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7 tricks for cleaning your garbage disposal

Does your garbage disposal ever get a case of bad breath? As much as I hate to admit it mine does. Here are my 7 best tricks for keeping a clean, bug-free and sweet-smelling garbage disposal.

1. Run garbage disposal longer than you think you need to

Keep the disposal running until after you hear a change in the grinding noise. If you barely flick the disposal on and off you will accumulate a lot of yucky stuff that turns stinky and attracts unwanted bugs and bacteria growth.

2. Rinse with hot water

This helps degrease the inside of the disposal.

3. Use a scrub brush

The underside of the dishwasher rubber gasket can get gunky and gross. Use a scrub brush to get underneath into hard to reach places. If you have not done this before, you will be appalled at what turns up on your scrub brush. Do this at least once a week.

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4. Clean with salt and ice

A plumber friend of mine once told me that ice is your garbage disposal's best friend. Get in the habit of routinely chucking in a couple handfuls of ice and grinding them down. If you want to get fancy add a cup of rock salt.

5. Clean with baking soda and white vinegar

Put a half cup of baking soda in the disposal and sprinkle with a cup of white vinegar. Let sit for 10 minutes and flush with hot water and run disposal. Did you know vinegar effectively kills surface mold just like bleach?

6. Freshen up with citrus rind

Toss a piece of citrus rind into your disposal. Just remember to run the disposal until the rind is completely ground up. I cook with a lot of fresh lemon and limes, so I routinely toss in a spent citrus half after I juice it. Your disposal will smell great immediately.

7. Flush with diluted bleach

Bleach is my least favorite method. Bleach manufacturing is hard on the environment, will corrode stainless steel, and will emit toxic gases and even explode if mixed with ammonia-based cleaning products. And of course, a small dropful on your clothes or kitchen towels will ruin them.


Those are the cons to using bleach, but there are some pros.  Diluted bleach effectively kills bacteria, viruses and surface mold.  There are different opinions on what constitutes "diluted." Some recommend as little as  1 T bleach to a gallon of hot water, while others recommend 10% solutions. To clean your disposal with diluted bleach, plug the sink with a stopper and fill with 1 gallon of hot water. Add 1 T to 10% bleach and remove the plug while running the disposal.

What is your favorite method of cleaning your disposal?



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