Effective Ways to Clean Your Food Waste Disposer 

 November 30, 2020

By  Xion Lab

One of the handiest appliances in which investment is a must for every household to make life easier is a food waste disposer. It is exclusively an American item that you would easily find installed in almost every home’s kitchen sink. Food waste disposers, also known as a garbage disposal, are among the most valuable and useful items for getting rid of unwanted leftovers, discarded peels of fruits and vegetables, and other expired food that needs to dispose of an immediate basis. Because of their excessive use and ease of functioning, sometimes this item tends to be taken for granted. The importance of a food waste disposer realized only when it becomes clogged or, in worse cases, stops working altogether.

Here in this blog, we have listed some of the most effective ways to explain how to clean your food waste disposer in the best possible way to prevent jams and smelly clogs and extend your life food waste disposal.

But before we mention the tips and ways to clean a disposer, here are some of the safety precautions that you need to follow first.

  • Before you take this object out, make sure you switch off the fuse through which power should supply to this disposal unit as a precautionary measure. It will ensure that the company does not turn on while you are in the middle of cleaning it, which could result in a severe injury or an accident. You can even unplug the unit from under the sink as an extra safety measure.
  • Never make the mistake of using your hands to clean the unit at any cost. Make use of the tools and equipment designed for this purpose. It includes a pair of tongs or pliers through which you can access the object and pull it out carefully without damaging the grinder if the view inside the disposer is not apparent use a flashlight.

Coming back to the ways, these are our top suggestions for different ways on how to clean your food waste disposer.

Clean the visible parts of the food waste disposal

To keep your disposal always clean and ready for use, you must keep cleaning those visible parts to you regularly. It is mainly the joint where the food waste disposer’s rim is attached to the sink basin. It is the area where it can be possible that small food particles and other forms of debris get stuck here. If not cleaned and taken out, these food particles trapped here would mold growth in this area.

To prevent this, take a scrub brush or a dish wand and slather a generous amount of dishwashing liquid or soap on it and rub it to make some foam. Now use this soapy scrub on the visible part of the garbage disposal and clean away all the debris that has formed around it.

Clean under the splash guard

Under the rim of the food waste disposer, a splash guard prevents the discarded food from splashing away during disposing of everywhere in the sink. Understandably, as the discarded food goes down the disposer, some get stuck in any of the corners of the splash guard.

To clean this portion of your food waste disposer, you need to take an old toothbrush and dip it in an antibacterial grease-cutting kitchen cleaner. With the help of another toothbrush, lift one corner of the splash guard and rinse off all the grime and curd formed under it. Once scrubbed properly, rinse it off by running some cold water. Repeat this cleaning process on every corner of the flap until it is spotless and rinsed.

Soak the sink

While you are using your garbage disposal, it always advised that you run the kitchen faucet as well above it. It helps the garbage disposal, and it’s under sink pipes to get rid of all bits and pieces of food that need to dispose of, which might get trapped in any corner of the line during the disposal process. There are chances that if this disposed of food is not wash away, it starts to decay in the pipes leading to a foul smell and odor coming out from the sink.

If you notice such a smell, then it is time that you give the housing and its pipes a thorough soak. For this, you need first to stop the drain of the sink and fill the basin with water about halfway. Add a teaspoon of dish wash liquid or soap. In case this is not available, use vinegar as a substitute. Now unplug the drain while turning on the food waste disposer at the same time. It propels the soapy water through the pipe under the sink and through the housing, rinsing off the hidden nooks and corners of it.

Dislodge slimy residue

Another quick way that explains to you how to clean your food waste disposer is the use of kosher salt in the cleaning process. This salt has such properties that make it an effective abrasive cleaner that can dislodge slimy and sticky residue effortlessly.

Take a large cup full of ice cubes and put them down in the food waste disposer. Switch on the garbage disposal, and as the ice begins to grind, start adding half a cup of kosher slight after every second. Combining these two ingredients will help smooth away the entire odor-causing residue and leave the cleaner as new to use.


