Apply equal quantities of vinegar and baking soda to the other drain pipe. If necessary, repeat each step.

Method 3: Garbage Disposal Cleaning with Ice, Vinegar, and Rock Salt

Garbage disposals can be thoroughly cleaned using ice, vinegar, and either rock salt or the latter. The ice helps remove any buildup by scraping the grinding chamber’s interior.

1. Add Ice

Fill the disposal with ice cubes.

2. Pour vinegar or salt over

Pour 1 cup of vinegar or sodium into the disposal.

3. Rinse the disposal

Run the disposal with the water on for a few seconds to crush the ice. If necessary, carry out each step again.

How Can I Deodorize Garbage Disposals?

If the disposal is particularly awful or if you have tried various cleansers but the stench persists, use a diluted bleach mixture of two parts warm water and one part bleach.

When pouring bleach down the drain, use no more than 1/3 cup, and make sure you are wearing gloves. Run warm (not boiling) water down the drain for a few seconds after adding the bleach solution to it.

Another well-liked method for cleaning smelly garbage disposals is to use lemon peels. Although the citrus oils in the peels give the air a pleasant scent, they don’t really do much to clean the disposal or get rid of those sticky spots (which are hopefully already sponged clean).

Grind a tiny handful of orange peels (cut into little pieces) in the garbage disposal with cool water to provide a hint of fragrance. You can even add a couple of ice cubes if you’d like. The disposal may have a brief pleasant scent thanks to the citrus oil. Remember that a relatively clean disposal is best suited for using this freshening technique.

Safety Tips for Cleaning a Garbage Disposal

Stay away from using commercial waste disposal cleansers. While some contain acidic chemicals that can harm the metal parts of the disposal, many do little to remove residue.

Never throw lye or chemical drain cleaners into the garbage disposal for the same reason.

Even though disposals don’t have sharp blades, manufacturers advise against putting your hands inside the garbage disposal to clean it.  You may not cut off an appendage, but you still run the risk of injuring yourself.

Regular Maintenance Tips for Garbage Disposal

Don’t overfill the garbage disposal; only grind about 1 cup of food scraps at a time.

Grease, eggshells, coffee grounds, starchy foods, plastic, large bones, and grease are prohibited from going down the disposal.

Vegetables with fiber should not be ground in the garbage disposal. The garbage disposal motor might become clogged with things like celery stems or corn husks.

If you have a hard time maintaining your current garbage disposal, maybe it’s time to try a different brand. You can check our comparison of Waste King vs Insinkerator and Moen vs Insinkerator to choose the one that suits your needs.


Garbage disposal is like a magic device that saves you time by handling food scraps and the environment by preventing extra waste from going to the landfill.

Garbage disposals are nicely hidden under your sink, making it easy to forget they exist. But like any appliance, they require periodic thorough cleaning to avoid becoming a haven for dangerous bacteria or mold.

Always proceed with caution when utilizing any of these disposal cleaning techniques or operating your disposal. Never, under any circumstances, even if the unit is off, put your hand inside it.

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