How to Clean Your Garbage Disposal and Keep it Smelling Fresh

Is there a mysterious odor taking over your kitchen? If you have an unpleasant smell that doesn’t seem to go away no matter how many times you mop the floor or clean out the fridge, your garbage disposal may be the culprit.

From leftover food to grimy grease, there’s a lot of debris that gets washed down the kitchen drain. And when it gets stuck along the pipes, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria and pesky critters or prevent your sink from draining properly.

If you’re starting to suspect that your garbage disposal could be the culprit, we have a few tips to help you unclog the drain and keep it smelling fresh.

Step One: Clean the Splash Guard

When you turn on your garbage disposal, it works to grind up your food scraps and flush them down your drain and out of your life forever.

However, sometimes little bits of food can get caught in the grinding chamber or build up on the splash guard.

To get started, you’ll want to turn the garbage disposal off and disconnect it from its power source, which may mean unplugging it if it’s connected to an outlet under the sink or turning off the electricity from the breaker box.

Start by cleaning the splash guard, or the rubber flange along the top of the drain that helps to prevent water and food waste from splashing out of the garbage disposal and acts as a sound muffler when you have it running.

Use an abrasive sponge or small brush and some dish soap to scrub away any gunk trapped in its grooves and crevices.

You may also be able to remove the splash guard and place it in the top rack of your dishwasher.

garbage-disposal-located-under-kitchen-sink

Step Two: The Grinder

Next, shine a flashlight into the disposal to check for any food blockages or utensils that may have gotten trapped. Use tongs or pliers to reach into the garbage disposal and carefully remove the blockage.

Although most garbage disposals don’t have sharp blades, you should avoid putting your hand inside unless necessary and only if the power is off.

After you’ve checked for blockages, pour a pot of boiling water into the garbage disposal, followed by half a cup of baking soda, a natural deodorizer.

Let it sit for half an hour before adding one cup of vinegar. The chemical reaction between these two household objects creates an inexpensive natural drain cleaner that can help to break up the fat, grease, or oil that can hold together a clog.

Wait three minutes and then pour another boiling pot of water down the drain, which can help to dislodge a stubborn clog.

Next, reinstall the splash guard and reconnect the garbage disposal to its power source.

Pour two cups of ice and one cup of either kosher or rock salt into the garbage disposal.

Pulse the garbage disposal a few times without any water running to help sharpen and clean the blades. Then, turn on the cold water tap and then turn the garbage disposal on until all of the ice cubes are gone.

Grounding up the ice can help to clear away any gunk that may be caught on the blades.

citrus-peels-disinfect-and-add-lovely-aroma

Step Three: Refresh

Flush the peel of your favorite citrus fruit down the drain with some cold water to keep your garbage disposal smelling great.

The oil from citrus fruits like oranges and lemons is a great way to keep your garbage disposal smelling fresh and can help to cut through any fat or grease build-up.

To prevent the peels from getting clogged in your garbage disposal, be sure to cut them into smaller pieces and avoid throwing in more than a cup of food waste at a time.

How Often Should You Clean Your Disposal?

Tucked away under the sink, garbage disposals often fall prey to being “out of sight, out of mind.” And although garbage disposals do a pretty great job at keeping themselves clean, this appliance needs a little regular TLC too.

Regular maintenance can help you keep your garbage disposal working and smelling great. Here are a few ways to keep your garbage disposal in great shape:

  • Don’t overload your garbage disposal. Avoid grinding more than about one cup of food waste at a time.
  • Avoid pouring grease into the garbage disposal.
  • Avoid using your garbage disposal to get rid of any food waste that can clog it in the long run, including fibrous vegetables, coffee grinds, and eggshells.

garbage-disposal-grinds-up-food-waste

How Hard Water Can Clog Your Garbage Disposal

When the minerals in hard water react with soap, they can create stubborn soap blockages that keep food and grease trapped in your garbage disposal. If you start to notice that your garbage disposal is being frequently clogged, hard water could be the culprit.

