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How to Clean a Garbage Disposal?
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Blog 09/17/19

How to Clean a Garbage Disposal?

One appliance that often goes overlooked during the kitchen clean-up is the garbage disposal. It is often used, but equally ignored when it comes to cleaning and maintaining it. Cleaning your garbage disposal is easy to do and does not require any special equipment, just a few items you probably already have in your home. The simple step-by-step guide below on how to clean your garbage disposal will help you keep one of the hardest working appliances in your household in optimal condition. That way, you can prevent a garbage disposal repair and avoid a smelly kitchen sink.

Prepping Your Garbage Disposal

First, unplug the power to your garbage disposal. Using a flashlight, look down into the disposal to check for any large pieces of food, silverware, or any other items that are not supposed to be there. If you see anything like this, make sure to safely remove it from the sink’s disposal. The best method is using a pair of pliers to collect the items in order to avoid the blades of the garbage disposal.  

Cleaning Your Garbage Disposal

To help combat the smell and to organically keep your sink drain clean, a mixture of vinegar and baking soda is a tried and true solution to use as your home-made cleaner. These two are a common cleaning duo that is an effective (and cheap) way to get rid of grime, bacteria, and buildup within your drain. First, pour ½ cup of baking soda into the drain followed by 1 cup of vinegar. Let the mixture foam and fizz for a few minutes, this allows the grime build-up to dissolve. If you notice that you need a bit more vinegar and baking soda than what was used, make sure to keep a 2:1 vinegar to baking soda ratio.  Also, make sure to pour the baking soda down the drain first followed by the vinegar so as not to waste the vinegar by sending it down the drain first. 

Next, with the vinegar and baking soda still in the drain, use a long-handled scrubbing brush or toothbrush and begin scrubbing the interior of the drain.  Make sure to scrub underneath the flaps that cover the mouth of the disposal as well. Because of the vinegar and baking soda, scrubbing should be a breeze.  Once you have scrubbed the grime away, turn the water onto the hottest setting and let it clear the drain for a few minutes. If necessary, repeat the process of using the homemade garbage disposal cleaner, scrubbing the mixture, and clearing the drain with hot water until the appliance is clean. 

If you notice that a smell is lingering, pour ¼ cup of lemon juice down the sink drain and this should help neutralize it while adding a mild citrus scent. This is a good, quick solution to eradicating a stinky garbage disposal in between deep cleanings. 


With your garbage disposal clean and ready to go, maintenance is key.  Remember, not everything can go down the garbage disposal. Avoid putting down starchy foods such as potatoes or pasta down the drain. You should also avoid putting fibrous foods such as corn husks, onions, or fruit peels or rinds down the drain. These are only to get caught up in the blades of the garbage disposal. Items like this should go into the trash can to avoid damaging or clogging your sink disposal and drains. Coffee grounds should also go into the trash rather than down the garbage disposal for this reason. When you do use your garbage disposal, make sure to thoroughly flush it by running the water for a few extra seconds after you turn it off.  

If you notice that your garbage disposal isn’t running as well as it used to or you would like one installed, give the experts at Bill Howe Plumbing a call! Call 1-800-BILL-HOWE (1-800-245-5469) to schedule an appointment with an experienced technician today!


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What David says about us

Service for new garbage disposal. My ancient garbage disposal quit working, went online to get Bill Howe’s number, immediately received and accepted chat to describe my needs. Prompt call back to schedule an appointment, service tech Allen was out same morning, which was important to fit my work schedule. Job estimate was clear, work done fully to my expectations, area left clean, and price was very fair.
I was not surprised — I have used Bill Howe plumbers for several other tasks in the past. I have always found their staff to be helpful, attentive, and the plumbers very courteous and capable.

January 2020


What Michelle says about us

I have been using Bill Howe since the late 1980’s, their service has always been excellent, plumbing, heating and restoration. I am most impressed by the integrity of their employees, not only do they know their work/skill, they do not waste time, they are so efficient, they are so helpful and they are a true “service”!

February 2020


What Mira says about us

Bill Howe never fails us! We had a drain overflow, and Scott came (on a Saturday) to look at it and offer solution. He was punctual, professional, and extremely helpful. I should also praise the main office for always being helpful and always finding solutions. Very grateful to have you in San Diego!

February 2020

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What Ed Gohlich says about us

Cory was our technician on this job. We had a time sensitive repair issue and Bill Howe understood and assisted with getting the job done quickly.
Cory was on time to start the job and finished it quickly. Upon his leaving our home he’s was courteous, very knowledgeable, explaining what the problem was and how he fixed it. Very good communication and this is the way it’s has always been when we use Bill Howe plumbing.
Great company to work with.
Thanks Cory.

August 2019

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I had a shower that would not drain. The employee arrived on time and fixed the problem quickly and effectively at a very fair price. I was very happy with everything. Thank you and I highly recommend your plumbing service.

January 2019


What Bridgett says about us

I am extremely happy with the service we received from Bill Howe Plumbing. We were given an incorrect diagnosis of our main sewer line from another vendor, but Bill Howe’s servicemen came out for a second opinion, correctly diagnosed our problem and resolved our back up issues. We will continue to use Bill Howe for all our future plumbing needs!

Thank you Bill Howe Plumbing.

July 2019