What To Put Down A Garbage Disposal To Clean It [5 Suggestions]

Using a garbage disposal to get rid of waste is better than throwing it in the garbage. But you need to know how to keep your disposal clean. Are you unsure of what to do? Don't worry, we have some terrific solutions to keep your garbage disposal pristine.

There are 5 great products you can put down your garbage disposal to keep it clean. Try out the following solutions: 

  1. A mixture of baking soda, white vinegar, and hot water
  2. A mixture of citrus peels and ice
  3. A mixture of salt and ice
  4. Borax
  5. Scouring Powder

There's a lot to know about taking care of a garbage disposal. You need to know how often to clean it and what happens if you don't keep it clean. We will answer these questions and more in this post! So, keep reading to learn more about maintaining your garbage disposal.

Stainless steal kitchen sink with water drops, What To Put Down A Garbage Disposal To Clean It [5 Suggestions]

How Often Do You Need to Clean Your Garbage Disposal?

It's ideal to clean your garbage disposal once a week. If you don't want to clean it this often, you can clean it every two weeks. However, if you opt to clean it biweekly, you'll need to be aware of the food you put into the system.

To ensure that you are ready to clean your disposal, let's discuss further the products you can safely put in it.

1. A Mixture of Baking Soda, White Vinegar, and Hot Water

Baking soda and vinegar are two strong products people love to use for cleaning

Baking soda and vinegar is one of the most common and effective solutions to put down a garbage disposal. This mixture can unclog your disposal, make it smell better, and it kills odor-causing bacteria.

Also, because it's a natural method, it's less harsh on your garbage disposal than using chemicals.

To try this method, take a half cup of baking soda and one cup of white vinegar, and pour it down the garbage disposal. Allow the baking soda and vinegar to sit for about 10 minutes. This will give the mixture enough time to clean your disposal thoroughly.

After 10 minutes, turn on the garbage disposal and the hot water. Allow the hot water to rinse the baking soda and vinegar mixture.

2. A Mixture of Citrus Peels and Ice

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), lemon, vinergar and salt

A combination of citrus peels and ice is another very natural way to clean your garbage disposal. It's a method that gives your disposal a fresh, pleasant smell.

Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, and limes also contain antibacterial properties. So, besides providing a lovely scent, citrus peels also kill germs!

To clean your garbage disposal with citrus peels and ice, pour some ice cubes and your choice of citrus peels into a large bowl. Next, pour this bowl of citrus peels and ice cubes into the disposal.

Following this, you want to run the cold water into the disposal for about 45 seconds. Then, turn the disposal off and rinse it using hot water for 15 seconds. Now, you can enjoy a clean-smelling garbage disposal!

3. A Mixture of Salt and Ice

Sea salt in ceramic bowl

A salt and ice mixture is great for scrubbing your disposal's blades and breaking up any food particles. The best type of salt to use for this cleaning mixture is a coarse salt, like rock salt.

If you want to use this solution, mix two cups of ice cubes with one cup of rock salt. Next, pour the salt and ice down the garbage disposal. Then, turn on the cold water.

Last, turn on the disposal and keep it running for 15 seconds. This should be enough time for the salt and ice mixture to scrub the blades clean.

Some people also like to add lemon wedges to their salt and ice solution. Citrus gives the garbage disposal a nice scent.

So, many people add lemon to help eliminate any lingering odors. Using a salt, ice, and lemon mixture may be the best way to ensure that your disposal is clean and smells nice too.

4. Borax

An all natural, organic household disinfectant. Ingredients include lemon juice, Borax powder and water.

Borax is amazing at unclogging garbage disposals. If you want to use borax to clean your disposal, simply put 3 tablespoons of borax down the drain.

Let the borax sit in the garbage disposal for about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn on the disposal and wash the borax away with hot water.

5. Scouring Powder

Scouring powder is strewed against the background of a metal sink

Scouring powder contains a grinding, polishing powder and a soap or detergent. The abrasive powder and detergent work together to dislodge any food particles.

There are a variety of scouring powders out there. So, a perk of using this method is that you have many options to choose from.

To clean your disposal with scouring powder, measure out a half cup of the powder and pour it down the drain. Following that, turn on the cold water to mix with the powder.

Afterwards, let the scouring powder sit in the garbage disposal for about 15 minutes. Last, turn on the cold water again and fully rinse the scouring powder from the garbage disposal.

Click here to find some scouring powder on Amazon. 

What Happens if You Don't Clean Your Garbage Disposal?

You want to clean your garbage disposal regularly to rid it of food particles and bacteria. Otherwise, it will accumulate. If we don't clean them, any rotting food inside the disposal can cause mold.

Mold growth can negatively affect your health, causing eye irritation, wheezing, and nasal congestion. Remember to clean your garbage disposal at least every two weeks to avoid these problems!

Should You Run Cold or Hot Water When Using a Garbage Disposal?

Don't forget to always run cold water when using your garbage disposal. Remember, cold water makes it easier for the garbage disposal to grind food by solidifying it.

What Causes a Garbage Disposal to Stink?

You may have noticed that your garbage disposal doesn't smell that great sometimes. There's a simple reason for this: the rotting food it collects is sitting next to the disposal's cutting blades or drainpipes.

Obviously, rotting food doesn't smell that great. So, something that collects food waste isn't always going to smell pleasant either!

How Do You Know if Your Garbage Disposal is Clogged?

Baking soda poured to unclog drainage system at home

There are a couple of signs that will let you know your garbage disposal has a clog. For one, your garbage disposal may not drain properly, resulting in your sink filling up with water.

Another telltale sign is your disposal emitting a foul odor, even when it's not on.

If you have a clogged garbage disposal, you'll want to use a baking soda, vinegar, and hot water mixture or borax. These products are very good at unclogging garbage disposals.

What Can You Not Use to Clean Your Garbage Disposal?

You should never put bleach or drain cleaners down your garbage disposal to clean it. These products are too harsh and can harm the garbage disposal's blades.

What Food Items Should You Not Put in Your Garbage Disposal?

There are several food items that you should never put in your garbage disposal. Some of these items include fats and grease, coffee grounds, and stringy foods.

Fats and Grease

Fats and grease can dull the garbage disposal's blades. Also, fats and grease can easily clog your garbage disposal because they solidify after cooling.

Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds can also clog your garbage disposal. The tiny grounds will adhere to the wet surface of the disposal and continue to accumulate until they block the pipes.

Stringy Foods

Foods like celery and string cheese don't have a reputation for clogging a garbage disposal. But, these stringy foods can burn out the disposal's motor. They cause this to happen by wrapping around the garbage disposal's base.

In Closing

Stainless steal kitchen sink with water drops

A garbage disposal is a helpful household feature, but it requires proper cleaning to work properly. Be sure to clean your garbage disposal at least once every two weeks to avoid mold growth.

Never clean your garbage disposal with harsh chemicals. And don't put fats and grease, coffee grounds, or stringy foods into it. With these tips, you should be ready to take care of your garbage disposal!

Before you go, check out some of our other articles:

Garbage Disposal Making Noise But Not Working - What To Do? 

What Happens If You Leave A Garbage Disposal On? 

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