Cleaning a garbage disposal will prevent foul odors, remove food debris, and maintain its proper functioning. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to clean a garbage disposal effectively.

If you are not as handy Javelin Drain Deodorizer offers a hands off approach to clean a garbage disposal. It is an expanding foam based drain cleaner that will liquify all fats, grease and food particles stuck in the garbage disposal

Materials Needed:

  1. Baking soda
  2. White vinegar
  3. Ice cubes
  4. Lemon or citrus peels (optional)
  5. Long-handled brush or scrubber
  6. Tongs or pliers (for safety)

Step by Step Instructions On How To Clean a Garbage Disposal

  1. Turn off the power: When starting the cleaning process, ensure that the garbage disposal is switched off. This is done by unplugging it from the power source or turning off the circuit breaker that supplies electricity to the disposal.
  2. Remove visible debris: Use tongs or pliers to remove any large or visible food debris that may be stuck in the disposal. Be cautious and avoid putting your hand directly into the disposal.
  3. Create a cleaning mixture: Pour about half a cup of baking soda into the garbage disposal. Baking soda helps to neutralize odors and acts as a gentle abrasive for cleaning.
  4. Add vinegar: Next, pour half a cup of white vinegar into the disposal on top of the baking soda. The vinegar will react with the baking soda, creating a fizzy reaction that helps break down grease and grime.
  5. Let it sit: Allow the mixture of baking soda and vinegar to sit in the garbage disposal for about 5-10 minutes to work its cleaning magic.
  6. Scrub the disposal: While waiting, use a long-handled brush or scrubber to clean the rubber flaps or splash guard around the opening of the disposal. This is where food particles and residue tend to accumulate.
  7. Flush with cold water: When the waiting period is over, turn on cold water and run it through the disposal for about a minute. This helps to flush away any loosened debris and the cleaning mixture.
  8. Ice cubes: Next drop a few ice cubes into the disposal and turn it on. The ice cubes help to dislodge and remove any stubborn buildup from the blades and walls of the disposal.
  9. Optional: Citrus peels: For a fresh scent, you can add a few citrus peels (such as lemon, lime, or orange) into the disposal and run it again. The natural oils in the peels will help deodorize the disposal.
  10. Final rinse: Run cold water through the garbage disposal for another minute to ensure all the cleaning mixture, debris, and odors are thoroughly flushed away.
  11. Regular maintenance: To prevent future odors and buildup again, consider regularly cleaning your garbage disposal by repeating the steps above every 1-2 weeks or as needed.

Finally by following these steps, you will effectively clean your garbage disposal and keep it smelling fresh and functioning properly. Again, remember to prioritize safety by always turning off the power before cleaning and avoiding putting your hand directly into the disposal.

What Not to Put In a Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals are convenient appliances that can help dispose of small food scraps. There are certain items you should never throw down a garbage disposal. Placing the wrong items into the disposal can damage the appliance. Or clog the drain and cause other plumbing issues. Here are some things you should avoid throwing down a garbage disposal:

  1. Grease and fats: Pouring grease, cooking oil, or fatty substances down the disposal can lead to clogs. These substances can solidify in the pipes, causing blockages and potentially damaging the disposal.
  2. Bones and pits: Garbage disposals are not designed to handle hard items. Bones, fruit pits, or large seeds can damage the disposal blades and motor.
  3. Fibrous and stringy foods: Foods with fibrous textures, such as celery, corn husks, onion skins, and artichokes, can wrap around the disposal’s blades and cause clogs.
  4. Eggshells: The thin, membrane-like layer inside eggshells can stick to the disposal blades and create a pasty mess.
  5. Coffee grounds: Coffee grounds can accumulate and create a sludgy mixture that may clog the drain over time.
  6. Starchy foods: Foods like pasta, rice, and potato peels can expand with water and lead to drain blockages.
  7. Fruit stickers: The adhesive on fruit stickers can cause clogs and damage the disposal.
  8. Non-food items: Avoid putting any non-food items, plastic, metal, glass, or other objects into the garbage disposal.
  9. Bleach and harsh chemicals: Harsh chemicals like bleach can damage the disposal’s components and harm the environment when washed down the drain.
  10. Large quantities of food: Dispose of large food quantities in the trash or compost, not in the garbage disposal, to avoid overwhelming the system.

To keep your garbage disposal in good working condition and prevent clogs. In addition always run cold water while using the disposal. Finally avoid stuffing large amounts of food waste down it at once.


1. Why is it important to clean a garbage disposal?
Cleaning a garbage disposal helps prevent foul odors, removes food debris, and maintains proper functioning. Neglecting cleaning can lead to unpleasant smells, blockages, and potential damage to the appliance.

2. What materials do I need to clean a garbage disposal effectively?
You will need baking soda, white vinegar, ice cubes, lemon or citrus peels (optional), a long-handled brush or scrubber, and tongs or pliers for safety.

3. How do I clean a garbage disposal?
Follow these step-by-step instructions:

  • Turn off the power to the garbage disposal. Remove visible debris using tongs or pliers.
  • Create a cleaning mixture of baking soda and vinegar. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
  • Scrub the disposal and its rubber flaps or splash guard. Flush with cold water.
  • Use ice cubes to dislodge stubborn buildup.
  • Optionally, add citrus peels for a fresh scent. Perform a final rinse with cold water.

4. Are there any safety precautions to keep in mind?
Always turn off the power before cleaning and avoid putting your hand directly into the disposal to prevent accidents.

5. How often should I clean my garbage disposal?
It’s recommended to clean your garbage disposal every 1-2 weeks or as needed to prevent odors and buildup.

6. What should I avoid putting into a garbage disposal?
Avoid putting grease and fats, bones and pits and stringy foods, eggshells, coffee grounds, non-food items, bleach, harsh chemicals, and large quantities of food into the disposal. These items can damage the appliance or cause clogs.

7. What additional tips can help maintain a garbage disposal?
Always run cold water while using the disposal. Avoid stuffing large amounts of food waste down it at once to prevent overwhelming the system and potential clogs.