Cleaning a Garbage Disposal

Celery and Banana Going into Garbage Disposal
With all the food and other waste that gets run through a garbage disposal it definitely needs to be cleaned occasionally. Regular cleaning will help the performance and extend the life of your garbage disposal also. This is a page about cleaning a garbage disposal.

15 Solutions

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January 17, 2008

Some people don't know, but there is a garbage disposal cleaner that should be used at least monthly to rid odors. It is a small paper package, that when inserted into the disposal with a trickle of water, it produces a blue foam with cleans the pipes, and if you have two sinks, will come up and clean the second system pipes too.

My husband cleans fresh fish a lot, and this seems to help odors.

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September 13, 2011

I use baking soda. Make sure the power is off. Pour into the garbage disposal, then take a scratchy sponge and put your hand in there. Clean the walls and under the rubber flaps.

In between doing this, I use denture tablet cleansers. Put one in the disposal, but don't turn it on. Let the water and the tablet do the work. If you do this quite often, it takes less than a minute to clean it by hand.


One other tip is to use baking soda and cheap white vinegar. While it foams, it deodorizes and cleans.

By hopeful from Salem, OR

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August 26, 2011

To clean my garbage disposal, I slice one lemon in half and toss them into the disposal along with 4 or 5 ice cubes. I turn on the disposal and the cold water. Voila, the disposal is cleaned and freshened all at the same time.

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August 24, 2011

Fill the disposal with ice cubes and let stand for a good ten minutes. Then flush with cold water, while running the disposal for ten seconds or so.


This method hardens all the gunk on the blades, causing it to break up. It cleans and sharpens the blades.

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November 5, 2013

My garbage disposal got clogged after I drained cooked rice into it. I tried to use a plunger to clear the clog but it did not work. I came across the advice to use vinegar, baking soda with hot water. It worked like a miracle.

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August 25, 2011

One of the best ways that I know of is to turn the water on at a trickle and turn your disposal on while empty. Then push about two quarts of ice cubes down into the disposal. That's ice, not fingers!

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January 31, 2010

How do I clean my garbage disposal? There's a musty smell coming from the drain.

By Pat Lafferty from Phoenix, AZ


January 31, 20100 found this helpful

They do sell a garbage disposal cleaner packet. It foams up in the drain. some hardware stores sell it. you can buy it online, too.

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February 3, 20100 found this helpful

This is an easy one. 1/2 cup baking soda followed by 1/2 cup of white vinegar let sit for 20 or 30 minuets then add 2 cups of very hot water. If your hot water is set for a dishwasher your hot water may be hot enough if not boiling water will work fine.


If you still have a smell. The next time you zest any citrus add the left over peel to the garbage disposer. This will freshen your disposal.

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February 3, 20100 found this helpful

I swear by lemons. Grab a lemon slice off a few slices and drop in disposal side of the drain. Turn on disposal and reap the smell of fresh lemons. Save remaining lemon in fridge for the next week. This always works for me. Good luck

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February 4, 20100 found this helpful

Cut up a lemon or orange (any citrus fruits work well) put down the disposal and run as usual. It really helps with any odor and it is supposed to help clean it. If you want to clean it well, you can purchase garbage disposal pads at the larger chain stores and put one down into the disposal and turn on it actually foams up and really cleans it well but they're kind of expensive.


Hope this helps!

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February 4, 20100 found this helpful

I agree with the lemon.
When you use your disposal, always leave the water running for @ 30 seconds after you shut if off. Your disposal won't smell at all.

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February 6, 20100 found this helpful

The 'citrus' trick is what I use, but I just toss any citrus piece, never have to cut a piece specifically for the disposal, just use a lemon wedge from my iced tea, right into the drain. The disposal always stays nice and fresh, because it takes a few days to get rid of the rind.

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May 1, 2012

I saw a solution for cleaning the sink disposal with ice and vinegar. I did try it at the time and it really worked well. I cannot find this information now. Think it was on Thrifty Fun.

