Garbage disposals are an amazing appliance to have. They save you time from putting food scraps in the trash and even help the environment by reducing food waste in landfills. But like any frequently used appliance, it’s important to maintain and clean your garbage disposal to ensure the best performance and reduce the chance of it breaking down. Here are five steps for properly cleaning your garbage disposal.
Clean the Splash Guard
The rubber splash guard, also known as the gasket, has several crevices that food particles and grease can get trapped under. This is a breeding ground for bacteria and mold, which can lead to bad smells and the eventual decaying of the splash guard. You can clean the splash guard by first turning the power off to your garbage disposal by either disconnecting the plug from under the sink or turning off the breaker. This will prevent any injuries from happening. Use an old toothbrush and dish detergent to scrub the hard-to-reach parts, specifically the underside of the splash guard.
Remove Food Debris
Next, you’ll want to poke your head near the garbage disposal opening (with the power still off!). Shine a flashlight so you can see if there is any food debris that the grinder didn’t catch. You can use tongs or pliers to remove the debris safely. Never put your fingers down in the garbage disposal even when the power is off, the blades are still extremely sharp. You’ll want to do this before you move on to the next step.
Pour in Baking Soda and Water
Baking soda is a natural and safe cleaner that won’t damage your appliance. Measure half a cup of baking soda and pour it down the disposal. You’ll want to let it sit for half an hour, then follow that with one cup of vinegar. This is going to create a foamy liquid to bubble up in your sink and eat away all the grime and dirt inside your disposal. Let that sit for about three minutes and then flush it out with hot water.
Grind up Ice and Salt
The best way to clean your garbage disposal blades is to use salt to break up any debris stuck on them. Go ahead and plug your garbage disposal back in or turn the breaker back on. Pour two cups of ice down your disposal followed by a cup of salt. Let the cold water run on top of that, and then turn your disposal on. Let it run until all the ice is ground up. This is a great way to scrub your appliance clean.
Grind up Lemon Peels
Lastly, you can use the peels of lemon or any citrus fruit to freshen up your disposal and get rid of any lingering smells. Stuff the peel of a lemon into the disposal, turn on the cold tap water, and let it run until all the peels are ground up. This should leave your kitchen smelling lemony fresh!