Garbage Disposal Maintenance And Care Tips

Garbage disposal does a lot of work in the kitchen, with the work done on every food shredded, they form debris all over the place. Foul odors would mean that they need some bit of cleaning.

To avoid malfunctioning of the device, it is good to maintain the device before the decaying of food leftovers begin.

Here are some crucial tips on how to clean and maintain the garbage disposal for better services;

How to maintain a garbage disposal

Always use cold water.

When using the garbage disposal, cold water should be used as opposed to hot water. Coldwater helps in melting the food debris around the garbage disposer.

It hardens the food debris, making it easy for the blades to shred the food leftovers.

On the other hand, hot water melts away the grease and fats found in the drain pipes, making it difficult for it to be shredded because of its liquid form.

The oil and lubricants will eventually harden again after you stop running the water, causing massive jams.

Coldwater will adequately force proper shredding of grease and fats into smaller pieces, and it will prevent clogging as they go down the drain.

Furthermore, using cold water to run the disposer would stop the motor and the shredder from overheating.

Avoid fibrous foods


Fibrous foods like celery, asparagus, lettuce, and kales contain vast amounts of fiber, this tangle around the blades of the disposer preventing it from spinning.

Excessive amounts of fibrous foods would break the edges and damage the motor; they wrap around the blades such that no grinding will occur.

Starchy foods like potato peels form a sticky white paste, which causes clogging of the pipe drains, mainly when it accumulates in a large amount. Fibrous foods should; therefore, not be dumped into the disposer.

In large amounts, coffee grounds shouldn’t be tossed into the garbage disposal; accumulation of these coffee grounds clogs and damages the pipes. As it is said, better safe than sorry, all these foods should go into the trash.

Run the disposal regularly

The garbage disposer should frequently run to prevent rusting the machine and clear away the remaining food debris on the device.

Hardening of these foods causes the sink to smell or produce nasty odors, so whether the disposer is in use or not, water should run through it.

Running the disposer facilitates movements of the motor. The benefit of moving the engine is that it keeps it in check preventing it from jamming.

Frequently flushing water into the disposer is just like freshening up after working out; it keeps you in good shape and flexible enough.

Cut waste food into small pieces.

You can cut waste food into small pieces should they appear in huge chunks, they can overload the disposer when thrown in with their massive forms. Vast pieces of waste food can damage the disposer entirely.

Before throwing them into the disposer, it is preferable to cut them into smaller pieces to avoid overwhelming the disposer and breaking the blades. The food should also be put in the disposal at an interval to prevent it from overworking.

For long-lasting services, the food should be cut to avoid clogging the pipes and regulating the amount of money you have to spend on plumbing.

Avoid draining grease into the disposer.

With grease, it is never a good idea to send it down the drain. Accumulation of grease and fats is the genesis of the pipes clogging. Oil tends to slow down the motor, which runs the disposer;  due to the solidification of the grease.

While doing the dishes, the pans and tins that contain grease traits wiping them off with a paper towel would help reduce the amount of grease that goes into the drain.

If the grease is large, put it in a jar then place it in the refrigerator for solidification purposes; grease brings about bad smells when they begin decaying. The best method is to throw it into the trash bin after hardening.

Keep the food waster clean.

With a lot of food waste going through the disposal, the garbage disposal can get extremely dirty, with the accumulation of food debris that stick around the disposer. Foul smells emanating from the disposer can be eliminated by the use of vinegar and ice cubes.

Harsh chemicals should not be used in cleaning the disposal. Some of the chemicals are hazardous and volatile, such that when used, they corrode the drain pipes. Putting a small number of fruits such as lemon can reduce the extent of the smell.

Using lemon and orange fruits to clean the disposer also makes it easy to sharpen the blades and clean the disposer walls. Of course, they also keep the kitchen fresh at all times.

Put biodegradable foods only.

This is a rule of thumb, only foods that are decomposable entirely are thrown into the garbage disposal. Putting non-biodegradable foods like metals and plastics will damage the disposal will cause a lot of mechanical damage.

The fact that it is called garbage disposal does not entirely mean that the disposer can handle anything that comes in the drain. Metals would cause blockage in the pipes should it manage to pass through the lines, plastics on the other hand stops the grinder from spinning and shredding off the food that goes down the drain.

Expandable foods like rice, pasta, and oats should also not go down the disposal; they expand when submerged into liquids and clogs the pipes when there is a substantial accumulation.

Grinding ice in the unit

Grinding ice cubes in the disposal unit once to twice every month eliminates food debris that gets stuck on the garbage disposer walls. It also facilitates the breakdown of grease, fats, and oil that builds up around the blades and the disposer walls.

The use of ice cubes is the most constructive and cheapest method of sharpening the disposal unit’s blades. The blades might get blunt over time of service, throwing 1 to 2 cups of ice cubes in the disposer, and then turning the disposer on will have significant benefits.

Water should be left to run after turning the disposer on; the cubes shredded by the blade on running water would sharpen the blades.

Cleaning your garbage disposal

Garbage disposal is an appliance that makes work more comfortable in the kitchen while working correctly and in good condition. It’s an outstanding machine when functioning normally; it will leave your kitchen free from rancid odors and fresh.

