A food waste disposer is an outstanding appliance, which helps to clean away unwanted food waste immediately. It is the most efficient way to dispose of food waste that would otherwise stink up your kitchen.
A food waste disposer plays a significant role in not only keeping your kitchen clean and odourless but also in protecting the environment.
It is because food waste disposer helps reduce carbon emissions. The food that you would have thrown in a garbage truck—releases methane gas—will now be processed through your food waste disposer.
A food waste disposer saves time, is economical, and decreases the overall waste of the country. However, it has its limitations. If the food waste disposer appropriately and regularly is not cleaned, it can result in a foul smell. It occurs when food waste gets stuck in the internal parts of the food waste disposer, causing bacteria and mould to develop on its side.
The food bacteria, aside from producing a smell, also decrease the efficiency of the food waste disposer. However, it is nothing to worry almost. Can be easily clean this equipment with just a few steps. The guide below presents several ways on how to clean food waste disposer.
1- Know when to clean your food waste disposer
Before knowing how to clean food waste disposer, learn when your food waste disposer needs cleaning. Some few things you should know if your food waste disposer needs cleaning.
The first step is to recognize the smell. When you enter the kitchen, does your kitchen smell? Do you not know where the odour is coming from? If the answer to these questions is ‘yes’, then your food waste disposer needs cleaning.
The second thing is to see if your food waste disposer needs cleaning is to check its efficiency. Is it working the way it used to when you first bought it? If not, then you need to learn how to clean food waste disposer.
2- Remove lodged objects yourself.
If a large object is stuck in your food waste disposer and is causing your sink to be clogged you need to remove that before cleaning. However, as a safety precaution, turn off the fuse that gives power to the food waste disposer. It will ensure that the disposer does not start operating when you are cleaning it.
The switch of the waste disposer is often on a nearby wall or under the cabinet. In case you cannot find it, turn off the electricity through the main power switch.
To clean food waste disposer, you will need a few things:
- A pair of tong or pliers—This will help you remove the large object. Remember that even if the switch of the disposer is closed, do not clean the waste disposer with your hands. The blades of the waste disposer are sharp and can cause damage to your hands.
- A flashlight— this will help you observe inside the waste disposer and find the cause of the smell.
You should know how to clean a food waste disposer without damaging the grinder. When you are plucking out the object, make sure you are wary of the amount of pressure you apply.
The leading cause of the blockade in your waste disposer is a lack of rinsing. Hence, make it a habit to rinse your food waste disposer.
3- Flush with water
Flushing out your food waste disposal is a quick way of cleaning it. It will help you remove loose dirt or sludge. Start with putting the stopper on the food waste disposer, then add a small amount of dish soap, and turn on the hot water tap until the water reaches 2-4 inches in the sink. Then pull out the plug and switch on the garbage disposal.
A tip on how to clean food waste disposer this way:
- Make sure you use hot water and not cold water. Hot water helps liquefy oil and grease in the drain, making it easy to flush down the food waste disposer.
Using this method is much more useful than just running the tap as this allows the entire food waste disposer to be washed thoroughly and prevent a build-up of debris.
4- Combine Ice cubes and salt
Crushing ice and salt in your waste disposer is an excellent way of cleaning it, especially if you have stricter sludge and debris.
All you have to do is turn on the food waste disposer, run some cold water and allow the ice and the salt to ground by the sharp blades.
An alternative way of doing this is to freeze white vinegar into ice cubes and to crush these cubes into the food waste disposer. The white vinegar is more effective than pure water ice cubes as it can also remove the odour. The crushing of the cubes sharpens the blade as well.
5- Use a scrubbing brush.
You can manually clean the food waste disposer as well. Grab a scrub brush that designed for this purpose, remove the screen from the top of the food waste disposer and clean away. Removing the screen will make cleaning more comfortable and will help you see the internal part of the drain.
6- Use Baking soda and vinegar.
Baking soda and vinegar is a great combination to get rid of the waste stuck in your disposer. Baking soda is a cutting element and is known to fight off stains and elements attached in the drain.
The first step is to pour a cup of vinegar and half a cup of baking soda into the food waste disposer. Allow the mixture to stay for 15 minutes so that the vinegar and baking soda can react together.
This mixture will work together and kill off bacteria, including salmonella and E. coli. It will also leave your food waste disposal clean and fresh. While this is happening, mix vinegar and baking soda in a bowl until it becomes a thick paste. Take a toothbrush, wipe off the paste, and scrub down the top and bottom surfaces of the rubber flaps that are around the neck of the disposal. Flaps are also likely to be surrounded by bacteria as much as the other components of food waste disposer.