To keep your food waste disposer clean and smelling fresh, use the peels of any citrus fruit or even the whole fruit itself. This fruit helps your drain stay clean and acts as a deodorizer, which leaves the kitchen with a fresh citrus scent. Some of the citrus fruits that can be used and are commonly available include lemon, lime, grapefruit, or orange.

The rough peels of this fruit help clean the blades, and the disposal walls of the unit and the oil released from its peels do a fantastic job in keeping the kitchen smell great.

Routine flush

To keep your disposer clean at all times, you must keep flushing it with hot water and prevent it from starting to smell bad. Disposers are those kitchen items that require active care and preventive measures to keep it working steadily.

A tip that you need to follow after every time you run the food waste disposer is to let the garbage disposal keep running even when all the food that needs to dispose of has ground away and turned on the hot water tap and let a thick stream of it run through it while it is on. Keep running the hot water for a minute, which is long enough to push particles further down and flow through the pipes.

This method is an effective one that helps reduce and remove odor, and you don’t even need to purchase any extra equipment for it.

Deodorized cleaning

One of the most effective methods out of all the ones that have mentioned above is this one. You can use this if you have tried all the above ways, but none became useful. For this method, you need to have two ingredients on hand; baking soda and vinegar.

First, you need to lift the splash guards, also known as the rubber flaps, and sprinkle one-half cup of baking soda into the drain opening of the food waste disposer. Ensure that the entire drain is filled with baking soda until there is no extra space left to add more. Now, take half-cup of vinegar and pour it slowly down the drain. Some bubbles or a foamy mixture may come to the surface. It shows that a chemical reaction has started to take place. Let the mixture sit there for almost one hour and then turn the disposal. At the same time, please turn on the cold water faucet and let it run through the disposal.

Vinegar, which has a natural bacteria killer’s properties, kills the bacteria, cleans the pipe’s hidden corners, and deodorizes the disposer on its way down. However, one crucial point that needs to keep in mind is to use this method once in a while as vinegar has an acidic nature and can damage the rubber elements inside the disposal unit.

Deep cleaning

If you still are not satisfied with your disposal’s cleanliness and your question about how to clean your food waste disposer is not answered, this is the ultimate way to be effective on your garbage disposer.

Deep cleaning your disposer involves using some cleaning agents and tools and equipment to disconnect the pipe. To start with the process, you need to turn on the hot water tap and let a thick stream of hot water run through the food waste disposer for about a minute. Turn off the tap and switch off the garbage disposal from underneath the sink.

To move towards the next step, you need a wrench to disconnect the pipe that leads from the food waste disposer underneath the sink. It is that portion of the disposer and its line that comes after the trap. To avoid water from going through the pipe while cleaning it attach the rubber test cap to its underside that leads from the disposal. You can also place a bucket beneath the line to collect any spills or runoff water.

Now run some warm water through the drain of the disposal until it reaches the gutter’s top. There is no need to fill up the whole or half of the sink basin; filling up the drain is sufficient. Take half a cup of powdered oxygen bleach and pour it into the drain filled with water and allow it to sit there for approximately an hour.

Once you see that enough time has passed and the bleach has soaked on the inner walls, carefully remove the rubber test cap and let this solution of water and chemical drain into the bucket that places under it. After all of it has drained, reconnect the pipe, and your garbage disposer is ready to be used again.

Prevention is the ultimate key.

No matter how many methods, tips, and ways experts of cleaning garbage disposers might suggest, it is always better to follow the age-old classic that prevention is better than cure. Ensure that you do not overuse your garbage disposer or start to dispose of all kinds of stuff in it that it cannot support.

You should avoid disposing of off fibrous vegetables and starchy foods like celery and potatoes in your food waste disposer as they have a high chance of getting stuck inside. Another preventive measure that you can make a routine to avoid clogging in the disposer is to let the disposer run for ten to twenty seconds long. You would not have to worry about how to clean your food waste disposal regularly. It is because allowing it to run for longer, even when the waste has disposed of, helps dispel persistent particles from within the pipes and drain.


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