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How to Clean Your Garbage Disposal


Have you ever had a stinky garbage disposal? We've all been there from time to time. Here are some tips on how to keep your garbage disposal clean and ready to go.

These tips avoid using chemical clog removers, which can be dangerous for both your health and the health of your drain. Learn more here.

Rinse Out With Water

Sometimes, all you need is a little water to rinse stuck food particles through the disposal. Start by plugging up the sink and filling it with about 3 inches of soapy, hot water. Release the plug so the warm liquid flows through the disposal. Because the water is hot, it should liquefy any stuck-on bits of oil or grease to clear the pipe.

Manually Remove Lodged Objects

When you look down the drain, can you actually see objects stuck in the walls of the disposal? If so, your best bet may be to manually remove them. Never stick your hand directly inside the unit; instead, use a long-handled brush to reach down and cleanse the unit. Scrub for a bit to remove debris, and then rinse the system with water to help it flow away.

Ice Cubes and Salt

This part could get a bit loud, but it's worth the noise. Take two cups of ice and one cup of salt and throw them down your drain as you turn on the disposal. The abrasive combination of ice chunks and salt grains acts as a deep cleaning agent on the inside of the disposal. You'll also want to have the water running during this process to help the sludge rinse away.

Baking Soda & Vinegar

For another homemade cleaning solution, try mixing 1/2 cup of baking soda down the disposal. Follow this up with 1/2 cup of vinegar, and you'll see an immediate fizzing reaction. Put the stopper on the sink so the fizzing is contained inside the disposal itself. Give it a few minutes to work, and then remove the plug and rinse hot water down the drain.


If you've got a particularly nasty clog, bleach can sometimes be corrosive enough to remove it. You won't want to use a lot; just a tablespoon of bleach mixed with a gallon of water should do the trick. Pour this down the drain and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing the disposal out with hot water.

Citrus Peels

Does your garbage disposal still smell even after all these steps? If so, there's one trick to producing a more fragrant aroma - citrus peels. Simply take these fresh peels, throw them down the sink, and turn the disposal on. The tell-tale zest should overtake any lingering stenches for a fresh and clean scent.

Avoid Getting Grease in Your Drain

Want to avoid garbage disposal problems in the first place? Make sure you never throw grease down your drain. As it cools, it reverts back to solid form, clogging the drain.

Only Dispose of Biodegradable Food

Grease isn't the only substance you should avoid putting in your disposal. You'll also want to watch out for the following things that won't degrade if they get stuck:

  • Bones.
  • Stringy foods, like corn husks or onion peels.
  • Seeds or pits.
  • Coffee grinds.
  • Eggshells.

Get More Garbage Disposal Help With David Gray Plumbing

Still struggling with garbage disposal issues despite trying all these hacks? Don't worry, because David Gray Plumbing is here to help. Contact us today by calling (904) 605-8190 to have one of our expert plumbers stop by to take a look.