Once you get used to having a garbage disposal it’s hard to go without one. It cuts down on dumping a lot of soft foods into your trash can, which can start to smell badly pretty quickly. If you are dumping compost into your kitchen trash, you’re probably changing your bags more frequently which can be more expensive and more harmful to the environment as the plastic trash bags end up in a landfill. The problem is we don’t clean our disposals as often as we should and they can acquire an unpleasant odor as a result. The first issue is we are forgetful when it comes to cleaning them. Secondly, many of us have learned to fear garbage disposals as other things can fall into them and it can be risky business to retrieve items due to the danger of them turning on and inflicting serious injuries. However, if we don’t clean them periodically, they can develop a stench that will permeate the kitchen. In addition, a lack of cleaning might cause a disposal to not work properly.

So, we need to clean disposals, but need to do it carefully. The following will provide some instructions for cleaning and maintaining your garbage disposal.

To prevent injury, it is extremely important to ensure your disposal is turned off before you attempt any cleaning. It is best to either unplug the disposal or turn off the circuit breaker for it to avoid any potential accident.

How to Clean a Smelly Garbage Disposal

To keep your disposal fresh and odor free, it should be cleaned on a monthly basis. You won’t need any special expensive cleaners; just the items listed below. Rock salt and ice and salt will do the scrubbing, and the lemon will give it a nice citrus smell.

Items you will need:

  • one quartered lemon
  • two cups of ice
  • one cup of rock salt
  1. Put the ice in the drain.
  2. Pour rock salt into the drain over the ice.
  3. Let the cold water run and turn on the disposal until the ice is gone.
  4. Leave the cold water and disposal running.
  5. One at a time, drop the lemon pieces in carefully.
  6. Turn the disposal off when the lemon sections are cleared.
  7. Continue running the cold water for 30 seconds more, then turn it off.

How to Clean Garbage Disposal Rubber Flange

The rubbery flange or splash guard also needs to be cleaned on a monthly basis. It can trap bits of food between and under the flanges, which will create a very unpleasant mess and odor.

Items you will need:

  • rubber gloves
  • a toothbrush
  • liquid dish soap
  • a small bucket or bowl
  1. Mix the soap with hot water in the bowl or bucket.
  2. Put on your rubber gloves.
  3. Lifting up one section at a time, clean each rubber flange with the soapy water and toothbrush, scrubbing the flap tops and the underside.
  4. Keep rinsing the brush often to remove the slime.
  5. After cleaning each flange, rinse both sides of the guard thoroughly with the hot water.

How to Maintain Your Garbage Disposal

Once your disposal is fresh and clean, you should continue to maintain it, to help reduce the build up of future odors. Therefore, it’s a good idea to give it a quick clean daily.

You will need:

  • liquid dishwashing detergent
  1. Squirt some drops of dishwasher soap into the disposal.
  2. Turn on the garbage disposal.
  3. Let cold water run through it for at least a minute.
  4. Turn off the disposal, but let the cold water run for about 30 seconds more.
  5. Turn off the water and you’re done!

Note:  Never place hard items or too much food in the disposal at one time as this can damage the disposal blades or cause pipes to become plugged, leading to pricey plumbing repairs.

Below is a list of items you should avoid dropping into your disposal, but keep in mind it’s not a complete list. It’s best to refer to your model manufacturer’s recommendations.

  • starchy foods such as potatoes, beans, rice and pasta
  • seafood shells or bones
  • biscuit dough or bread
  • coffee grounds
  • grease or cooking oil
  • eggshells
  • vegetables such as asparagus, artichokes, chard, celery, kale, rhubarb or lettuce
  • non-food waste
  • Fruit pits
  • melon or hard squash rinds
  • banana peels

Hopefully, by following these suggestions your garbage disposal will stay free of smelly odors and keep running efficiently. Just remember to clean it more regularly as recommended and be more aware of what waste you’re putting into it. And, take precautions when maintaining it to be safe.

Maid Spotless Cleaning Services offers a full suite of professional house cleaning services in Albany and the Greater Capital Region.

Contact us for a FREE quote today!