Garbage disposals are a magical contribution to many household kitchens and cooking spaces. These handy industrial tools make your leftovers How to Clean the Garbage Disposaldisappear down the drain in seconds flat, grinding up food debris and eliminating many forms of food waste from piling up in your garbage can. However, constant use as a major garbage disposal means that these in sink units can start to stink and even bubble up foul colored water when you run your sink. Because many garbage disposals are sunken down inside your sink and plumbing systems, it can be hard to know how to effectively clean it out without taking apart the whole darn thing. As a result you’re probably not cleaning your garbage disposal nearly enough. Every time you run your garbage disposal, you add more dirt and food build up, whether it’s rotten residue building up inside your plumbing or dirt and food grime caking up and molding underneath your sink, trapped in your disposal, and beginning to stink.


How Do I Get Rid of My Garbage Disposal Stink?

When it comes to garbage disposals, clearing out that build-up is a really important part of your regular kitchen maintenance. That food debris can quickly develop odors, mold, or other problems that can seriously impact the quality of your sink, plumbing, and regular kitchen usage. There are some daily remedies to try to resolve your stink; one of the best is to run six ice cubes, 1 tablespoon baking soda, and thin lemon slides down your drain to cleanse it. However, you may also want to pursue some longer term solutions for scrubbing and scraping the gunk, dirt, and grime from your stove. We’ll walk you through our favorite garbage cleaning disposal solutions for dirt and food debris removal as well as some advice for heavy-duty odors you just can’t seem to shake.


Top Solutions for Garbage Disposal Cleaning

Method 1: The Weekly Maintenance

Materials Needed

  • 12 Ice Cubes
  • Thin lemon slices
  • Baking Soda
  • Bleach

The Process

Initial Mixture: Turn off your garbage disposal and faucet. Drop six ice cubes into your disposal chamber followed by one tablespoon of baking soda. Next, add three or four thin lemon slices to your chamber. Finally, add a teaspoon of bleach and then six more ice cubes.

Dispose: With this mixture inside, run your disposal without turning on your faucet until you hear the grinding completely stop.

Flush: Run your cold water through the garbage disposal for thirty seconds while the water is still running. Then, turn everything off.

Repeat this process weekly for best results.

Method 2: Dissolving Food Residue

If you suspect there’s plenty of food piling up inside your disposal, try this handy food residue solution.

Materials Needed

  • Pliers
  • Ice Cubes
  • Rock Salt
  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Toothbrush

The Process

Loosen Existing Debris: Make sure your drain is turned off and then take a look inside your machine. Identify any solids that haven’t been ground up and could be causing blockages. Pull them out with pliers or tongs and dispose.

Clear Out Your Blades: Next, drop twelve ice cubes down your garbage disposal and then add half a cup of rock salt. These items work together to clear out built up grime that accumulates inside the disposal chamber. Turn on water and the disposal and run for about a minute to ensure everything has been thoroughly flushed out.

Mix Up Your Paste: Now you’re going to pour a cup of vinegar and a half cup of baking soda into your disposal. Let this fizz and bubble inside your chamber for about fifteen minutes. The acidity of the solution will kill any bacteria or germs inside your disposal while also ensuring safety and health of the chamber. You’ll also want to take a bit of this paste onto a toothbrush and scrub down the exterior of your garbage disposal to ensure a thorough clean there as well.

Final Flush: Turn on your faucet but plug your drain opening. Run the water in your sink until it’s almost full, then add a teaspoon of dish soap. Remove your plug and let everything drain while turning on your disposal for the ideal thorough cleaning.

Method 3: Seriously Heavy Duty Solutions

Materials Needed

  • ZEP Commercial Foaming Garbage Disposal Cleaner
  • Pliers

The Process

Loosen Existing Debris: Much like in our food debris solution, you’re going to want to start by making sure any solids that haven’t been ground up and could be causing blockages, like larger vegetable chunks have been removed. Pull them out with pliers or tongs and dispose.

Apply Your Cleansing Solution: Spray a thorough coating of the ZEP Foaming Garbage Disposal Cleaner inside your garbage disposal, making sure to cover the rubber flaps and the exterior of the machine inside your sink drain.

Let Sit: Allow the ZEP Foaming Garbage Disposal Cleaner to sit inside your sink for fifteen minutes in order to thoroughly dissolve and run through the drain.

Final Flush: Turn on your faucet and run your garbage disposal at the same time. Continue to run the garbage disposal and faucet until all the foaming cleanser has been rinsed through your drain.

You can also repeat this process with some other top garbage disposal cleaners, including the Plink Garbage Disposer Cleaning pods, the Affresh Disposal Cleaner Tablets, and Bio-Clean Drain Septic Bacteria cleanser.

However, you should only use chemical solutions to your garbage disposal woes as a last resort: when possible, it’s always better to use natural solutions because they will protect your food from exposure to harsh chemicals or bacteria and are easy to replicate in your own home.


Garbage disposals are handy pieces of your home cleaning routine that you don’t need to be afraid of cleansing anymore! Take on the dirt and debris of disposal cleaning with ease thanks to these simple and proven techniques and enjoy a clean and fresh smelling garbage disposal that continues to be a great addition to your kitchen and cooking plans!


  1. Wow! This is amazing! I love how comprehensive, educational, and informative this post is. I learned so many new things just by reading this enlightening article. You do a great job with your organization, structure, and total clarity. 

    I would love to know more about the different strategies and more importantly why they work so efficiently.

    Also, you give excellent, practical advice on how to unclog your sink and get rid of food residue.

    I sure hope to come across your site SOON.

    Well done!

    1. I’m happy you found this article informative! Each of these methods are proven to succeed. We recommend the weekly maintenance to avoid a smelly garbage disposal and food piling up so that you could have your garbage disposal operate properly. 

      If it’s already clogged, or you have a lot of food buildup, turn to our other expert cleaning methods.


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