The opposite happens when there is a mechanical breakdown with the device, foul odors will come out from our kitchen, and this is mainly due to decaying leftovers that are not shredded.

The ingredients for cleaning the garbage disposal are readily available, and most probably, you might just be having them in your house. Here are some ideas on how to clean your garbage disposal.

Ice cubes, salt, and citrus

Citrus fruits like lemon and oranges are used to freshen up the scent of the kitchen, should there be foul odors from decaying food. This fruit’s rugged nature also cleans up the disposer’s blades and gives the kitchen a good fresh smell.

Grinding ice cubes and salt altogether clears away waste food that may have gotten stuck on the walls of the garbage disposal. Ice should be poured into the sink followed by one cup of salt.

  • The garbage disposal should be on; water should run into the disposer, and the blades allowed to crush the ice.
  • You can freeze vinegar and use it as an alternative of salt and let the blades crush the vinegar.

Use a toothbrush

Use a toothbrush to clean splash guard


Cleaning the disposer can be done manually by the use of a toothbrush through scrubbing the splash guard. if the screen is removable, remove it to clean the splash guard with ease through scrubbing it.

  • The disposer should be turned off from the source to avoid injuries.
  • Put some detergent in the toothbrush and use it for scrubbing the splash guard.

Use baking soda and vinegar.

The combination of baking soda and vinegar causes a bubbling effect or a fizz, and it helps to eliminate bacteria in the disposer. Half a baking soda cup is enough, pour it into the disposer then gradually pour white vinegar in the disposer to mix with baking soda.

Fizzing will take place inside the disposer creating the “volcano effect,” the mixture should then be allowed to sit for 5-10 minutes. Run the water for about 1 minute to rinse off the mixture properly.

It is essential to know that vinegar is acidic and might corrode the drain pipes when used largely; it should be used sparingly.

Steps for cleaning a garbage disposal

Cleaning the garbage disposal is not hard. the advantage is that the ingredients required for cleaning the disposer are largely in the house. Ice cubes, baking soda, citrus fruits, salts, and vinegar are readily available.

Step 1; disconnect the device from the power source.

It is crucial and most vital lest you get your fingers shredded, you can either cut the power supply by unplugging it or disconnecting the power supply to the device.

The power supply unit is located on the wall beneath the sink. If you can’t find it, you can cut the supply of electricity from the house’s main fuse.

Just for confirmation, you can double-check to ensure that the power supply has been cut off by trying to switch the disposer on again

Step 2; clean the splash guard.

clean the splash guard


Splash guard contains food debris due to the narrow openings; you can remove it from the disposer and use a toothbrush to scrub it. Use a dish detergent to clean and remove food particles on the crevices of the guard.

Beneath the guard is where most food debris is, a lot of concentration should be there to ensure it remains spotlessly clean.

Step 3; pour vinegar and baking soda.

pour vinegar and baking soda


A combination of baking soda and vinegar produces a bubbling reaction, also known as the volcano effect. It would be best if you pour half a cup of baking soda into the disposal, followed by a full white vinegar cup.

The reaction should be left to sit in for about 10 minutes. The acidic nature of this solution kills bacteria like salmonella found in the disposal. Rinse the solution with running cold water for about a minute to clear any possible solution’s remains.

Step 4; grind ice and salt

grind ice and salt


Connect the plug back to the power supply source to clean the blades, remove any food debris on the edges, and pour two cups of ice into the disposal after reinstalling the splash guard.

Add one cup of salt into the disposal and let the water run through it, as the ice is being shredded, it also sharpens the blades. They also scrub the walls of the disposal and remove any debris of food that may have stuck on it.

Step 5; grind citrus fruits

grind citrus fruits


This is the last stage of cleaning the garbage disposal, citrus fruits like lemon and oranges leave the kitchen smelling good.

Throw in the peels of these fruits into the disposal, run cold water, and turn on the power supply for the peels to be shredded. The smell emanated from the sink will be fresh and pleasing, taking away foul odors that come from decaying food.

Fixing a garbage disposal

A garbage disposal can sometimes need fixing due to clogging and non-food substances that have gone into the disposer. Frequent use of the disposer gets the motor jammed,

Overheating of the garbage disposal

A garbage disposal can sometimes overheat because of being overfilled with food materials causing the switch to trip. The first step in solving this is to find the location of the reset button, which is just beneath or at the back of the garbage disposal.

You should push the reset button in and wait to see if there are any changes; if not, check out the house’s main fuse and determine if it tripped because of overheating.

Overloading of the circuit breaker

With circuit overloading, it does not require any tools to use during the repairing process. The device should be left out to rest for about 10-15 minutes. The disposer should be off at this time.

Locate the reset button under the sink and push it; the last bit would just be switching the disposer on after the rest.

Is it worth owning garbage disposal?

A garbage disposer is an efficient device that helps eliminate kitchen waste by grinding them into smaller pieces. The foodstuff can easily pass through the plumbing without causing any nasty damages.

The disadvantage is that garbage disposal cannot handle all the types of food; it is essential to exercise cautiousness when throwing foodstuff inside the drain.