How to Clean a Smelly Garbage Disposal

Learn the best way to clean a garbage disposal, including how to clean the garbage disposal’s rubber flange.

Note: Garbage disposals have sharp blades that can be very dangerous. To avoid injury, it’s important to make sure your disposal is off and to be especially mindful of what you are doing when cleaning any part of this tool. It’s a good idea to unplug the appliance when cleaning around the drain or flange with your hands.

How to Clean a Smelly Garbage Disposal

To keep your garbage disposal from getting an odor, you should clean it thoroughly about once a month. Cleaning the disposal doesn’t require any cleaners fancier than lemons, rock salt and ice. The idea behind the below method is the ice and salt take care of the scrubbing action, while the citrus leaves a fresh scent behind.

You’ll need:

2 cups of ice
1 cup of rock salt
A quartered lemon

Fill the drain with the ice.
Pour the rock salt down the drain and over the ice cubes.
Turn on the cold water and run the disposal until all the ice has been rinsed away.
Leave the disposal and cold water running.
Carefully drop the lemon quarters in one at a time.
Once the fruit is gone turn off the disposal.
Let the cold water run for about 30 seconds before shutting it off.

How to Clean Garbage Disposal Rubber Flange

The rubber flange  should also be cleaned monthly. The flange is constantly in contact with food and grime, it can become discolored and hide bits of food.

You’ll need:

Dishwashing gloves
An old toothbrush
Dish soap
A bowl or small bucket

Make a mixture of hot soapy water in your bowl or small bucket.
Lift up one section of the splash guard at a time, and use the toothbrush and soapy water to scrub both the underside and top of the flaps.
Make sure you rinse the brush regularly so that you’re not just spreading slime around.
After you’ve cleaned the gunk off each section, rinse both sides of the splash guard well with hot water.

How to Maintain Your Garbage Disposal

It’s also important to know that certain items should never be placed in the disposal because they can cause damage to the blades or — worse yet —get stuck in the pipes and lead to expensive plumbing repairs.

As you can see, there’s not much to learning how to clean a smelly garbage disposal, though you do need to be very careful during the process.