Skip Navigation

How to Clean a Garbage Disposal

The scent of a recently cleaned kitchen is refreshing and satisfying, so you want to keep it that way by removing any unpleasant odors immediately. Whether you just moved into a home or you're noticing a moldy garbage disposal smell coming from the sink in your kitchen, there are several approaches you can take to remove the stench.

Be cautious when cleaning the garbage disposal

Turn off the garbage disposal by shutting off the fuse for that area of the kitchen when you clean the disposal. Even with the power off, do not put your hand inside the garbage disposal. The sharp blades and mechanical devices are dangerous, and the lack of visibility makes them even more hazardous. Instead, use tongs or other long tools that can reach into the machine for you.


Remove debris with tongs

If there are any excess pieces of food, broken glassware or other debris in your garbage disposal, they could be causing a moldy smell. Use a long pair of tongs to remove larger items from the base of the disposal.






Brush the edges of the disposal with vinegar

Once you've removed large pieces of debris from your garbage disposal, you'll want to clean the interior edges. Use a bottle brush and vinegar to scrub the inside of the machine.




Combine vinegar and baking soda to deodorize a smelly garbage disposal

Start by pouring about ½ cup baking soda into the disposal, and then follow up with 1 cup of vinegar. Let the two products sit in the disposal for a few minutes to clear possible mold and smelly residue completely. Finish the process by running water for a few minutes to remove the mixture from the disposal.





Use ice and salt to clean the garbage disposal blades

In order to clean the blades without damaging them, combine ice and rock salt in a 2-to-1 ratio to remove any debris stuck to the grinding mechanisms. Power on the disposal, and then run cold water down the sink drain, letting the garbage disposal grind up the ice mixture for about ten seconds. Avoid using hot water to rinse off the blades, as it can liquefy stuck-on grease and push the oils that could solidify further down the pipeline. Hot water also can melt the ice you're using to clean the disposal.





Freshen garbage disposal odors with citrus fruits

When you have finished cleaning the garbage disposal, use a few small citrus peels to refresh your kitchen with a pleasant orange, lemon or lime scent. Place two or three small pieces of peels in the disposal and run water as you turn the power on. The oils in the peels will emit a fresh and clean smell.