While baking soda and vinegar should be able to do the trick in the short term, these clogs may be doing permanent damage to your garbage disposal and other water using appliances.

Investing in a home water softening solution can help you prolong the lifespan of your garbage disposal and keep it smelling fresh. As an authorized dealer of Kinetico Water Softeners, our team is committed to helping our customers in Minnesota and Wisconsin find a water filtration system that meets their needs.

At Aquarius Water Conditioning, we believe every family deserves to have access to clean, clear, and great-tasting water, which is why we want to offer you a free water analysis to help you learn more about what’s in your water. If you’re concerned about the quality of your water supply, contact us today to get your complimentary water analysis.

John Reuter
John Reuter
1719011907
I was scheduled for Thursday appointment in the morning. After waiting ALL day Thursday, at 3:30 pm I was informed that the technition was not going to be coming that day, I rescheduled for Friday after 10:00 and had to wait until almost 12:00 (noon) for the technition to arrive. The technician took only about 15 minutes to complete the job. To add insult to injury, he then charged us $292.40 which I feel was (is) excessive.
Laura Wardell
Laura Wardell
1718985974
Jack O
Jack O
1718934864
Ethan was here today for our A/C check-up. He was very thorough and professional. Explained everything did an excellent job. Thanks
Arif Ali
Arif Ali
1718907329
Good communication, prompt reply to my inquiry.Professional, knowledgeable and courteous technician, Josiah, who came to the site to perform the work. Our heater was leaking. The root cause was identified and corrected immediately at the spot. Thank you.
Kent Toft
Kent Toft
1718901229
I use this business every time!!They are 10 stars great!!!!!!I can go on and onThey are the best!!!Riley is my main guyHe is polite, courteous,and very thorough!!He explains everything!!!When he us done everything is clean & perfectGGGRREAT guy. Compliment to your business and to himselfI will always go with Aquarius and ALWAYS WITH RILEYThank everyone at Aquarius!!!Kent and Kim Toft. Blaine,MN
David Campbell
David Campbell
1718892842
Very professional. Thank you!
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1718858125
This place was amazing. I called before 8 AM today and I was asked how they could make me smile today!! I thought I had the wrong number. Nope. I told them if they could get my central air working, I would smile. 😀Shortly after the call I received a text message with a brief bio about the technician Mike, with years of experience, stating he was on his way. If I wanted to track his location, I could click the link. Once Mike arrived it didn’t take him long to figure out what was going on with my central air unit. He described everything in detail about what was wrong with it and he took the time to answer several questions I had. Mike also cleaned the unit when he was done. I am very pleased with all aspects of this company and will definitely be using them again!
Mike (Just Mike)
Mike (Just Mike)
1718846047
Always a good experience!
David Tingstad
David Tingstad
1718834301
Nate and A. J. did some electrical work at my house. They were both knowledgeable and professional as well as personable. The finished work looks excellent. I would highly recommend them and Aquarius for any work you need done.
John Meyers
John Meyers
1718830702
Brandon was here to inspect our A/C. He did a wonderful job and suggested a couple items that might need replacing down the road. This was a very good experience and I highly recommend Aquarius.
Wendy Page
Wendy Page
1718821885
Ethan is an excellent tech and Aquarius associate. Very knowledgeable, very thorough, answered all of my questions and is respectful. Provided helpful HVAC information.
Ronald Kath
Ronald Kath
1718759245
Riley took time to explain all the services and answerd all my questions. He is very professional and knowledgeable. I feel my HVAC is working at top efficiency with the suggested preventive maintenance services. Those prevented maintenance services will help to avoid a future breakdown. He is personable. I will definitely be requesting Riley for my next scheduled service.
G ROSS
G ROSS
1718740363
Nicole Eggan
Nicole Eggan
1718736861
