How To Clean Your Garbage Disposal

Staff Writer
Baystateparent Magazine

Does your kitchen have a “funny” smell lately? Do you notice it when you are standing next to your sink? That smell could be a buildup of food particles rotting in your garbage disposal and pipes. No one ever thinks about cleaning the garbage disposal, yet if you don’t, it will start to smell. Bacteria and mold love the dark, moist conditions found in your disposal. Here are a few different ways to clean your kitchen disposal and pipes.

Ice cubes — Place a few ice cubes inside the disposal to remove the buildup on the disposal blades. The ice will sound like it’s hurting the disposal, but it’s just removing the buildup.

Frozen lemons peels — Instead of throwing away your lemon peels, save them, and pop them into the freezer. Once they are frozen you can grind them up in the disposal. They will work to remove buildup and leave a nice scent. 

Baking soda and vinegar — Once a month, deep clean the disposal. A few simple ingredients will do a great job. Place two tablespoons of baking soda into the disposal. Add a cup of white vinegar and let it work for 10 minutes. Then flush the disposal with boiling hot water. When you combine the lifting properties of baking soda and the acidity of the white vinegar, you will be cleaning your disposal naturally. 

Simple soap and water — Occasionally, you could use a dish brush to clean the buildup inside the disposal. Never put your hand down into the disposal, and always make sure the electricity is off. Just place a few drops of dish detergent on dish brush and give it a good scrub. Flush the disposal with very hot water.

Lemons and salt — A great way to freshen the disposal is to cut up a lemon into 1-inch pieces and sprinkle them with salt. Grind them up in the disposal and your entire kitchen will smell wonderful.

Hydrogen peroxide to disinfect — One way to disinfect your disposal is to pour hydrogen peroxide inside to kill the bacteria. Hydrogen peroxide is perfect for getting rid of bacteria, and it’s gentle to your pipes and septic system.

Boiling water — A great habit is to pour boiling water into the garbage disposal. Grease can build up on the blades and further down the drain pipe. By pouring boiling water down the drain, you’ll remove some of the buildup.

Massachusetts mom Leslie Reichert is known as the Green Cleaning Coach and is aiming to change the world — “one spray bottle at a time.” A national lecturer and author of The Joy Of Green Cleaning, you can find her at, on Facebook (GreenCleaningCoach), Twitter (@GreenCleanCoach), and Pinterest (cleaningcoach).