While you may not think of it in the same ways necessarily, your home’s garbage disposal is absolutely part of your plumbing system – and requires care just like other elements of this system. In particular, a simple task homeowners can attend to on a regular basis is cleaning their garbage disposal, but many homeowners aren’t sure how to do this or how often it should be done.
At Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric, we’re proud to offer numerous residential plumbing services and areas of assistance, including with basic maintenance and cleaning of any important plumbing component. We’ve helped clients with a variety of garbage disposal needs, including those who are wondering about simple upkeep and cleaning. Here’s a primer on how often this should be done, the equipment you’ll need, and a couple different well-known methods for DIY cleaning on your home’s garbage disposal.
First and foremost, how often should a garbage disposal be cleaned anyway? This is a tougher question than you might think to answer, in large part because part of a garbage disposal’s basic operation involves self-cleaning – by chopping up food and other particles, the disposal itself prevents too many buildups or other issues from taking place.
That said, some problems may develop over time. For instance, a form of slime may be found on the areas that are not involved in the grinding action of the disposal, such as underneath the rubber drain baffle and on the smooth slope at the top of the grinding chamber. If you use the disposal regularly, we recommend cleaning these areas roughly once a week, then deep cleaning once every few months.
Here are all the items you’ll either definitely or potentially need for a basic DIY garbage disposal cleaning:
First off, we’ll detail how to clean your garbage disposal using nothing but the simple materials above, primarily your dish sponge. This is usually considered the simplest method, and the one you should take as your primary cleaning method for weekly or standard cleaning. Here are the basic steps:
Now, for general weekly cleaning needs, you can stop after you’ve finished these three steps. However, for deeper or periodic cleanings, there are a couple additions you can make to this process that will not only keep the disposal clean, but will also remove odors, clean the drainpipe and perform a more comprehensive cleanup overall.
There are two such methods, described in our next two sections.
This method involves two simple household items that you’ll usually have around. It follows the steps above, with basic phases that go as follows:
If you prefer it, you can use ice and vinegar or rock salt for this cleaning process instead. Here’s how to do it:
If you’ve tried the above methods and you’re still dealing with poor smells coming from the garbage disposal, bleach should be your next resource. Combine one part bleach with two parts warm water (never using more than one-third cup of bleach total), then wear gloves and pour this solution into the drain. Then run hot water down it for several seconds.
For more on how to clean and maintain your garbage disposal, or to learn about any of our plumbing or HVAC services, speak to the staff at Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric today.