How to Clean Your Garbage Disposal

The garbage disposal puts up with a lot of abuse in its day-to-day life. Taking care of it (and not putting anything down it that doesn’t belong!) is a key way to keep your garbage disposal chugging along for a long time yet to come. The first step of that? Keep it clean! Here’s how to clean your garbage disposal!

Cleaning your garbage disposal isn’t just to keep it working right, though that’s a big part of it. It will also help remove and prevent any foul odors from developing in the first place! If your sink is giving off a brutal aroma, guess what? It’s time.

Here’s what you’ll need!


  • Sink Stopper
  • Rubber gloves (if you want)
  • Dish soap
  • Kitchen sponge with an abrasive side

Additional Cleaning Options

  • 1/2 cup baking soda 
  • 1/2 to 1 cup vinegar 
  • Ice
  • 1 cup rock salt
  • 1/3 cup bleach solution
  • Citrus peels 

Does that list confuse you? Don’t sweat it, read on and you’ll understand why we’re sending you to the grocery store for supplies! 

First the more obvious route.

How to Clean a Garbage Disposal – Method 1: A Sponge & Soap

First – Turn OFF the Disposal!

Turn off the power to your disposal to prevent it from accidentally getting turned on while you’re cleaning. Even if you’re not going to be getting your hand anywhere close to the teeth bits it’s not something you want to risk. Get under your sink, find the disposal plug and unplug it from the outlet. If you can’t do that, find your home’s breaker box and turn off the breaker there.

Clean The Baffle

The baffle is the plastic covering area that separates your sink from your garbage disposal proper. Use that sponge and dish soap to scrub thoroughly in the baffle, in its folds and creases to remove any lingering grime, gunk, and junk.


Clean the Grinding Chamber

Get into the grinding area now and wipe at it. Rinse your sponge often to make sure you’re not just smearing around the grime and gunk. Swipe, rinse, and repeat until you’re no longer pulling up anything. Nice.

If you wanted you could stop right here and your sink and garbage disposal will already be leagues better than it would be. But it won’t be the cleanest, freshest that it could be! So if you want to go above and beyond the call of duty read on! We’re going to use some other household materials to really clear it all out.


Baking Soda + Vinegar = Clear Disposal

Pour half a cup of baking soda into the garbage disposal. Then slowly pour half a cup of vinegar into the disposal. Quickly cover the drain using the sink stopper in the drain. Any kid’s science class veterans know what happens here! The baking soda and vinegar causes a chemical reaction of fizzing. This reaction will agitate anything stuck on the sides of the disposal. Wait a few minutes then pull the drain cover and flush the disposal with warm water.

Repeat in the other drain if you really want to combat any lingering gunk and odor!


Ice + Vineger/Rock Salt = Clean Disposal Option 2

Not up for rookie science experiments? That’s alright. You can use ice and rock salt or vinegar as another method to help do a rigorous cleaning on the inside of the disposal. The ice will help scrape along the inside of the grinding chamber breaking down any buildup. To do this it’s quite simple! Fill the disposal with ice cubs. Pour a cup of salt or vinegar into the disposal. Run the disposal for several seconds at a time (water turned on of course). Repeat as necessary.

With these steps taken care of, you can enjoy clean, smell-free garbage disposal for some time to come. It’s not a bad idea to clean your disposal monthly or even weekly if you do a lot of cooking or use your garbage disposal frequently. Having garbage disposal troubles? Leaks under your sink? Hey you know who to call!


If water runs through it or to it, we do it!