Everything You Need to Know On How To Clean the Garbage Disposal 

 September 14, 2020

By  Xion Lab

How to clean the garbage disposal:

Having a garbage disposal stinks! In-sink garbage disposals make cleaning dirty dishes a breeze, but they sure can cause a stink when not cleaned regularly. Read on to learn great how to clean garbage disposal tips that will keep your garbage disposal smelling fresh and running smoothly.

how to clean the garbage disposal

Why Does My Garbage Disposal Need Cleaning?

If the purpose of a garbage disposal is to clean food waste off of dirty dishes, why does it need cleaning? True, your garbage disposal is the cleaner of food waste, but surprisingly, it does not clean itself.

Parts and Pieces

Garbage disposals have many moving parts that effectively grind excess food and food waste into smaller particles. All of these moving parts have crevices where food particles get trapped and begin to rot.

When your garbage disposal traps the rotting food waste, it becomes a breeding ground for bacterial overgrowth. The odor is a result of chemicals being released as the bacteria break down the food, and from what the bacteria release themselves.

In order to keep your garbage disposal clean and free from odor, it is important to clean all of the components. The splash guard, also called the flange, is the pliable black flap around the opening of the drain. The splash guard traps food particles in the folds, especially on the drain side.

After going through the splash guard, the food enters the upper hopper. This is where the food sits until you turn the garbage disposal on. Once it is turned on, the food is finely ground by the grinder or shredder blades and emptied into the lower hopper.

From the lower hopper, the ground up food waste washes out into the discharge tube and drainpipe. So when cleaning the garbage disposal, it is important to clean the splash guard, the upper hopper, the blades, the lower hopper, and the drain pipes. Any of these places can harbor food particles that spoil and cause odor.


Bacteria aren’t the only critters that are fond of the moist food particles that accumulate in your garbage disposal. Mold also loves to grow down in the murky depths of your drain, leaving a bio-slime that clings to the walls of the hoppers, the drain pipes, and the splash guard.

This bio-slime has it’s own built-in protective coating that makes it resistant to being washed away with water alone. The protective coating also keeps it in place so that it can grow, becoming thicker sludge within the disposal components. This build-up contributes to clogged drains as well as a pungent odor.

Clogged Drains

Cleaning your garbage disposal regularly is the best way to prevent clogged drains. However, if your drain is moving slowly or is already clogged, it is important to clear the blockage before cleaning the disposal unit.

It is our goal at Xion Labs to keep you and our environment safe. Beware of drain cleaners found in most grocery stores that contain sodium hydroxide. They are very toxic to humans, pets, and the environment. If mixed with common household bleach, these drain cleaners can produce caustic fumes.

Xion Lab safer drain clog remover uses enzyme action rather than harsh chemicals to break down grease and bio-slime build-up, dissolving clogs safely and effectively. It is non-toxic, odorless, and is tough on all household clogs. Our industrial-strength, biodegradable drain clog remover is safe for your family and the environment.

Our products proudly carry the Terra Care Seal, ensuring they meet rigorous safety standards. They are made in the USA by a small family-owned company with a 100% money-back guarantee.

How to Clean the Garbage Disposal

Prevention is the key to keeping your garbage disposal smelling fresh and free from grease, food waste, and nasty slime that causes foul odors and clogs. When choosing a product to clean your garbage disposal, look for one that gets to the root of the problem rather than simply masking the smell.

The rubber splash guard can be cleaned with a cleaning rag or dish brush with hot soapy water. Pull the flange upward, gently scrubbing and rinsing the underneath side of the splash guard. Cleaning off trapped food and mold from this part is most effective done by hand, preventing it from becoming the cause of the odor.

Beyond the splash guard, you will need something more than hot soapy water to effectively clean deep down into the garbage disposal unit and pipes. Here are some tips to help you find the solution that will clean and maintain fresh-smelling clog-free drains.

