Garbage disposals. They’re so helpful as a genius way to get rid of leftover food scraps that find their way into your sink, but they can get so icky. Any time you’re dealing with leftover food particles, grease, oils, and fruit peels that may have built up or gotten stuck, there’s a foul stench not far behind. If your sink still smells bad after cleaning it, it’s most likely your disposal. Thankfully, there are several safe methods for cleaning and de-stinking it! We’ll share 4 with you here- most of them require items that you probably already have laying around your house! Some of these are acceptable for weekly use, while others should be used for a deeper clean less often (we’ll let you know which is which). Also, when using acidic things like lemons or vinegar, make sure to rinse your disposal and sink thoroughly so as to avoid damaging any parts of your disposal. If you ever have a kitchen sink or disposal problem that goes beyond an odor, our Professor Plumb team in Columbiana, AL can provide you with plumbing and drain services! Here are 4 fairly simple methods for cleaning your stinky, gunky disposal:
Method #1: Soap and water (frequent use)
This can be done as often as you see fit and is definitely recommended if any grease or oil gets in your disposal since water won’t get rid of grease or oil on its own.
Simply plug the sink, fill it halfway with water then add a little bit of dish soap. Then, unplug the drain and immediately turn on the disposal. The soapy water can then get to all the nooks and crannies of your disposal. Rinse everything with water, then turn off the disposal.
Method #2: Lemon and ice (frequent use)
This method not only cleans and clears out your disposal, but also makes it smell nice and squeaky clean!
Step 1: Make sure the disposal and sink faucet are turned off when doing this step. Put 6 ice cubes down into the disposal. Add 1 tablespoon of baking soda, a few thin lemon slices (approx. 3), and 1 teaspoon of bleach. Put in an additional 6 ice cubes.
Step 2: Turn on the disposal without running water until you hear the grinding stop.
Step 3: With the motor still running, flush with cold water for 30 seconds. Then turn off the disposal and sink. Enjoy your refresh sink and garbage disposal!
Method #3: Baking soda and vinegar (less frequent use)
If you regularly clean your sink with cleaning vinegar, this could be a really good method for you, since you’re already halfway there.
Step 1: Dump ½ a cup of baking soda into the disposal.
Step 2: Carefully pour in a cup of white vinegar and wait for your science fair volcano to erupt (not really of course).
Step 3: After allowing it to sit for 5-10 minutes, turn on warm to hot water and then turn on the disposal. Make sure everything is rinsed out well. Turn everything back off.
Method #4: Garbage Disposal cleaner and brushes
There are actually designated products for cleaning disposals- foaming powders, brushes, and even small deodorizing “marbles”. If you prefer natural, chemical-free smells, this might not be the option for you. The brushes can be very helpful because they’ll get to all the hard to reach places. If you don’t feel like being a scientist, this may be the method for you, since you can pick up supplies while at the store and simply follow the listed directions.
Things you shouldn’t put in the disposal:
Fibrous vegetables (like celery)
Starchy foods like potatoes (causes build up over time)
Non food items
Lye soap or chemical drain cleaners
If you need advice for unclogging the non-disposal side of the sink, check out our previous blog about drain clogs. Contact us when you need plumbing and drain services for your kitchen sink and/or disposal- the experts at Professor Plumb in Columbiana, AL are here to help you!