How To Clean a Garbage Disposal, A Plumber’s Guide

July 9th, 2020 | Tips & Tricks, Plumbing, Garbage Disposal

Why It’s Important To Run Your Garbage Disposal Frequently

Have you ever come home from a vacation and wondered why your kitchen smelled like a sewer? There is a good chance that your garbage disposal was to blame. While your garbage disposal may be one of your favorite kitchen appliances, a smelly garbage disposal is anything but pleasant. If you want to make your kitchen smell good again, we have a few tips on how to clean a garbage disposal as well as a few garbage disposal dos and don’ts that will help you to keep the plumber away. 

If you need garbage disposal services in Anaheim, Yorba Linda, or the surrounding areas, call one of our OC plumbers today. Moffett Plumbing & Air is here 24/7 for garbage disposal repair.

Why does Your Garbage Disposal Smell Bad? 

Your garbage disposal is made up of lots of little components that are easy for food scraps to get caught on. When little pieces of food linger behind, they can start to rot and cause that not-so-pleasant odor that you’ve been smelling. Bacteria can also get trapped on your splash guard or on the sides of your disposal if you haven’t frequently cleaned the appliance. 

How to Clean a Garbage Disposal

While you can always contact an Orange County plumbing company to come and deal with a smelly garbage disposal, there are a few steps you can take before you call. However, before you attempt any maintenance on your garbage disposal, make sure to keep yourself safe by disconnecting your garbage disposal and testing the switch to make sure it’s completely inoperable. Once that is done, you can continue cleaning your garbage disposal. 

Step 1: Give the Disposal a Scrub

Because a lot of odors come from bacteria that is on the splash guard, you can clean it to get rid of the smell. After you turn your disposal off, you can remove the splash guard and scrub off any sludge that has accumulated. Then you can use a toothbrush or a long scrubber to scrub the inside of the disposal. Make sure not to reach your hand into the disposal since the components inside are sharp.  

Step 2: Freshen Internal Components

Once you give everything a scrub, you can freshen up the inside components and rid them of food particles. This can be done by grinding up ice cubes, rock salt, citrus peels, or a baking soda and vinegar mixture. These items are safe for your disposal and they can knock off or dissolve any lingering food pieces. 

Step 3: Prevent Further Odors

To prevent the odor from returning, you’ll want to make sure to take care of your disposal. Only grind a little bit of food at a time and stay away from foods that can clog up your disposal such as pasta, coffee grounds, oatmeal, and non-food items. You can keep it clean by running the disposal with a mixture of water and a little dish soap after every use. 

A Few Garbage Disposal Dos & Don’ts

Maintaining your garbage disposal will not only help to keep the smells away, but it will also help your garbage disposal to last longer and have fewer problems. Here are a few garbage disposal dos & don’ts that will help your disposal have a long and happy life. 

Do: Use Your Disposal Every Day

A garbage disposal that is rarely used can start to get rusted into place. The next time you try to use it, the components might not be able to run smoothly and you might have to replace it. Additionally, if you don’t run your garbage disposal every day, there is more of a chance that leftover food particles will start to rot and smell. Make sure you turn your disposal on every day to keep it in good condition and to clean it out. 

Don’t: Put Fat, Oil, or Grease Down the Drain

Fat, oil, and grease will go straight past your disposal and into your pipes where it will harden and create clogs and drain odors. You should never put these items in your disposal or down any of your drains. 

Do: Run Your Garbage Disposal for 30 Seconds

Every time that you grind up food in your disposal, make sure to give it plenty of time to do its job. If you only run it for a couple of seconds, there might be food particles left over that can start to stink. We recommend running it for at least 30 seconds with plenty of water to keep it sparkling clean. 

Don’t: Use It For High Quantities of Food Waste

While tiny leftover food scraps are the most common reason for garbage disposal odors, the odor might be coming from a large quantity of food waste that hasn’t been properly disposed of. If you try to grind up too many leftovers at one time, it can be hard for your disposal to take care of every last bit. A few days later you may notice an odor. 

Having Garbage Disposal Problems? Call an OC Plumber

Sometimes a few ice cubes and some lemon peels aren’t enough to fix the problem. If your garbage disposal still has a bad odor or there are other problems such as clogs, jams, or loud noises, you’ll want to get in touch with an Orange County plumbing company to have your appliance checked out. You may need to have it fixed so that it can grind up food more effectively, or you may need to replace the unit altogether. Your OC plumber can give you advice on what your disposal needs. 

No one wants a smelly garbage disposal! If you are having problems with your appliance or you want more tips on how to clean a garbage disposal, give Moffett Plumbing & Air a call. We offer garbage disposal repair services in Yorba Linda, Anaheim, Huntington Beach, and the greater Orange County area.

Moffett Plumbing & Air is a full-service, family owned & operated plumbing & HVAC company based out of Orange, CA. Follow our blog for valuable homeowner tips, and updates from your favorite team of plumbing professionals.