This combination makes for the best natural cleaner if you are thinking about how to clean food waste disposer. However, you have to be cautious. Using this method too often can be a problem because of the acidic nature of vinegar, which can damage the rubber inside your food waste disposer. Similarly, avoid using chemicals or cleaning liquids that are corrosive. People often make this mistake and end up buying a new food waste disposer because the internal part of the system gets damaged. Use Hard materials to keep your Food waste disposer Sharp.
One way to keep your food waste disposer in tiptop condition is to keep its blades sharp. Some few hard materials that can keep the edges awake. These include eggshells, chicken bones, small fruit pits, fish bones, and ice cubes. These materials provide the roughage needed by the food waste disposer to function effectively.
7- Flush down Biodegradable food
Another easy way to clean food waste disposer is to make sure it not clogged in the first place. It is possible if you make sure you do not put any non-biodegradable stuff inside it.
The food waste disposer is not a trash can. If you only put in biodegradable waste into the system, it can save you cleaning time. Try to avoid putting the following material in your food waste disposer:
- Fibrous materials
- Onion skins
- Celery stalks
- All these foods get caught in the motor. Composting them would be a better option.
- Starchy materials are potato peels. The starch from them may stick to the food waste disposer blades.
- Expandable food – pasta and rice come in this category. They expand when they soak in water, which causes clogging of the drain.
8- Keep the food waste disposer running.
A common mistake many people make is that they turn off their food waste disposer as soon as the grinding noise ends. It is not a wise decision as there may be some particles in the disposal unit, which may not have flushed away. For this reason, keep your food waste disposer on even after the noise is gone.
9- Keep grease away
How to clean food waste disposers without making it a hectic and time-consuming task?
The best way to clean your food waste disposer is to take precautionary measures. It is not a good idea to allow oil, grease, and fat in your drain. The oily substances can collect in the disposal unit, slow downpipes, and cause the drain to clog.
To avoid such outcomes, wipe off oil and grease from plates and pans, using a paper towel before you rinse them in the sink.
10- Cut large food items.
Clogging of the food waste disposer takes place when large objects make their way down the pipe. Prevent these large pieces of food from being stuck in the food waste disposer by chopping them off into smaller pieces.
11- Clean the outside area
Sometimes, people focus on cleaning the inside of the food waste disposer and forget to clean the outside. It is wrong as the disposal rim in your sink accumulates food particles and can develop mould if not given attention. To prevent this, use soap dish and scrubbing brush frequently to clean the whole system efficiently.
12- Throw in a lemon
Lemon is a natural way to freshen up your food waste disposer. It acts as a deodorant for your disposal system.
The best way to use lemon is to grind the peels into the waste disposer. Even throwing in an entire lemon would be a great way to clean it. The grinding squeezes the citrus oil in the lemon, which helps in clean the walls of the disposal unit and the blades.
Other citrus fruits – oranges, grapefruit, lime – are also of great help.
13- Do a full-system clean up
This method of cleaning is time-consuming but essential to cleaning your food waste disposer. Do this once or twice every month.
For this method, you will need a rubber cap and a steel clamp. Buy these before you get to work.
Start by turning on the tap for a minute or so and make sure that the food sludge is not in solid form. Then turn off the switch to the waste disposer, disconnect the pipe connected to your system, and attach the rubber cap to the bottom of the line to prevent leaking. Put an empty bucket at the end of the pipe so if any leakage occurs, it spills into the bucket.
Soak the pipe in a cleaning solution by turning on warm water in the sink. Use oxygen bleach, as a cleaning agent, to erode the sludge. Leave the food waste disposer as it is for one hour to ensure thorough cleaning.
After the cleaning executive, attach the pipe to the system again. Lastly, fill the sink with soapy water and then rinse it with normal water. It will help dispose of sludge that came off during the deep cleaning.
Now you have a clean and odourless food waste disposer.
Keeping the methods provided above in your mind will maintain your unit and keep you from doing a Google search on ‘how to clean food waste disposer’ every time. However, if you feel that your food waste disposer is not working up-to-mark or is giving a foul smell, even after you have taken the appropriate measure, call a professional. The issue may be more significant than you think.
However, in many cases, can solve this problem on your own. Just remember to take precautionary measures, keep the tap running when using the system, and to keep away starchy, fibrous and expandable food from your disposer.