House Cleaning Tips > Kitchen > Cleaning your Garbage Disposal



How to Clean your Garbage Disposal

The garbage disposal is a very big necessity in your kitchen.

This small unit is a must for most people because of the amount of cleaning that they do. Nothing can be more frustrating than a pile full of dirty dishes and a non working garbage disposal!

Yet, if you are like most people, you do not take good care of your garbage disposal. If you properly clean it and maintain it, you will be more likely to keep it running for years.

To keep your garbage disposal working right and odor free, follow these important steps.

Operating The Garbage Disposal:

  • Follow the direction provided with your garbage disposal when it comes to using and cleaning it.
  • Operate your garbage disposal with cold water. Grease and fats are quickly disposed of when solid and will not clog pipes.
  • Turn it on only if the water is running
  • Do not overfill the sink with debris that should go in the trash can.
  • Be careful with what you put down there! You don’t want to have the unit smashing up hard bones and glass.
  • Do not use any type of bleach, drain cleaners or chemicals of other types within your garbage disposal.
  • Do not put food in the disposal until you have turned it on. Then, do so slowly, without shoving large items into it.
  • Do not allow utensils to get into it.
  • Never put your hands in the drain.
  • When you hear that the drain is clear, let the cold water run for a few seconds and turn it off the disposal.
  • Allow the water to run a few seconds longer after the unit is off.

Clearing a Jammed Garbage Disposal:

Try this to dislodge whatever is in your garbage disposal.

  1. A jam will cause the disposal to stop working. Turn it off at the switch.
  2. Press down on the reset button that most units have. The reset button is red and on the very bottom of the unit.
  3. After pressing the reset button, turn the disposal back on and see if it's working.
  4. If the reset button does not fix it, you need to try to remove whatever it is that is lodged in it.
  5. Make sure the garbage disposal is still off.
  6. The garbage disposal came with an allen wrench (key). The allen wrench can be inserted into the underside of the unit and wiggled to dislodge many jams without having to call a plumber.
  7. DO NOT put your hand into it or any type of sharp object.
  8. If you are still having problems with your garbage disposal, call a plumber.

If you see something in the disposal and feel like you MUST try to pull it out yourself, for goodness sake turn off all the power at the main power breaker and shut everything down first.

You can repeat the reset button and allen wrench steps several times as needed. Some jams may take several attempts to dislodge completely

Cleaning the Garbage Disposal:

To clean your garbage disposal, run hot soapy water through it on a daily basis.

Keep large pieces of food and products out of it. Make sure to empty any type of drain or screen that it may have. Most importantly, if you use it, make sure to keep up on your maintenance of it.

Removing Odors:

To remove odors from your garbage disposal, have it grind a cut up lemon or lime to get rid of odors. Of course, properly cleaning will help but sometimes you will need to purchase cleaners to use on it.

My Secret Odor Removal Cleaning Tip!

I keep my garbage disposal clean and odor free by letting it grind up a bowl of ice cubes every once in a while.

The ice cubes help dislodge any stuck on bits of food or grease. It helps to sharpen the blades of the garbage disposal, and if you have something stuck that makes that metallic grinding noise (as if a soda pop top fell in it) the ice usually helps it grind it right up.

Follow the ice cube trick with letting it grind up some orange or lemon sections and you'll be pretty happy with the result.

Connect with Mrs Clean!

Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Mrs Clean (Corina Wilson) is not only the owner of the company, but a very busy mother of 3 children.

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Mrs Clean realized long ago, that a clean home is a necessity, not a luxury when we are struggling to find the time in our day to cover the very basic levels of work and/or family obligations. The battle seems to never end... (but that's why we're here to help!)

When Mrs Clean is not busy managing her house cleaning company or running her kids back and forth to their events, she enjoys experimenting with natural and non-toxic cleaners and learning new techniques to remove stains.

She thoroughly enjoys sharing her valuable information with the readers of her blogs and various social media sites.

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