How To Empty A Trash Compactor And Clean It Properly

Trash compactors are still commonly used today and can provide many benefits to homeowners. Knowing how to clean and empty your trash compactor properly will help you preserve its shelf life and prevent it from harboring foul odors. We have researched how to clean and empty a trash compactor, and in this post, we will cover the steps to do it.

Here are the steps to empty and clean a trash compactor properly:

  1. Turn off power
  2. Take out the trash bag
  3. Clean the interior of the compactor
  4. Wipe down and then let it dry
  5. Inspect the filters and replace them as needed

Trash compactors allow for an effective way to get rid of daily trash from meals and snacks. However, these convenient appliances are prone to bad smells if they're not cleaned and emptied often. Continue reading to learn about the best way to maintain your trash compactor to keep your kitchen smelling as fresh as possible.

modern kitchen in white with kitchen compactor in the cabinetry. How To Empty A Trash Compactor And Clean It Properly

Steps to Empty and Clean Trash Compactor

Things you'll need:

  • Mild dish detergent
  • Cleaning towel
  • Bleach
  • Soft plastic scrubber

1. Turn off power

Start by turning off all power to the trash compactor. Your compactor may have an automatic shutoff system to avoid hazards, but it's best to unplug the appliance anyway. Unplug the power cord and then remove the drawer.

2. Take out the trash bag

Remove the trash bag carefully, making sure not to let any trash fall back into the bin. Remove any debris and trash that you can by hand from the inside of the compactor. Any trash you leave behind can also be sucked up with a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment. Ensure that the trash is dry before sucking it up with the vacuum to prevent mold from building up inside the vacuum's trash bag.

Buy trash compactor bags on Amazon.

3. Clean the interior of the compactor

Next, fill a spray bottle with warm water and a small amount of mild dish detergent. Then spray the cleaning solution inside the trash compactor and be sure to cover the floors and the wall. Next, let the mixture sit on the surface for about 10 to 15 minutes, as this will help deodorize it. If you suspect that there is fungus on the walls or floor of your trash compactor, you can add half a tablespoon of bleach to the solution to help get rid of it.

Check out this Clorox bleach on Amazon.

4. Wipe down and then let it dry

Controlling trash compactor odors begins with this final step. Wipe down all surfaces inside your compactor with a dry cloth or paper towels. Before moving on, check again for any damp areas to avoid mold and bacteria. After you wipe down the compactor, let it air-dry for about 10 to 15 minutes.

5. Inspect the filters and replace as needed

Replacing the air filters inside your trash compactor can help block odors that can develop as trash accumulates. You can find the filter's location by checking your compacter's manual. It's best to replace the filter if bad odors have developed in the bin.

It's also a good idea to put a bit of baking soda in the bottom of the trash can before adding a new bag. The baking soda will act as a deodorant inside the trash compactor and will quickly absorb any orders before they have a chance to permeate inside the appliance. Keep in mind that similar to baking soda stored in the fridge, you will likely need to replace it every month or so.

How do I know if my trash compactor is full?

If the trash compactor is working properly, then the appliance is full. If it is not half full, the compactor will not work until more trash is placed inside it. These compactors won't start unless they are halfway full, so be sure to throw enough trash inside them for the machine to function properly.

How do you clean the inside of a trash compactor?

The easiest and fastest way to clean your trash compactor is to remove the trash bag inside it. Next, you'll want to use a cleaning solution to wipe down the floors and walls of the trash compactor. Lastly, it's best to take a cloth or towel to dry the compactor and then let it air dry for several minutes to prevent mold buildup in any interior crevices.

Find this all-purpose cleaning solution on Amazon.

Why is my trash compactor stuck in the down position?

There are typically three common reasons why a compactor may get stuck, but they can all be resolved quickly. However, in some cases, you may need to hire a contractor. Let's discuss them in more detail.

Directional Switch Problems

Sometimes when the trash compactor is stuck in the down position, it can be caused by the directional switch. The directional switch is located on top of the compactor's ram and controls its overall direction. When this switch fails, it will cause the ram's contacts to either stick in an open position or jam shut.

You can quickly troubleshoot this issue by turning off the compactor and then removing it from the cabinetry. Next, you'll need to lay the compactor on the side to access the drive gear. Remove the bracket from the gear and then use a multimeter to test the switch terminals. If the terminals have no continuity, this is your issue, and you may need to have a contractor repair or replace the part.

Find more details about this multimeter on Amazon.

Drive Gear Issues

There can also be problems with the drive gear that'll cause the compactor ram to stick in a down position. The motor gear works with the large drive gear to provide power to the ram screws and chain. These parts are responsible for the overall function of your compactor, and when the drive gear malfunctions, it's usually a result of damaged or broken teeth.

To troubleshoot this issue, you'll need to remove the compactor and turn it on its side to access the bottom panel. Check the drive gear for broken teeth or other damaged areas, and replace the part as needed. While you have access to the part, you'll also want to lubricate the gears if they are dry.

Power Nut is Defective

If the power nut is defective, the ram can also become stuck. The power nut is responsible for lowering and raising the ram, which can become stripped over time. If this happens, you may notice a clanky or banging sound coming from the unit when it's in operation. To fix this issue, you'll need to unplug and remove the unit from the cabinetry.

Again, while laying the unit on its side, remove the mounting brackets and check the power nuts for damage. If the power nut looks damaged or bent in any way, it'll need to be replaced.

How do you unjam a Kitchenaid trash compactor?

KitchenAid trash compactors have an easy operational and troubleshooting capability. If the compactor is jamming, it's likely due to the direction of the switch. Loose wires, connections, or two little trash in the bin can all cause this. To troubleshoot the jam, start by checking the inside of the compactor to make sure that it is at least half full of trash. If it is, then the ram may be stuck.

If it is, follow the user's manual to mitigate the issue. However, it's best to turn the unit off and then turn it back on first to re-set the machine. If this doesn't work, check the wires and connections inside the access panel to check for any possible disconnections or melted wires.

How do I keep my trash compactor from smelling?

The best way to keep the compactor from smelling is to keep it clean and free of any trash or spilled liquids. You'll also want to empty the garbage bag regularly and clean the compactor frequently. The frequency at which you clean it depends on how often it's used.

A weekly or bi-weekly cleaning should suffice. If you use it daily, you can also use odor neutralizers and chemical agents such as baking soda to prevent interior odors. Lastly, be sure that the appliance's interior remains as dry as possible to prevent mold and bacteria from developing.

Can you use regular trash bags in a trash compactor?

Not typically. It's best to use a bag specifically made for trash compactors inside of the appliance. The reason is that these bags are specifically designed to resist breakage and withstand punctures, tearing, and pressure.

Wrapping Things Up

We hope that this post has helped illustrate how to clean and empty your trash compactor properly. Remember, odor prevention starts with proper maintenance and care, and a little baking soda can also go a long way.

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