Everything went as planned. Installers were friendly and informative.
Ginger Murray
Ginger Murray
1718735936
We really like Aquarius' professional and friendly service. They always respond quickly when we have an issue, and we like being on their service plans for water, heating, and AC.
Debra Larsen
Debra Larsen
1718674439
Wow!! Talk about over and above in customer service! As a homeowner I highly recommend Aquarius. They were incredibly thorough and also took the time to do “extras” for me that I didn’t expect. They found and fixed problems that other companies would have walked away from. I have owned my home for 28 years and I am thrilled and just blown away by the level of excellence and customer service I received. I am going to use Aquarius for absolutely everything. Everything. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!
Alan Wetzel
Alan Wetzel
1718657730
Micah was thorough, efficient, and explained things while servicing the water heater. Also he is a pleasant person to be with during the service call.
Ben Nelson
Ben Nelson
1718647531
Great experience. Thanks for getting our A/C back on so quickly.
Terry Bilse -Kraft
Terry Bilse -Kraft
1718637426
Mike was very professional, polite and did a very good job of letting me know the condition of our AC unit.
Cherie. Skildum
Cherie. Skildum
1718633975
While the plumber was the nicest guy, I truly felt that the service was very slow. Installing 2 faucets and a shower head and simple control should never take 4 1/2 hours!! And our plumbing was up to code! A pretty big bill for a little work.
Chuck
Chuck
1718544944
Nick is awesome…figured out the recurring issue instantly. I can’t thank him enough for getting us up and running promptly and efficiently. Super positive attitude even after a long day, would request him for any future work.
Bill Sherck
Bill Sherck
1718471827
AC not working and Nicholas got to us on the weekend and problem-solved the blown fuses. No charge as warranty work. Professional. Thank goodness before excessive heat warbing! Thanks Aquarius!
Pat Alexander
Pat Alexander
1718405710
The most thorough AC check up I have EVER had in the 18 years I have owned my house. And I get AC and furnace check up done EVERY year.
Ileana Essig
Ileana Essig
1718398249
Ethan was friendly and very informative. When he arrived, I made it clear that I was not interested in additional services, just the tuneup/inspection of my HVAC system. He went over the results and answered my questions with thorough explanations without trying to upsell me via a list of ’recommendations’, which I sincerely appreciated.
Richard Pierson
Richard Pierson
1718388233
Michael Brandt
Michael Brandt
1718382329
Nick and Marcus were knowledgeable, efficient, and friendly. Great service call.
Nathan McCauley
Nathan McCauley
1718325023
Ethan did a great job servicing our A/C unit and went above and beyond the call of duty by removing the mice that had taken up residence in the unit.Thank you.
LA Paul
LA Paul
1718317846
Nicholas and Marcus went over everything in detail and explained what should be prioritized. Even tolerated the cat that wanted to supervise their work. Great employees for Aquarius, always responsive and professional. Ended up scheduling another appointment for some electrical repair. Great company to work with.
John Stiehl
John Stiehl
1718316855
Anson MacFarlane
Anson MacFarlane
1718314204
Great service!
Joel DeMarais
Joel DeMarais
1718222835
Completely satisfied with the work Chris, Nick and Matt did installing a new Furnace and A/C system. They were very thorough, courteous and professional!
Ted ALLISON
Ted ALLISON
1718216675
Raymond Cruz
Raymond Cruz
1718192723
RayVery satisfied and impressed!Thanks to Travis, David, Adam & EricFriendly, professional and knowledgeableThey arrived explained what was going to happen and kept me updated on the process.Answered my many questions.As they finished cleaning everything up. They again insured that I had no other questions before leaving.GREAT JOB!!
Patty George
Patty George
1718150859
Brandon was great! He gave great advice, had attention to details, was helpful and trustworthy. I love that I can be in a service program with Aquarius to help me remember the updates and cleanings during the year, especially when I have too many things to remember to do. ☺️
Bryce Chu
Bryce Chu
1718148665
