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Stainless steel kitchen sink with garbage disposal.

How to Clean a Garbage Disposal

December 4, 2023

In the heart of every bustling kitchen, the garbage disposal stands as a silent hero, effortlessly devouring food scraps and keeping our sinks free from clogs. However, despite its invaluable service, this often-overlooked appliance requires a little TLC to maintain peak performance. If you’ve ever detected an unpleasant odor wafting from your sink or experienced the unsettling sound of a struggling disposal, Lickety-Split is here to help. 

From tackling stubborn odors to preventing blockages, maintaining a clean and efficient garbage disposal is not only a matter of kitchen hygiene but also a key element in ensuring the longevity of this indispensable kitchen companion. We will be diving into the world of garbage disposal maintenance, offering you a step-by-step roadmap to a cleaner, fresher, and more smoothly functioning disposal system.

Why Do Garbage Disposals Need to be Cleaned?

Garbage disposals, while incredibly convenient in handling kitchen waste, are not immune to the accumulation of grime, debris, and unpleasant odors over time. Regular cleaning is essential for several reasons:

Odor Prevention

Food particles and debris can become trapped in the disposal’s crevices, leading to the development of foul odors. Cleaning the disposal helps eliminate these odors, keeping your kitchen smelling fresh.

Bacteria and Mold Growth

The moist and dark environment inside a garbage disposal provides an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and mold. Regular cleaning helps mitigate the growth of these potentially harmful microorganisms, promoting a healthier kitchen environment.

Maintaining Efficiency

A clean garbage disposal operates more efficiently. Residue buildup can impede the grinding mechanism and decrease the disposal’s overall effectiveness. Routine cleaning ensures that the disposal functions optimally, preventing clogs and reducing the risk of malfunctions.

Preventing Clogs

Over time, food particles, grease, and other debris can accumulate in the disposal and its connecting pipes, leading to clogs. Cleaning the disposal helps prevent these blockages, reducing the likelihood of backups and plumbing issues.

Extending Lifespan

Just like any other appliance, regular maintenance can extend the lifespan of a garbage disposal. Keeping it clean and well-maintained reduces the strain on the motor and other components, potentially saving you from the need for premature replacements or repairs.

Tips for Cleaning a Garbage Disposal

Cleaning a garbage disposal is a simple task that, when done regularly, can help maintain its efficiency and prevent unpleasant odors. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to clean a garbage disposal:

  • Turn Off the Disposal: Ensure the garbage disposal is completely turned off before starting the cleaning process. This is a safety precaution to avoid accidental activation.
  • Remove Visible Debris: Use tongs or pliers to reach into the disposal and remove any large or visible debris. Be cautious and avoid putting your hands directly into the disposal.
  • Sprinkle Baking Soda: Pour about half a cup of baking soda into the disposal. Baking soda helps neutralize odors and acts as a gentle abrasive for cleaning.
  • Add Vinegar: Follow the baking soda with a cup of white vinegar. This combination creates a fizzy reaction that helps break down grease and debris. Let it sit for a few minutes.
  • Run Cold Water: Turn on cold water and run it through the disposal for about 30 seconds. The cold water helps solidify any grease or oils, making it easier for the disposal to flush them away.
  • Grind Ice Cubes: Drop a handful of ice cubes into the disposal. The grinding action helps dislodge debris and clean the blades. Ice also helps sharpen the blades for better performance.
  • Add Citrus Peels: Toss in a few citrus peels or slices (lemon, lime, or orange). The natural oils in citrus fruits help freshen the disposal and leave a pleasant scent.
  • Use Dish Soap: Squeeze a small amount of dish soap into the disposal while it’s running. This helps cut through grease and leaves the disposal smelling clean.
  • Rinse with Water: Run cold water again for about 30 seconds to flush away the remaining debris and cleaning agents.
  • Check for Odors: If persistent odors persist, you can grind a handful of baking soda or use commercial disposal cleaning products specifically designed to combat odors.
  • Regular Maintenance: Repeat this cleaning process once a month or as needed to keep your garbage disposal in optimal condition.

Remember to consult your garbage disposal’s user manual for any specific cleaning instructions or precautions recommended by the manufacturer.

Garbage Disposal Services in Jacksonville and St. Augustine

At Lickety-Split, we understand the importance of a clean and efficient disposal system in maintaining your kitchen’s heartbeat. Our expert services in Jacksonville and St. Augustine are dedicated to ensuring your garbage disposal operates at peak performance, keeping your kitchen pristine and odor-free. Contact us today to learn more about our services. 


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