Your sinks garbage disposal does a lot of work and takes a ton of abuse. It does some of the dirty work after meals so you don’t have to. Many consider it one of their favorite appliances in the kitchen as it eliminates the need to put left-over food and scraps in the garbage to decompose, rot, smell and attract flies. That being the case, even the garbage disposal needs a little love now and then. Cleaning on occasion will help it run smoother, eliminate odors and even save money on repairs or total replacement.
Here are the steps to follow to keep your garbage disposal odorless and working properly throughout the year:
Before Anything, Cut The Power
We all know what a garbage disposal can do to your leftovers – it eliminates them! Although it may sound like a magic trick, a disappearing finger is nothing to joke about. According to a few sources, there are over 1,000 incidents a year that end in a visit to the emergency room at the expense of garbage disposals. Rule one is to always cut the power before performing any maintenance. The plug is typically located below the sink on the wall so be sure to always unplug before any action is taken.
Examine The Contents
The second step is to examine if there is anything located in the disposal by using a flashlight and a tool such as tongs or pliers. We know it’s tempting to stick your hand down there and feel around but remember, those blades are sharp and can cut skin easily if handled improperly. The goal is to remove any debris that may be left over or wrapped around the impellers. Remove any extra fibers or debris and ensure it’s clear before moving on.
Salt & Ice
Ice, water and rock salt should help to clean the blades of debris and buildup. Begin by putting as much ice in the disposal without it overflowing followed by a half cup of rock salt. Then, plug the appliance back in, turn the water on followed by the disposal and let it run for a minute or two. This will allow the salt to clean and breakup the gunk on the blades.
Baking Soda & Vinegar
The combination of baking soda and vinegar creates a powerful and potent solution, creating a fizzing reaction that kills bacteria and other germs such as E. coli and salmonella. Start by combining a half cup of both and pouring it down the drain, letting it sit and fizz for about 15-20 minutes. While waiting, create a paste out of the substances and using an old toothbrush, begin scrubbing around the entrance of the drain including the rubber flaps, inside and out, to remove any grime, bacteria or mildew.
Flush The System
The final step is to flush the system to remove any of the buildup that was removed during the previous steps. Start by plugging the drain and filling the sink with hot water. Add a bit of dish soap, remove the plug and turn the garbage disposal on until the water is drained.
These simple steps, performed occasional throughout the year should ensure that your disposal operates efficiently, stays clean and is clear of gunk and debris. If inclined, for a favorable scent, go ahead and throw some lemon peels in the disposal as a final step.