Sunrise Specialty » How to Clean Your Garbage Disposal? (7 Easy Ways)

How to Clean Your Garbage Disposal? (7 Easy Ways)

In most cases, your garbage disposal will be highly efficient at removing food waste from your sink. The only condition you need to fulfill is to keep it clean to avoid developing of rotting food, growing mold, and the appearance of bad odor.

Therefore, prevention and regular maintenance are crucial for the right functioning of the entire system. I will list you reliable and straightforward ways of cleaning, which will prevent all the troubles you want to avoid or help you solve the problems once they occur. Let’s find a method that will work best in your household.

What Avoid to Put in Your Garbage Disposal

Always keep in mind that your garbage disposal is not a trash can. It is a place for biodegradable food waste disposal. Try to use your device correctly and take care of the type of trash putting inside.

That way, you will prevent it from getting dirty excessively and the occurrence of awful odor. Plus, you will save yourself a lot of time and effort necessary for degreasing this unit.

There are a few things you should never put into your garbage disposal, including:

Coffee grounds

Never pour coffee grounds down the sink. Never! It tends to harden and stick to the walls of your drains, and you will need to use high-efficiency drain cleaners to eliminate it from the system.

Instead, you can add this material to the compost pile. On the other hand, coffee grounds are an excellent fertilizer creating acidic environments for lush growth of your flowers and vegetables.



Always keep in mind that eggshells quickly stick to the sides of pipes because they contain the residue of the yolks inside them. As a result, you will have a problem with clogging and drainage. Plus, you will feel a horrible smell of rotten egg over time.

It is a better idea to take advantage of the fact that they contain a high level of calcium, which makes them an excellent fertilizer for your garden. Eggshells will also improve the acidity balance of the soil.

On the other hand, you can add some dried eggshells into the garbage disposal occasionally. Grinding them along with soft ingredients can significantly increase the efficient removing stuck up food waste.

Potato and banana peels

Potato and banana peels

Since garbage disposal can’t break down both potato and banana peels, they can cause a lot of problems with the regular working of your system and the entire drains.

As a result, you will get stuck with unpleasant clogging and foul odor coming from your system. It is a better and eco-friendly option to add these peels to your compost pile.


The most efficient way to prevent clogging and awful odor, coming from your garbage disposal, is to avoid adding grease, oil, or fat into the system.

They tend to accumulate in the pipes over time and cause slower working of the motor and poor chopping the thrown ingredients. If you want to avoid such inconvenience, it is enough to wipe off grease from pans with paper towels before rinsing.

Large pieces of food

Always cut larger food ingredients into smaller pieces before adding them to the garbage disposal. It is particularly crucial when throwing solid things like apples, watermelon bark, or quince, for example. That way, you will prevent them from becoming stuck in drains.

Fibrous materials

If you have fibrous materials, such as celery stalks, onion skins, artichokes, or corn husks, you should cut them into tiny pieces before throwing them into your garbage disposal. Otherwise, they may get tangled in the motor and damage the device. It is a better idea to add them to the compost pile instead.

Best Methods to Clean Your Garbage Disposal

1. Remove stuck objects manually

What you need

  • Pliers
  • Rubber gloves


If you notice a larger object stuck in your garbage disposal, you should remove it before start cleaning. Always turn off the fuse first to prevent it turns on while your hand is inside the drains. Remove the trapped object with pliers, but try not to damage the grinder.

2. Scrub debris with a scrub brush

Scrub debris with a scrub brush

What you need

  • Scrub brush or an old toothbrush
  • Water
  • Rubber gloves


Use a proper scrub brush or an old toothbrush to clean the inside of the garbage disposal manually. After scrubbing residual debris, you should rinse the system with cold water. That way, it will stay clean for an extended period.

3. Flush drains with water

What you need

  • Water
  • Dish soap


The best option is to let your garbage disposal works at least a few seconds after the grinding noise stops and clean it with cold water after every usage. Repeat rinsing after about 30 seconds. That way, you will remove all small particles from the system.

However, flushing the garbage disposal with cold water is everything you need in most cases, even when you forget to clean it each time. In fact, you can get rid of most debris stuck in the drain or clung to the walls if the water jet is strong enough.

If the system is too dirty, you should fill the sink with hot water to a level of approximately 2 to 4 inches (5 – 10 cm) and add dish soap in it.

Then pull out the plug, turn on the garbage disposal, and let the solution flush through it. Hot water is always a better option in such a situation since it can dissolve grease and help to remove rot grime from the drain.

4. Remove debris with a kitchen sponge

What you need

  • A kitchen sponges
  • Dish soap
  • Rubber gloves
  • White vinegar and baking soda (optional)


After turning off the power, you should use a sponge with an abrasive side. Apply dish soap to that side of the sponge and begin scrubbing under the baffle.

Rinse your sponge frequently during cleaning to remove all debris from all surfaces. Basically, that is everything you need to do to get the garbage disposal clean, but you can do more for a better result.

After scrubbing debris and rinsing the system with cold water, you can additionally clean the drain with an equal amount of white vinegar and baking soda. That way, you will make your garbage disposal fresh and fragrant.

5. Ice cubes and white vinegar or rock salt

Ice cubes and white vinegar or rock salt

What you need

  • Ice cubes
  • Coarse salt or white vinegar


Dropping the mix of ice cubes and coarse salt into your garbage from time to time is an excellent method to remove hardened debris attached to the drains. Add two cups of ice and one cup of rock salt into the system, turn it on, and run cold water afterward to rinse the mixture.

As an alternative, you can freeze water and white vinegar into the cubes and crush them in the garbage disposal. That way, you will get clean drains, better odor, and sharpen blades at the same time.

6. Clean the shredder ring

The shredder ring is a part of the garbage disposal responsible for crushing the waste. If you forget to maintain this ring properly, it will stop clearing debris efficiently. Therefore, most manufacturers recommend the specific regime of cleaning this part of the device.

For instance, adding ice cubes into the system will prevent the buildup of sticky grease and its collecting on the walls of the drains. For maximum effect, you should mix the ice cubes with a half cup of course salt to reduce the level of melting the ice during the process.

After half an hour, it is time to turn on the garbage disposal and remove all hardened grease from the drains. In the end, you need to flush the system and deodorize it if you wish.

7. Deodorize the garbage disposal

After cleaning the entire system thoroughly, you can deodorize it and prevent the occurrence of bad smells with a few products you have already had in your kitchen.

  • Diluted bleach solution

Dissolve one part of bleach in two parts warm water and pour the mix into the drains. After a minute, rinse the system with pure water.

  • Citrus peels

They are great ingredients to freshen smelly garbage disposal but keep in mind that they can’t clean your drains.

Grind small pieces of citrus peels and add them into the drains. You can also add several ice cubes to combine cleaning and deodorizing the system. Rinse them with cold water after a while.



Unfortunately, when you use your garbage disposal regularly, you may face with its clogging. One of the best ways to prevent this inconvenience is to run a lot of water every time you use the unit. If you do it before, during, and after putting food waste into it, there is a high possibility of using your device for a long time without disturbance.

This simple unit requires just periodic maintenance and proper use.  However, don’t panic if the problem occurs. Luckily, you have discovered all these effective methods to solve the issue of clogging and safely clean your garbage disposal by yourself if needed.