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How to Clean Garbage Disposals

by Willow Sidhe

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Kitchen sink garbage disposal

Things You Need:

  • Ice cube tray
  • White distilled vinegar
  • Liquid dish detergent
  • Curved bottle brush
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • Small lemon or orange

Did you know that odors can build up in garbage disposals around the blades, under the rubber rims and in the drain and pipes? Most people clean their kitchen sinks regularly but forget about one of the most important parts of kitchen sink, the garbage disposal. It can be tricky to reach into the disposal to remove the offending smelly residue, but with a little effort, you can quickly restore freshness to your drains. Using simple methods, you can degrease and deodorize garbage disposals while sharpening the blades to reduce future odor accumulation.

Cleaning Garbage Disposals:

  1. Fill an ice cube tray with equal parts water and white distilled vinegar. Place the tray into the freezer for at least two hours or until the cubes are thoroughly frozen.

  2. Pour approximately 1/8 teaspoon liquid dish detergent onto a curved bottle brush. Insert the brush into the garbage disposal and scrub the sides thoroughly to remove any lingering food residue.

  3. Rinse the disposal with warm water after scrubbing. Pour 1/4 cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by at least 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar. Allow the mixture to fizz for a few minutes, and then rinse again with warm water.

  4. Remove the ice cube tray from the freezer. Pop out the vinegar ice cubes and place half of them directly into the garbage disposal. Peel a lemon or orange and chop the peel into one-inch to two-inch pieces. Add half of the citrus peel to the disposal with the ice cubes. Then switch it on.

  5. Allow the garbage disposal to run until the ice and citrus peel have been dissolved. Add the other half of the ice cubes and peels, and then run the disposal a second time. This process will deodorize the drain while sharpening and scouring the disposal's blades.

Garbage Disposal Warnings and Tips:

  1. If citrus peels are unavailable and your garbage disposal is in desperate need of cleaning and deodorizing, use two tablespoons of vanilla, orange or lemon extract instead.

  2. Always be sure the garbage disposal switch is firmly in the off position before inserting your hand into the drain. If the disposal jams, turn it off before trying to remove the blockage.

  3. Never pour grease down a garbage disposal. It will stick to every nook and cranny, causing odor when it hardens and becomes rancid. If grease is accidentally poured down the drain, rinse immediately with hot water, and then clean thoroughly using the method above.

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