How to Clean a Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals are convenient, though it’s easy to neglect taking care of them. These devices do a great job of getting rid of food scraps and debris, but you should still give them a bit of attention from time to time. It will ensure that your garbage disposal doesn’t stink up your kitchen, and it will also keep it running at top efficiency. Fortunately, cleaning a garbage disposal is nice and easy.

Cleaning a Garbage Disposal


A garbage disposal does a pretty good job of getting rid of scraps of food, not to mention the new models are often very quiet as well. Even so, you should do a bit of pre-cleaning to ensure that there aren’t any larger pieces of food lodged in the disposal. Sometimes bigger items, such as forks and bottle caps, can get stuck in there, so be sure to check.

Before you start sticking your hand in there, turn off the power supply to your garbage disposal. This may be a plug on the disposal itself, or you can use the circuit breaker. You don’t want there to be any chance of the device turning on while you’re trying to clean it.

Once you do that, you can reach into the disposal and feel around for any items that might be lodged in there. Larger scraps, such as peels, can sometimes get stuck in there, and that can eventually cause some stinky odors. You might need to use a flashlight and a pair of tongs to get everything out.

Now you can turn on the faucet and let the water run down into the disposal. This will help with clearing away any remaining gunk and grime. You can turn the disposal back on, too.

Cleaning a Garbage Disposal

The next step is to plug up the disposal so that water can’t escape. Then, add a couple of drops of dish detergent, turn on the hot water, and let it run until it fills up the disposal and there is about an inch or two of water in the sink.

After a minute or two, you can unplug the disposal and let the water run down the drain. Turn on the garbage disposal to clear everything out.

Deodorizing Your Garbage Disposal

Even after you clean out the disposal, it might still be a bit stinky. One natural method for deodorizing your disposal is to grind up some orange or lemon peels. The citrusy scent will help to get rid of any bad odors and you can flush away the residue afterwards. If you have a favorite essential oil, you can also add a few drops of that into the disposal.

Sometimes, a particularly dirty garbage disposal needs a good scrubbing. Grab an old toothbrush and squirt some dish soap onto it. Again, make sure the device is turned off first. Reach down into the disposal and carefully scrub the sides and the blades. Then, turn the unit back on and flush with hot water.

In addition, remember to be careful about what you put in your garbage disposal. Things such as peels and food scraps are fine, but glass and plastic will clog the device.