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How to Properly Maintain Your Garbage Disposal

How to Properly Maintain Your Garbage Disposal

Your garbage disposal can do an immense amount for you, but proper care must be taken in its use and maintenance. Avoid placing food scraps that could damage or clog the appliance or pipes – such as banana skins, corn husks and eggshells – into it as these could damage it or create blockages in its operation.

Cleaning the rubber splash guard (which typically has gunk-covered underside) with dish soap should help to eliminate grease buildup. Avoid commercial garbage disposal cleaners like bleach as these could potentially harm blades.

Clean the Splash Guard

Though garbage disposals are invaluable appliances in keeping kitchen waste out of landfills, they can get dirty under the sink over time. Particularly its splash guard and drain pipe can quickly become breeding grounds for bacteria; luckily they’re relatively straightforward to keep clean if done regularly.

First, ensure your disposal unit is completely off, either via its main panel or unplugging from an electrical outlet.

Next, use a toothbrush to scrub both rubber flanges on your splash guard using hot soapy water as rinse solution.
Cleaning out the drain pipe of your garbage disposal is also an ideal opportunity to prevent unpleasant odors from building up in it.

To do so, switch off power to it before pouring half a cup of baking soda followed by one full cup of vinegar down its drain – this fizzy combination will break down food scraps while eliminating unpleasant scents.

If you want to give your garbage disposal a fresh scent, try grinding up some citrus peels. Citrus helps neutralize odors while the peels provide additional scrubbing capabilities.

Make sure to regularly inspect the neck of the disposal unit for food particles that might have become lodged and decayed, particularly fibrous foods like celery stalks, corn husks and onion skins that could wrap themselves around blades causing serious complications.

For maximum effectiveness when dropping large items down the drain. always cut large food into small pieces before dropping down.
If even regular cleaning and monitoring don’t keep your garbage disposal smelling fresh and running smoothly, professional help from Discount Plumbers might be necessary. Our team can assist with various plumbing repair issues like clogged drains or malfunctioning motors.

Simply give us a call – we are more than happy to assist!

Clean the Blades

Garbage disposals perform an essential service by grinding up food scraps into fine particles that travel down to drainpipes for disposal.

Unfortunately, their internal walls and drainpipe can sometimes become coated with sticky slime that causes foul odors, clogs, or other problems – this buildup doesn’t take long or effort to eliminate. Simply follow these three easy steps!

Before beginning any maintenance or repairs on a garbage disposal, ensure it has been unplugged and turned off before beginning any cleaning or repair tasks.

To protect against accidental motor or component damage during repair work, referring to the owner’s manual is key in order to understand which tasks can safely be carried out by an end user.

Users should exercise care when placing items into their garbage disposal. Avoid starchy foods like potato peels and rice as well as stringy or fibrous items like corn husks and banana peels which could clog up drainpipes, coffee grounds and fat.

Citrus peels, however, can actually help clean and freshen their disposal by sharpening blades and killing any bacteria which cause foul odors.

Following every use, it is best to run cold water through your disposal unit in order to protect its blades and flush away any food particles that may have become lodged in it or along the sides of its drainpipe. A few ice cubes may also help sharpen and clean its blades while helping eliminate bad smells from it.

Once or twice annually it’s wise to perform a more in-depth cleaning of the garbage disposal by disassembling its splash guard and running a mixture of baking soda and vinegar through its drain opening into the disposal. The acidity from vinegar will break down food debris that remains, while baking soda will scrub walls and drainpipe inside while killing off odor-causing bacteria.

This simple procedure is far more effective than harsh chemical cleaners which could clog drainpipes or destroy key parts of the unit.

Clean the Drain Pipe

Your disposal’s drain pipe can become an easily-clogged zone. Without the appropriate tools or knowledge, attempting to unclog this drain may prove futile; to begin unplugging it and using a flashlight to detect what may be stuck down there is crucial. Remember, disposing of hazardous materials without taking proper precautions is highly dangerous and could cause irreparable damage to both yourself and the machine itself.

To prevent future issues, it’s a smart idea to regularly flush your pipe with natural cleaners like baking soda and vinegar. Such natural cleaners offer similar unclogging power as harsh chemical drain cleaners while being gentler on plastic components – although prolonged chemical drain cleaner use could actually degrade them over time.

After clearing the clog is out of the way, it is recommended to flush your sink and disposal with cold water to help prevent fat from condensing into blades and interior of your disposal. Furthermore, running cold water after each use of your disposal will keep it lubricated and free from food residue build-up.

Maintain a cleaner disposal by adding regular ice cubes. This will keep the unit cool and reduce odors. In addition, periodically using generic or specialty degreasers on your disposal is also beneficial; these will prevent too much grease buildup that prevents proper functioning of the unit.

Whenever your garbage disposal starts smelling offensive, that is a sure sign it needs cleaning. Following these steps should eliminate any foul odors and keep it running smoothly for years. If you find that other methods don’t seem to work or you have a particularly stubborn clog that won’t shift after using these solutions, consulting with a professional may save both money and headaches by calling one out instead.

A quick phone call could save a lot of money and time in repairs.

Don’t Use Drain Cleaners

A garbage disposal can be invaluable when it comes to disposing of food scraps and reducing trash production. But when not maintained correctly, its under-sink workhorse can become an annoyance that leads to smelly drains clogging up quickly – leading to repairs or replacement costs if the unit needs repair or replacement in the near future.

Liquid fats, oils and grease are the top causes of garbage disposal clogs. These substances can form a thick waxy substance that prevents waste flow into the drain pipe from the disposal. Coffee grounds also pose a threat when rinsed down the drain; inorganic materials like paper and plastic waste may clog pipes when flushed through.

Fibrous foods that could harm a garbage disposal include celery stalks, corn husks and onion skins; these items can get caught up in the blades and stop working properly. Bones may also damage them while eggshells should never go in this type of machine – these should all be placed in a trash can instead of being sent down the drain.

Use cold water when using the disposal to help flush away food debris and prevent it from getting trapped inside of either it or your drain pipe. Hot water actually does more harm than good when it comes to clogs as its heat causes grease build-up in pipes; using cold water instead allows it to wash away more efficiently.

Be prepared for any potential clogs in your garbage disposal with a plunger at hand, using flashlight to check what may have gotten caught, then positioning the plunger over the drain hole and plunging. Plunging may sometimes unclog it enough so you can remove it manually; if this method doesn’t work, professional assistance from a plumber should be sought immediately.


These DIY tips can help you maintain your garbage disposal if you don’t have any serious issues with it. However, fixing or replacing on can be a daunting task if you’re not skilled or have the proper tools.

That’s where Discount Plumbers comes to the rescue. Our licensed & professionally trained technicians can do it for you. Give us a call today or contact us here via our webform. 

We are located in the Minneapolis/St. Paul however, we service 65 surrounding metro-areas. We have a plumber near you and available every day of the week. We look forward to servicing you soon!


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