Homemade Garbage Disposal Cleaners

There are several homemade options for garbage disposal cleaners. One such option consists of ice cubes and rock salt. Place two parts ice cubes followed by one part rock salt into your garbage disposal. While running cold water turn on the garbage disposal, leaving it on until the ice and rock salt are completely processed.

The broken chunks of ice and rock salt are thought to be abrasive enough to knock bacteria build-up off the sides of the hopper and drain. This might help in removing some of the odor-causing particles. However, it doesn’t necessarily neutralize the residual bacterial that might still be clinging tightly to the sides of your unit.

There is also the school of thought that one part baking soda followed by one part white vinegar is effective in cleaning garbage disposals. This is a combination that helps kill bacteria and mold, but the acid in vinegar can be damaging to the rubber splash guard and the plastic internal components of a garbage disposal.

It is important to maintain the integrity of the rubber seals and plastic components to keep your garbage disposal operating smoothly and free from leaks. It might be wise to use this solution sparingly. Be sure to rinse thoroughly if using this method.

What about lemon slices to freshen a garbage disposal? Yes, lemon slices will leave your garbage disposal smelling better for a while, but they don’t necessarily remove the bacteria and mold that causes odors. Plus, being a food item means lemons will still leave behind food particles that need to be dealt with.

Xion Lab Garbage Disposal Cleaner and Deodorizer

There is another option for cleaning your garbage disposal that is completely non-toxic and tackles odor head-on. By eliminating odor at its source, there is nothing left to mask. Xion Lab’s Garbage Disposal Cleaner and Deodorizer is biodegradable and free from any harmful ingredients.

We use plant-based ingredients and all-natural enzyme activity in Xion Lab’s Garbage Disposal Cleaner and Deodorizer. These ingredients and our technology makes it super tough on bacteria and mold that causes odors while being easy on your garbage disposal and the environment.

It isn’t filled with fragrances that mask odors. We have used advanced bio-linking technology in developing our drain cleaner. The cleaning and deodorizing gel links to the bacteria in the garbage disposal and drain and neutralizes the odor on a molecular level.

Then the enzymatic ingredients in the cleaner digests the bacteria and mold that has been neutralized. The digested matter easily washes away, leaving behind a clean and deodorized garbage disposal and drain.

With regular use, the Garbage Disposal Cleaner and Deodorizer creates a bio-film along the inside surfaces of the hoppers and drain pipes. The bio-film prevents grease and food particles from clinging to the sides. This reduces bacteria, mold, and bio-slime from accumulating, to begin with.

For you, this means a fresh smelling, clog-free drain. For us, it means our small family-owned business has achieved our goal of providing the best possible product that is safe and affordable.

How to Use Garbage Disposal Cleaner and Deodorizer

Xion Lab’s Garbage Disposal Cleaner and Deodorizer has about 16 full-strength uses per bottle. Regular use maximizes the enzymatic action, leaving a bio-film that prevents the build-up of odor-causing bacteria. Do not dilute or mix with any other cleaning product.

First use: Pour 4 ounces of cleaner and deodorizer down your garbage disposal. Cover drain, turn on your garbage disposal for two seconds only. Leave the drain covered overnight (6 to 8 hours). In the morning, uncover the drain and flush with hot water.

For odor control maintenance, pour 2 to 4 ounces of cleaner and deodorizer down your garbage disposal, let sit overnight (6-8 hours). In the morning flush with hot water. To activate the bio-film advantage, repeat this process every two to four weeks.

This product has earned the Terra Care Seal of approval, assuring its users that it is verified non-toxic and safe for the environment. We stand behind our products with our 100% money-back guarantee. We aren’t happy unless our customers are happy.

Family-Owned Business

Xion Labs is a small family business founded on the principles of providing industrial-strength products that are technologically advanced and safe for our consumers and the environment.

Our products are used in schools, hospitals, commercial buildings, and homes. They do what they are supposed to. We guarantee it!

To learn more about our products and how to clean garbage disposals effectively and safely, check out this page.

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