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How To Clean Your Garbage Disposal

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Here are some tips for keeping your garbage disposal clean. Please keep in mind that this is our advice based on our experiences and we will not be responsible if your experiences are different. We also recommend that you follow manufacturer's instructions. If the manufacturer of your garbage disposal tells you to do something different than what we say, follow your manufacturer's instructions.

Here is a list of ideas for cleaning your garbage disposal:

If you find that something is not on our list and you think it should be, please let us know. Just send us a note in our Ask Eli form.

  • Garbage disposal cleaning products

There are cleaning products you can buy that are made specifically for garbage disposals. Follow the instruction.

  • Egg shells

Egg shells are a controversial subject. Some people say not to put eggshells in your garbage disposal but we think you should. The sharp edges of the eggshells will scrape gunk off of the edges of the garbage disposal. Add a handful of ice cubes and it will work even better. The bulky ice pushes the eggshells against the edges fo the garbage disposal and gives them more weight to scrape more stuff off. For more on the subject of eggshells in the garbage disposal check out our Ask Eli answer to the question, "Can I put eggshells in the garbage disposal?"

Clean Garbage Disposal
  • Rocksalt

Rock salt has sharp edges that can help scrape stuff off of the inside of the garbage disposal.

  • Vinegar

Vinegar can be used as a general cleaning product. To use it in the garbage disposal you can pour a little in without the water running and turn on the garbage disposal for just a second. It will splatter all over the inside of the garbage disposal. Let it sit for a few minutes. Then run water down the garbage disposal and turn it on for a few seconds. You can also put vinegar in ice trays and make vinegar ice cubes. Put them in the garbage disposal and turn it on.

  • Baking Soda

Baking soda can be used to get rid of odors in the garbage disposal. Plug the drain and fill the sink about 1/4 full with warm water. Sprinkle 1/2 cup baking soda in the water and stir to disolve. Turn on the disposal and pull the drain plug. Turn off the garbage disposal before the sink is completely empty. This will get the baking soda water in all the little nooks and crannys in your garbage disposal. Leave it like this until you need to use the sink again. You can also add vinegar to the water with the baking soda to clean and deoderize at the same time.

  • Citrus fruit or peels

Citrus fruit or peels don't really clean the garbage disposal but they will make it smell good. You can use any kind of citrus fruit you want to. Put in a few pieces of the peel, turn on the water, and then turn on the garbage disposal. You can also use a wedge or slice of the fruit if you want. You can squeeze some juice into the drain when you are done for a little added scent.

  • Ice

Ice sounds terrible in the garbage disposal but won't hurt it. Ice will clean the inside of the garbage disposal by beating around and knocking gunk and food debris loose. Some people claim ice will sharpen the blades in the garbage disposal but honestly, ice isn't going to sharpen anything. And garbage disposals don't have 'blades' in them anyway. They don't cut the food debris up but they grind and pulverize it.

You can also add things to ice to help it clean your disposal. If you add eggshells or rock salt, the ice beats them around the surface on the inside while the sharp edges on the eggshells or rock salt scrape stuff off. You can put them both in at the same time if you want to.

As we discussed before, vinegar is an excellent general purpose cleaning agent. You can add vinegar to the ice and it will help spread the vinegar to coat the inside of the garbage disposal. Or, you can freeze the vinegar in an ice cube tray and then throw vinegar ice cubes in. Really, you can add anything listed above to ice to add a little more impact.

Wondering what you should and should not put in the garbage disposal? Check out our articles - What you should put in the garbage disposal, and What you should not put in the garbage disposal

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