Keeping Garbage Disposals Fresh and Clean

There are nooks and crannies in garbage disposals and kitchen drainpipes. These nooks and crannies fill with food particles. Because the food particles are not completely removed when you use your garbage disposal, it leaves an environment conducive to growing bacteria, mold and odors.

You may not notice an odor permeating from your disposal at first. However, should you not clean it on a regular basis, eventually you will!

The odor will continue to become stronger and stronger over time. This is because the bacteria and mold continue to grow deep down in all those cracks and crevices inside your disposal and pipes.


Cleaning disposals are quick and easy. If you clean and maintain your garbage disposal on a regular basis, it should stay in good working order for many years.

Here is a quick and easy schedule:

  1. Daily: Fill up your sink with hot soapy/sudsy water. Then, turn your disposal on until the water runs completely through. This will remove most of the food particles left in your disposal that day.
  2. Once a week: First fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil.While it is coming to a boil, take the rubber splash guard that is around the top opening of the disposal off. Pour one-half cup of baking soda down your garbage disposal. Then, cautiously pour one cup of white vinegar on top of the baking soda.

    Cover the opening. You should also cover the opening to the other drain, if you have a double sink. The mixture will fizz for about 10 minutes.

    After the pot of water has come to a boil and the mixture has fizzed in your disposal for the 10 minutes, carefully pour the boiling water into the garbage disposal and turn it on to flush away the loosened debris.

    Take an old toothbrush to clean around and underneath the rubber guard. Also, use it around the opening to the disposal.

  3. Every couple of weeks: Freshen your disposal and clean the cutting blades in your disposal by placing several ice cubes in it and turn it on. They help loosen food that is stuck to the blades. It also helps sharpen the blades.After using the ice, cut up a lemon, lime or an orange and grind it up in the disposal. Whatever citrus you have handy will work. The citrus takes care of the odor.There are also deodorizers you can purchase which will do the trick. I have bought deodorizing balls in the past and they work well.

TIP: If you get something stuck in your disposal and it makes that grinding noise. Using the ice method will also help to grind it through the disposal.

Dave Altman

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