Garbage disposals are a magical kitchen appliance that helps you get rid of unwanted food scraps in no time. Though these units are self cleaning, they require a little care now and then. This keeps them in a first-class condition and prevents them from releasing odor, clogging and will definitely improve its lifespan. You don’t want to be spending on a new garbage disposal unit when you can maintain your current one.
Ideally, your garbage disposal needs to be cleaned every week. But if you maintain it and monitor what goes into it, you could clean it once in 2-3 weeks. It always good to clean your garbage disposal if you are heading out of home for a few days. If not, it is highly likely for the sludge and debris in the machine to rot.
Now that you know how a garbage disposal unit works and why it needs to be cleaned, let’s see the different ways that you can use to clean your unit.
Your garbage disposal is not a substitute for your trash can. People tend to throw almost anything including non-biodegradable items into their units. If you throw in things that are not suitable for a garbage disposal unit, you will only have to spend more time cleaning it.
What you need: Tongs or pliers
Time: 15 minutes (approximately)
Flushing the garbage disposal with water can remove any loose grime or dirt that is stuck in the unit.
What you need: Dishwashing liquid
Time: 10 minutes
The combination of hot water with soap will break down the oils and grease that are in the unit. This is more effective than simply running water as it rinses the unit and cleans it up.
While hot water and soap removes loose grime, grinding ice cubes freezes the debris stuck to the impeller blades and forces out.
What you need: 2 trays of ice cubes
Time: 10 minutes
Not only will the ice clean the garbage disposal unit, it also sharpens the impeller blades.
Ice cubes with salt is used to remove tough sludge and debris that is stuck to the blades and other elements of the unit.
What you need: 2 cubes of ice cubes and 1 cup of rock salt/sea salt
Time: 7-8 minutes
The combination of ice and salt not only cleans the unit but it also removes any unpleasant odor that stems up from the garbage disposal.
Frozen vinegar serves as an alternative to ice cubes and salt.
What you need: Vinegar and ice tray
Time: 10 minutes (this does not include the time taken to freeze the vinegar)
The vinegar has the same effect as the ice cubes with salt.
Add on: You can also add lemon peels to the vinegar in the ice tray.
You can also clean your garbage disposal manually with a brush.
What you need: Soap, water, and an old toothbrush or scrub brush that is designed for garbage disposals
Time: 10 minutes
Lemon or lime is used as a cleaning agent.
What you need: 1 lemon or lime
Time: 10 minutes
This leaves your unit clean and smelling fresh.
Deep cleaning needs to be done once in 8 months. This is done to clean all the slime and grime that is has collected and hardened onto the insides of your pipes.
What you need: Rubber test cap with a stainless steel clamp, wrench, a bucket, and ½ a cup powdered oxygen bleach
Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
This cleaning can even be done once a year. However, the frequency depends on how well you maintain your garbage disposal.
Quite often your garbage disposal works just fine but gives out an unpleasant odor. Sometimes foul odor accompanies a clogged unit. Irrespective of what symptoms the unpleasant odor comes with, you need to get rid of it. It’s called ‘unpleasant odor’ for a reason.
Here are 6 do-it-yourself ways to eliminate unpleasant odor from your garbage disposal:
Baking soda and vinegar are a common homemade solution to remove unpleasant odor.
What you need: 1 cup white vinegar and ½ a cup baking soda
Time: 15 minutes (maximum)
Borax is a safe and natural cleaning agent that will clean your unit and remove foul odor
What you need: 3-4 tablespoons of Borax and boiling water
Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
This method takes time but it eliminates every trace of bad odor.
Citrus peels are another natural way to eliminate odor from your garbage disposal.
What you need: Peels of any citrus fruit. You can use lime, orange, lemon, grapefruit, anything citric.
Time: 15 minutes
This is the most common method used in households.
Bleach is very effective to clean germs and can quickly freshen up your drain. Although you need to be cautious, using a high concentration of bleach can harden grease and make it hard to remove it from the machine.
What you need: 1 tablespoon of liquid chlorine bleach and 1 gallon of water
Time: 15 minutes
This method works well as long as you don’t add excess bleach to the solution.
Just like the way mouthwash cleans your mouth, it can also clean your sink and remove any unpleasant odor.
What you need: ½ a cup mouthwash
Time: 8-10 minutes
Sometimes the insides of the rubber in the middle of the sink that connects to the garbage disposal collects food particles and causes smell.
What you need: Toothpaste and an old toothbrush
Time: 6-8 minutes
Just like every other appliance at your home, even your garbage disposal needs maintenance. If you maintain your unit and avoid putting unnecessary items in it, you won’t need to clean it very often. And when you do clean it, it won’t take much time. Maintaining your garbage disposal also prolongs the lifespan of your unit, which means that you don’t need to shell out $120 or maybe even more to buy a new unit. There are many ways to maintain your garbage disposal unit and avoid clogging it.
Only put biodegradable stuff into the garbage disposal. You have a trash can to put in all the non-biodegradable stuff. There are a few food items that are famous for causing trouble, avoid putting those in.
The table below clearly tells you what NOT to put into your garbage disposal.
What goes and what doesn’t go into your garbage disposal
|Food Type||Food Items||Reason|
|What doesn’t go inside||Fibrous food||Onion skins, corn husks, artichokes, hard seeds, shrimp shells, crab shells, unpopped popcorn kernels and celery stalks||They get tangled in the motor|
|Starchy food||Potato peels||The starch forms a thick paste that sticks to the blades|
|Expandable food||Pasta, rice and coffee grounds||These may expand inside the unit and clog the drains|
|What goes inside||Egg shells, small chicken bones, fish bones, small pieces of fruit||These help clean the garbage disposal|
The most common mistake that people make with a garbage disposal is by turning it off as soon as the grinding noises stop. The machine should be left on for at least 30-60 seconds after the grinding noise stops, while water is still running. This clears the small particles of food that are still in the unit and prevents it from clogging.
You should avoid pouring oil, grease or fat into the sink. It tends to accumulate in the unit and slows down the motor. It also lines your pipes and causes your drain to clog. To prevent this from happening, wipe off as much grease as you can from roasting tins and pans using a paper towel.
You can cut large pieces of fruit and vegetable (food) before throwing them into the garbage disposal. This will help the grinder process it faster and prevent food from getting stuck inside.
Despite maintaining your garbage disposal or any other home appliances, quite often one or the other appliance breaks down or requires repair at some point in time. If the appliances at your home are not new, the likelihood for them to need repairs is higher. This is where a home warranty policy comes into the picture. Moreover, a home warranty policy covers the cost of repairs and replacements of a range of home systems and appliances that break down due to regular wear and tear. The only expense that you will have to bear is the service charge or the deductible that ranges between $50 to $100, depending on the policy that you have taken. However, home warranty doesn’t cover repairs that are caused due to lack of maintenance, so that means that you will need to maintain your appliances from time to time. But before you invest in a home warranty policy, there are some thing that you need to know. Apart from that, it essential to select the right home warranty company for you, so make sure you read reviews about different companies before finalizing on one.
If you have any queries about home warranty policies or the items covered under it, our website offers you lots of information in the articles section. Or you could also use to the comments section as we are more than happy to help you out!