Nick and his partner were incredibly thorough in their inspection of my AC and furnace unit. They clearly pointed out areas of concern as well as what working properly both inside and outside. They presented clear options for repair or intervention. I felt was given all the information I needed and had all my questions answered in simple direct language that most laymen unfamiliar with jargon could understand. Highly recommend.
Dale and Carol Tilden
Dale and Carol Tilden
1718131763
Aquarius takes excellent care of my water softening and heating as well as my furnace and air conditioning systems. Also just had a new electric panel installed (needed updating).
Debra Klejeski
Debra Klejeski
1718055650
Jon answered our questions and explained everything on the checklist. He was very professional and courteous!
Jeff Peterson
Jeff Peterson
1718055086
Wally Lee
Wally Lee
1718044949
Brandon did a great job for us with our A/C general maintenance check. Very knowledgeable, and was professional and efficient.
Joe Capistrant
Joe Capistrant
1718042522
Nate is wonderful. Knows his stuff. Resolved a troublesome problem. Very pleasant, enjoyable fellow.
Cindy Rae Dainsberg
Cindy Rae Dainsberg
1718034743
Brandon was exceptional. Professional. Knowledgeable. Efficient. Kind. Caring. Remembers the client from previous visits. An excellent example of what Customer Service should be to keep customers coming back.
Gary Smith
Gary Smith
1718030176
Excellent technician. Nick is an outstanding young man and very knowledgeable. I felt like he was giving me an honest assessment of my system.
mary bond
mary bond
1717801266
Our water heater went out on Fri evening. We called Aquarius early Sat morning and they said earliest they could get out was Mon. On Sun I received a text confirming our Mon appointment but on Mon morning they called and said the earliest they could get to us was the following week !We should be without hot water till then ? We are not a new customer…. 5 months previously we had a new furnace and air conditioner installed at quite an expense. I am appalled at their service or rather lack there of ! As an established customer they felt waiting approximately 10days without water was acceptable Bad, Bad, Bad !Two weeks later…The air conditioner Aquarius installed in Dec failed to cool when we turned it on on our 1st warm days. After the poor experience I had had with them I didn’t want to deal with them again but since it was under warranty I had to. We were told we would have a technician out Wed morning. After waiting at home all day they called and canceled at 4pm. We were rescheduled for Fri morning. We had several calls during the day with updates At 5:22 pm we received a cal the tech would be here at 6pm. We cancelled our dinner reservation and are awaiting his arrival.I realize our air conditioning is not an emergency but we have spent 2days waiting for our scheduled service. This is in addition to the 10days they wanted us to wait for a new water heater(which I do think is an emergency) I feel bad for the tech who I’m sure has had a long day and must now come at 6 on a Fri evening. Once again I repeat Aquarius has failed us again !!
Todd Schull
Todd Schull
1717795955
Riley was the tech that performed our membership maintenance check-up. He did an outstanding job explaining what was included in the maintenance check-up. After his inspection, he was very detailed, using pictures, to help describe what he found and he made recommendations on what should be addressed now and what could wait until our next membership maintenance check-up. He was very thorough doing the repairs, cleaning impeccably both our furnace and air conditioner. We are going to request Riley for all our member maintenance check-ups going forward.
Gary Winkel
Gary Winkel
1717786300
John Keller
John Keller
1717778469
Gordy replaced my lawn faucet once it was clear that it could not be repaired. He explained the problem and the process to fix it in a clear and professional manner. The cost were what I expected for such a job.
Robert McDivitt
Robert McDivitt
1717771730
Great service from Ethan. Very helpful and professional.
Frank Potocnik
Frank Potocnik
1717721504
Service Tech Nick was great. Thank you
Anthony Mielzarek
Anthony Mielzarek
1717713912
Riley is always a professional when coming to the house for HVAC services. He is always a pleasure to deal with! Even my dogs like him!
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