Garbage disposals are nifty little devices in our homes that make taking out the trash very easy. Just turn it on and pop down the appropriate garbage and in a poof it is all gone. But we do find ourselves becoming complacent with them. We spill down every drink and every item we can down the garbage disposal and this can make for a very nasty mess.
If you want to avoid garbage disposal build-up, then you are going to have to clean it up eventually. A garbage disposal with weeks or even months of uncleaned waste can make for a nasty smell. If left untreated it can also spread fungi, cause infections and even cause mould.
You could also end up with a jammed disposal. If it’s jammed, then you are going to have to call a plumber to take the entire thing out and wash it. That is going to end up costing you a small fortune. What you can do to prevent this is to regularly clean it out. Once a week, or once a month might even work fine.
How to Clean out Your Garbage Disposal
The first thing you must do when cleaning your garbage disposal is to make sure it is turned off. We do not want a scene out of a horror movie here. Turn off the switch or unplug it from the back.
Get the Big Chunks Out
Run the water from the tap at high pressure in order to dislodge any grime stuck to the sides. The best way to do this is to first plug the sink up. Make sure you are letting hot water build up. Hot water can break down oils stuck in the disposal. You could also use dishwasher soap and mix it with the water. Once the sink is filled, unplug the sink and let the water run down the disposal.
It is advised to use salt or ice cubes in order to move some of the bigger pieces of junk that might be stuck inside the disposal. Ice-cubes especially can get the gears in the disposal turning and get any junk out without damaging the disposal itself.
Using tongs and pliers, remove any big chunks of junk or grime that you can see. Only stick something inside the disposal if you have made sure that it if off. And never ever put your hand down it unless it is absolutely necessary. Even then make sure that all power to the disposal is turned off.
It is important to avoid any sort of ammonia, abrasives or bleach. They will damage not only your disposal but also your kitchen sink. These chemicals eat away at the metal and make the overall structure of the thing weak.
Physically Clean it
You can use a combination of brushes and other items to clean up your disposal. Use a toilet scrub-brush (similar to what you would use to clean a toilet) to really clean out the stuck grease and grime. You are going to have to use some real elbow grease to get the garbage disposal spotless. You can usually purchase brushes made for garbage disposal cleaning at any local store.
Take the protective screen off to get a better overall cleaning experience.
If you want to get rid of a pungent odor in your garbage disposal, then you are going to have to engage in a little high school science. Pour vinegar down the drain and accompany that with a little baking soda. Let the concoction bubble for a little while. 10 minutes should be perfect. Then use hot water to clear out the disposal. This time you are going to have to have the garbage disposal on.
But if you do not like the smell that the vinegar-baking soda combo leaves you can employ another method to fix this.
Cut down a citrus fruit like a lemon, orange or lime into slices and just toss them down to the disposal and turn it on. You will immediately be left with a pleasant smell. But if you want to take a step further, toss some spices such as cloves down there too for a really good smell.
Chemicals should not be altogether avoided and should really be only used as a last resort.
Heavily diluted bleach is one chemical you can use to clean up your disposal and kill germs in the process as well! Just be careful not to use a lot of bleach since it can harden up grease and erode away the metal parts of the garbage disposal. Put in a teaspoon or two of bleach in about a gallon of water and mix well.
Carefully pour down the water-bleach solution in the disposal and let it stand for a little while. Wash away the solution with hot water and let it sit for another while. You could also use borax which is a very effective and natural cleaner. Pour down 2-3 cups of borax and let them sit for a while and clean out with hot water when done.
A Few Precautions
Always dispose of the biodegradable matter in the garbage disposal. It is only meant for such waste. Pouring down any other waste will effectively clog up your garbage disposal.
Make sure you regularly clean it up as well. The best thing you can do is to flood it with a combination hot water and soap. If you do this, you will not have to majorly clean it out.
When running the garbage disposal, make sure to run it for a lengthy amount of time. Most people usually only stop the disposal when they hear the grinding has stopped. It is honestly better if you let the disposal run for a little bit longer after the grinding has stopped. This lets any and all waste clear out of the disposal.
Regularly clean your garbage disposal ad you should never really have a problem with major malfunctions!