Garbage disposals help to keep kitchen counters and sinks clean and free of mess, but what happens when the disposal itself gets dirty? In a perfect world, you should be cleaning your garbage disposal once a week (via Home Warranty). To do a standard cleaning, simply put a stopper on your disposal, pour some dish soap in, and fill with very hot water until there’s about two to four inches in your sink – don’t forget to regularly clean your sink, either.
Allow the water to sit for roughly 10 minutes in order to properly soak the mechanism. This will help dissolve any food or other particles that might have built up in the blade. Then run the disposal, and let the water drain through. Doing this weekly will help prevent anything caught in the disposal from rotting.
If it’s too late for a simple weekly maintenance cleaning, and you’re noticing an unpleasant or even overpowering smell coming from your drain, don’t worry. In these kinds of cases, there are other cleaning solutions you can try that will restore your disposal’s cleanliness and function. But make sure that you get to the fix quickly, because as noted by Home Depot, repairing a blocked garbage disposal is a whole other ballgame.
Here are some tricks for cleaning a dirty garbage disposal
If you have stubborn smells coming from your garbage disposal, or if you notice it isn’t running properly despite cleaning, there are some things you likely already have in your kitchen that can help. Try freezing pieces of lemon in two trays of ice cubes, then dump the ice cubes into your running disposal (via One Good Thing). Not only will the ice help to free the gunk stuck to the mechanism, but it will also flush all that waste out. Bonus, the lemon will sanitize the disposal and will leave a fresher scent. You can also do this with ice cubes that include vinegar – a common household cleaner — or use a mixture of ice cubes and salt (via Home Warranty).
Speaking of vinegar, remember those science fair volcanoes from back in the day? Well, making one in your sink will help unblock your drain and garbage disposal as well. Simply pour some baking soda, followed by vinegar, into the drain and let the foaming action go to work (via One Good Thing). Just make sure that you never combine some types of cleaning products, like vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. If these cleaning methods leave any substances behind, make sure your disposal is safely turned off, then use a toothbrush to manually scrape away any remaining residue (via Home Warranty).
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