Water running into kitchen sink drain and into garbage disposal

The garbage disposal is one of the best tools in the kitchen. It can also be a source of considerable problems if it is not maintained and cleaned regularly. The best way to keep your garbage disposal working at its optimal level, is to always keep this appliance clean. Doing so is as easy as following the tips below:

Never Run the Unit While Dry

One of the best things you can do for your garbage disposal is also one of the first things you were taught when you got the unit. You should never run the unit dry, but instead, you should always make sure that it’s soaked with water while running. This not only helps the device to run more easily, but it also helps to dislodge any food that could otherwise get stuck inside. If you’re using the disposal, you should always have water running.

Let the Unit Run Long Enough

It’s also incredibly important to keep your disposal running long enough whenever it is in use. A good rule of thumb is that you should run it for about five seconds longer than you’d think it would need to run. Not only is this great for ensuring that you actually dispose of new food properly, but it allows more water to run through and gives you a much better chance of cleaning out food debris that got stuck in the disposal or the drain.

Avoid the Wrong Foods

You can’t just throw anything in a garbage disposal. Even if you’re told great garbage disposals will chop up pretty much anything you can put in it, some foods are just going to cause problems over the long-term if you keep throwing them in. The key is generally to avoid anything that might be fibrous and can tear into little strands. These substances can cause a problem because those pieces get stuck around the moving parts of the disposal. Likewise, you want to avoid anything too hard to chop up, such as seeds and shells. Stick to waste that can easily be managed by the blades of the disposal so that it gets washed away when you’re done.

Clean What You Can See

Your first step in cleaning is always going to be to attack the most reachable parts. Generally, the easiest parts of the garbage disposal to clean are the areas that are immediately visible from the sink. Simply taking a scrubbing wand and some typical dish soap is a good way to clean this area on a regular basis, yet many people fail to do this. A good scrub when you’re cleaning the kitchen can not only dislodge sludge build-up, but it can also help to stop the growth of mold.

You should generally couple this with a good soak, especially if you’re starting to notice the disposal slowing down. Doing this is fairly easy as well just fill up the sink about half-way with water, add a generous amount of dish soap, and then let the water drain through the disposal. Doing this will push out some of the more stubborn food remnants that have clogged up the device and allow it to start working at peak efficiency again. If you’re having trouble with the drain being clogged, our drain-cleaning plumbers can help – call us!

Need help fixing your garbage disposal? Call the plumbing experts at Larkin Plumbing today. 

Remove the Odors

A big part of cleaning is getting rid of the odors that tend to come with poorly maintained garbage disposals. The good news is that you’ll actually do a lot of that work just by avoiding foods that can’t be ground up, cleaning out the visible parts of the disposal, and by draining soapy water through the disposal every so often. If you’re still encountering problems, though, there are few things you can try.

  • Grind some lemon or orange peels in the disposal to make your kitchen smell great and to clean off the grinder’s blades.
  • Use a standard baking soda and vinegar solution to get rid of strong, lingering smells by pouring down the drain and rinsing.

Clean the Inside Safely

Finally, you will need to deep clean your disposal from time to time. Yes, this does mean manually going inside the disposal, so you’re going to want to take extra precautions. You won’t just be making sure that the disposal is off – you should also disable the fuse on which the disposal runs. It’s always better to take a few extra precautions to be safe rather than to deal with an injury.

Once you’re inside, you’ll want to manually remove big chunks of food and debris. This can be unpleasant, but it will get rid of the source of most smells as well as the blockages in the disposal. If you’re comfortable doing a little bit of light plumbing work, this can solve many of your issues.

Call Plumbing Professionals

While keeping your garbage disposal clean can solve many problems, there are some things that might take more effort. If following these steps still leaves you with a dirty, smelly, or ill-functioning disposal you may need professional help. If you need a plumber in Las Vegas, Larkin Plumbing has been servicing the Las Vegas area for more than 85 years and has the expertise to solve all your garbage disposal problems. To learn more about our services, contact our team today!

Garbage Disposal FAQs

To prevent bad odors, regularly run cold water and a small amount of dish soap through the disposal after use. Additionally, grinding citrus peels like lemon or orange can help freshen the disposal.

Avoid putting fibrous materials such as celery, potato peels, and coffee grounds down the disposal as they can cause clogs. Also, avoid pouring grease or oil, as they can solidify and block the pipes.

For a deep clean, fill the disposal with ice cubes and a cup of rock salt, then run cold water and turn on the disposal. This helps dislodge debris and sharpen the blades. Alternatively, use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar, let it sit, then rinse with hot water.