Garbage disposals are workhorse kitchen appliances that see daily use. If they aren’t properly maintained, they can break down or start to smell. Avoid unpleasant smells and replacement costs by following these simple tips. Your disposal can last up to 15 years if kept in good working condition.

Cleaning procedure

Keeping your disposal clean is easy. Here are the steps:

  1. Thoroughly rinse with cold water. Let the water rinse your disposal. Turn it on to ensure there is no large food waste still in the chamber. Let the water continue for 30 seconds after shutting off the disposal. You may think hot water would be better, but it can liquify greases that will stick to your pipes and cause clogs.
  2. Shut off the disposal. Most disposals can be unplugged from underneath the sink. If yours cannot be unplugged, shut off the power to the disposal from your fuse box.
  3. Pull out anything left over. If there are items left unground, pull them from the sink with needlenose pliers. Do not put your hand into the disposal.
  4. Pour in a cleaning solution. We recommend pouring approximately one-eighth cup of baking soda and one-half cup of vinegar into the unit. This will cause a chemical reaction that should break up any gunk and grime inside. Let it sit and foam for 10 minutes.
  5. Rinse again. Flush the chamber with cold water again for one minute.

Do this simple procedure once a week to ensure everything is in great condition.

Maintenance tips

Here are some suggestions for regular upkeep that will preserve your disposal’s function and freshness.

  • Sharpen the blades. Grind ice cubes mixed with rock salt to keep your blades sharp.
  • Maintain the freshness. Weekly cleaning as described above will go a long way to keeping your kitchen smelling fresh. We also recommend grinding bits of lemon or other citrus fruits to go the extra mile.
  • Don’t put in the wrong food waste. Do not put waste such as oil, potato peels, banana peels, spaghetti, rice or non-food items into the disposal. It will clog.
  • Don’t use harsh chemicals. Do not use chemical drain cleaners or abrasives such as bleach to clean. These are bad for the disposal and pipes.
  • Rinse with every use. You must also run cold water while the unit is in use. Let it continue to run for 30 seconds after shutting it off to ensure the chamber and pipes are clean.

If you’re having issues with your disposal, call in a professional plumber to take a look. At Bieg Plumbing, we’ve seen it all throughout our nearly 60 years of service. Our experienced plumbers can diagnose issues and get them fixed promptly. We can offer guidance about your options and install a new disposal if necessary. Contact us today to schedule a visit.


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