Do I Need To Clean My Garbage Disposal?

image of a homeowner using a garbage disposal

When you make meals in your kitchen, you are bound to end up with food scraps. Most people place peels and leftovers in the trash bin, where they attract insects and other pests. However, in your home, you reduce trash with the help of the garbage disposal in your kitchen sink. This helpful appliance helps prevent clogged pipes by grinding all the bits and pieces that fall down the hole. The processed scraps pass smoothly across the plumbing system. It saves you time and energy. However, all this work can tax the machine. Take good care of it to enjoy many years of reliable service. Garbage disposal cleaning should be part of regular maintenance. This way, you can avoid unnecessary garbage disposal repairs and premature replacements.

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Why It’s a Good Idea to Clean Your Garbage Disposal Unit

Below, we discuss why you should proactively clean your garbage disposal.

1. Prevent Foul Garbage Disposal Odors

image of a homeowner plugging nose due to garbage disposal odor

Not everything goes down to the pipes. Some bits of food can stick to the splash guard or the grinding chamber. They will stay there until they decay. When they do, they will emit a foul odor that will stick up your kitchen. It will make the space unpleasant to stay in. Make it a habit to clean the machine so that you don’t have to endure the offensive smell.

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2. Remove Problematic Items That You Feed Into The Garbage Disposal

There are food scraps that leave slimy residues. Garbage disposals can pulverize solid scraps, but they cannot process slime. These can get stuck in the gears and encourage the growth of bacteria. If you often use greasy and stringy vegetables in your ingredients, you need to pay attention to this. Bacteria can contaminate kitchen surfaces and put your health at risk. Clean the unit before the problem gets worse.

3. Reduce the Chances of a Clogged Sink

image of a clogged sink with food

The garbage disposal will help you lower the possibility of a sink clog, but it has its limits. Food particles can get into the nooks and crannies of the machine. These may eventually block the path and leave you with standing water in your kitchen sink. Check on it from time to time. Be proactive and put disposal cleaning on your list of tasks.

How Often to Clean the Garbage Disposal Unit

Experts recommend scheduled cleaning once a week. If you are busy with work, you can stretch this to once every two weeks. Try not to extend it longer than this interval because the food scraps can build up substantially in half a month. You can minimize it by always running cold water every time you use the unit. It will make the food easier to grind and move smoothly down the drains. As an added precaution, pour hot water through the disposal every month for a deep clean. It should remove leftover debris and kill lingering bacteria.

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Steps to Take for Thorough Garbage Disposal Cleaning

Below, we share some effective methods to keep your garage disposal nice and clean.

1. Baking Soda & Vinegar

image of baking soda and vinegar to clean garbage disposal

The cleaning process will depend on your choice of materials. You do not have to run to the supermarket to purchase a special solution for this. Just open your cupboards and get common household items like vinegar and baking soda. This powerful combination can do wonders for your kitchen. Turn off the disposal, remove visible debris, and clean with dish soap. Now pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain. Follow this with half a cup of vinegar and watch the reaction. You should see the mixture fizzle. Leave it for about 30 minutes before washing it down with hot water.

2. Ice, Salt, & Vinegar

If you run out of baking soda, use alternative combinations such as ice and vinegar. Open your freezer and take out a tray of ice cubes. Place these in the disposal unit along with a cup of rock salt. You can also add a cup of vinegar. Let this stand for a few minutes before flushing with hot water. It should melt the ice and help debris move down. You can do the baking soda and vinegar method later once you replenish your supplies. If possible, use a multi-purpose vinegar for cleaning, but any type will do in a pinch.

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3. Oxygen Bleach

If all you have is oxygen clean, go ahead and use that instead. It can clean the unit while removing persistent odors. Mix about one-third of a cup of bleach with two-thirds of a cup of hot water. Pour the solution into the disposal and allow it to stand for a while as it runs across the nooks and crannies. Once it covers every surface, flush it down with hot water from the tap. It should eliminate most bacteria and give you a pleasant machine to work with. Let the water remove any chemical smell.

How to Maintain a Fresh Garbage Disposal Unit Smell

image of a sliced up lemon for cleaning garbage disposal

Some are not happy leaving their disposal unit smelling like vinegar, baking soda, or bleach. That is quite understandable. If you want a fresh and natural smell, consider squeezing lemon juice and pouring it down the drains. Of course, you can always use ready-made deodorizing solutions with this scent. However, nothing beats natural odor enhancers. It is also free if you already have these fruits in your pantry. Do this regularly by freezing lemon juice in ice trays. Take out a few cubes every week and place them on the drain. Turn on the disposal unit to crush them and let the liquid lend its sweet smell.

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Installing a disposal unit in your kitchen sink is one of the best things you can do to make food preparation faster and easier. It will help you become more efficient while reducing the amount of trash produced by your home. However, this small machine also needs your care and attention. Make it a habit to clean it every week or so whenever possible. If you encounter any problems, call a plumber for assistance. Experts can help you deal with clogs, leaks, noise, and poor performance.


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Contact Robinson Plumbing, one of the most trusted plumbing companies in the Lehigh Valley, for reliable plumbing services. We offer various plumbing services ranging from whole house water filters, drain clogs, water heater replacements, toilet repairs, water leaks, and more. We always give a wide range of solutions when possible for any plumbing repairs. This allows you to choose the best options for your home and budget. Click the link to view our plumbing service area.

Find yourself dealing with an unexpected plumbing problem in the middle of the night? No worries! You can count on the expert plumbers at Robinson Plumbing to take care of you. We offer reliable 24-hour emergency plumbing services. You can count on us to get the job done quickly and correctly and, best of all, at an affordable price.

We proudly offer the most affordable and best plumbing services in the Lehigh Valley area. Our plumbers all have the proper licenses and expertise to ensure your satisfaction. All of our work comes with a guarantee. Contact Robinson Plumbing today and schedule your free estimate.

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