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How To Keep Your Garbage Disposal Unit Clean and Fresh

A garbage disposal is a convenient kitchen appliance, but without proper care, it can become a source of unpleasant odors and clogs. Keeping your disposal clean and fresh is essential for its longevity and efficiency. Here’s a straightforward guide to maintaining your garbage disposal.

Regular Cleaning

  1. Daily Flushing: After each use, run cold water through the disposal for about 30 seconds to help flush down any remaining food particles.
  2. Weekly Deep Clean:
  • Pour a cup of ice cubes and a handful of coarse salt into the disposal. Run it for a minute. The ice sharpens the blades, while the salt scrubs the walls and blades.
  • After grinding the ice and salt, pour a pot of boiling water down the disposal to wash away any loosened debris.

Deodorizing Techniques

  1. Citrus Peels: Occasionally grind lemon or orange peels in the disposal. The peels will leave a fresh citrus scent and contain natural oils that help clean the blades.
  2. Vinegar and Baking Soda:
  • Sprinkle half a cup of baking soda into the disposal, followed by a cup of white vinegar. Let the mixture fizz and sit for about 10 minutes.
  • Rinse with hot water while running the disposal.

Preventing Odors and Clogs

  1. Avoid Certain Materials: Never put grease, oil, large bones, fibrous materials like celery, or non-food items down the disposal.
  2. Use Cold Water: Always use cold water when running the disposal, as it solidifies any grease or oils, making them easier to grind up and flush away.

Monthly Maintenance

  1. Check for Leaks and Loose Parts: Regularly check under the sink to ensure that your garbage disposal isn’t leaking and that all fittings are tight.
  2. Sharpening the Blades: Occasionally grinding a few ice cubes helps keep the blades sharp and efficient.

Natural Cleaning Solutions

  1. Baking Soda and Lemon Juice: For a natural approach, use baking soda and lemon juice instead of commercial cleaners. This combination is effective and leaves a pleasant scent.
  2. Borax: Sprinkling a small amount of borax in the disposal and letting it sit for an hour before rinsing with hot water can help in cleaning and odor elimination.

What To Do If It’s Not Working

  1. Reset Button: If your disposal stops working, try pressing the reset button underneath the unit.
  2. Power Issue: Check if the unit is plugged in or if a circuit breaker has tripped.
  3. Professional Help: For persistent issues or leaks, contact a professional plumber.


By following these simple maintenance and cleaning routines, you can ensure that your garbage disposal unit remains clean, fresh, and in good working order. Regular care not only extends the life of your disposal but also keeps your kitchen smelling fresh and free of unwanted odors.

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