Garbage Disposal

How to Clean a Garbage Disposal

A garbage disposal does a great job at taking food waste, breaking it up, and getting it disposed of. Unfortunately, every time it’s used, small particles of food build up on the inside of it, and it eventually winds up with a stinky smell.

In this article, we’re going to cover some tips and tricks to clean it so that the smells go away.

A Word of Caution

Because a garbage disposal contains rotating blades inside, never reach into a garbage disposal to clean one with a bare hand, and never reach into a garbage disposal while the circuit breaker for it is on. Always turn off the circuit breaker for a garbage disposal before working on cleaning it.

Clean Garbage Disposal With Ice

What you’ll need

  • Dish Soap
  • Ice Cubes (2 cups or so)
  • Rock Salt (1 cup)
  • Flashlight (optional)
  • Tongs or Pliers (optional)


  1. Turn off the power to the garbage disposal at the circuit breaker (this is to prevent the garbage disposal from accidentally turning on while working with it)
  2. Look into the garbage disposal and see if there are any solid foods in it. If there is, use pliers or tongs to pull it out.
  3. Run the water in the sink for a minute to flush all the small stuff out of the garbage disposal.
  4. Use a sink stopper to keep the sink from draining and fill the sink with a few inches of water. Add dish soap to water.
  5. Unplug the stopper so that the soap water cleans the garbage disposal.
  6. Turn the garbage disposal’s power on at the circuit breaker.
  7. Pour 2 cups of ice and 1 cup of rock salt into the garbage disposal.
  8. Turn the garbage disposal on and run water in the sink. The ice and rock salt will scrub inside of the garbage disposal to clean it. Turn the garbage disposal back off after 30 seconds.

Clean Garbage Disposal with Baking Soda and Vinegar

What you’ll need

  • Baking Soda (1/2 cup)
  • White Vinegar (1 cup)
  • Boiling Water


  1. Pour baking soda into garbage disposal.
  2. Pour vinegar into garbage disposal.
  3. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Boil a full pot of water.
  5. Pour boiling water into the garbage disposal. This rinses away the cleaning mixture.

If You Have a Septic System

If you have a septic system, be careful about what you put into a garbage disposal. Keep in mind that chemicals can kill off the good bacteria in your septic tank, which could cause problems down the road.

Check out some of our other septic related articles here:

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Posted on September 17, 2021