By Edie C

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September 30, 2018

A great way to change an unpleasant smell coming from your garbage disposal is by grinding some lemon, lime or orange peels through it. This is a page about citrus peels for garbage disposal odors.

Lemon peel on white back drop.

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August 7, 2017

Running ice cubes through your garbage disposal will help clean off the blades. This is a page about putting ice cubes in garbage disposal.

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August 16, 2013

This is a page about keeping garbage disposal smelling fresh. All of that food waste going down your garbage disposal can result in a smelly unit.

Clean garbage disposal drain.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

January 31, 2010

What is the most efficient way to keep a garbage disposal clean? I would like to know if there is a product I can buy, but after looking in some stores I have not found any for this specific use.

Judy from Riverside, CA


Cleaning a Garbage Disposal

I only had a garbage disposal once, and I ground up lemons in it. (02/23/2009)


By Carol Rodriguez

Cleaning a Garbage Disposal

Wow, lots of great information. I do 3 different things to keep my garbage disposal clean.

  1. Make sure your disposal is off, take 1/2 cup of bleach and pour it into the disposal, this will kill off any bacteria that could be growing inside, now, if you feel that the bleach won't get into the areas properly, use an old rag, dip it into the bleach, then reach in and wash around the sides, etc. When finished pour the rest of the bleach into the drain.
  2. Use ice to help keep the blades nice and sharp, you will find that by putting about a cup or so of ice into the disposal does a great job.
  3. Last but not least to give it a refreshing smell and again to help the blades, cut up a lemon and toss it in, then run the disposal. It will be nice and aromatic, but also be clean. The acids from the lemon also help to kill off bacteria

By Carrie Hulce

Cleaning a Garbage Disposal

When I use my garbage disposal, after I shut the disposal off I always leave the water running for approximately 30 seconds. This keeps it clean. (02/25/2009)


Cleaning a Garbage Disposal

I just did this. It's a helpful hint I read somewhere. I don't use hot water when doing dishes. No matter how hot it is, if your dishes are not being boiled for at least 5 minutes, it does no good to run the hot water and do your dishes with it. Hot water also melts that grease from food down your drain and pipes and it ends up clogging your pipes, then you end up calling the plumber. I had a plumber tell me, that I would be very bad for his livelihood.

I use a good amount of Dawn dish soap and some water softener, like Calgon or White King D and soak, scrub, and rinse well. Well, my disposer got really disgusting lately and I poured down about 1 cup of baking soda and poured, slowly, vinegar until the soda was almost down the drain and let it foam for a few minutes. Then run cold water for a few minutes. It worked really well and deodorized the drain and pipes. (02/25/2009)

By C.Thayer

Cleaning a Garbage Disposal

Just cut up some lemons and put down the disposal. They clean and deodorize.

Janette (02/25/2009)

By Janette

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February 23, 2009

What is the best way to clean and sanitize a garbage disposal?

Debbie52 from IL


Unclogging disposal w/ baking soda & vinegar

I found the baking soda/vinegar trick on this site while checking Google this morning for "how to clear plugged garbage disposal". I tried it this morning, and it worked!

I had dumped a large container of cooked pasta into it last night and plugged it up. I'm always careful about not putting grease and fibrous junk into it, but I'd never heard the warning about starch before. The blades would turn, but water wouldn't drain at all. When I turned it on, everything spewed out in a mess.

As directed, I put a half box of baking soda into the drain, right through the standing water, then 1 cup vinegar, then a 2nd cup of vinegar, and followed that up with a pot of boiling water. I could see a few little bubbles coming up, so then I used a plunger, and it opened right up.

Thank you for keeping me from using drain cleaner. My brother thanks you, too, since he's the one I would have called next. (03/16/2008)

By Sheryl

Cleaning a Garbage Disposal

While buying cleaning supplies at WalMart I came across a product called Spring Again Garbage Disposal Cleaner. It was only about $3 for 12 uses so I figured it was worth a shot. I am happy to report that it worked marvelously and it was really easy to use. (08/12/2008)

By Paul

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