Garbage Disposal Maintenance

Garbage disposals are meant to give and take a beating. This simple maintenance guide will help you keep yours working for years and avoid the $200 (+labor) replacement.
Weekly Garbage Disposal Maintenance
Frequency 7 Days
Simple, weekly maintenance to extend the life of your garbage disposal.">

Normal use is enough to help reduce accumulation as the garbage disposal is rinsed with soapy waste water after washing dishes.

On a weekly basis, the garbage disposal should be flushed with cold water. Fill the sink with clean cold water, pull the drain stop and allow the water to drain. The flushing action of the water leaving the sink through the drain will purge the drain line of any loose food waste.

What If It Jams?

At some point during your garbage disposal's lifetime, something will jam the motor. When this happens you should first shut off the water from the faucet and turn off the power to the garbage disposal at the main electric panel. Insert an allen wrench into the center hole, located beneath the disposal. Work the wrench side to side until it turns for a complete circle. Reach into the grind chamber with pliers (not your hands) and remove the object causing the obstruction. Allow the motor to cool for a period of five minutes. Push in the red reset button located on the bottom side of the garbage disposal. Turn the power on to the garbage disposal and run water while operating the disposal.

Monthly Garbage Disposal Maintenance
Frequency 30 Days
This monthly maintenance will extend the life of your garbage disposal and avoid unnecessary calls to the plumber.">

Once a month empty a tray of ice cubes into the sink and turn on the garbage disposal to grind up the ice cubes. After the ice cubes are ground into a slushy mixture, rinse with a light stream of cold water. The ground ice will clog the drain line and water will back up into the sink, however, after a few minutes the ice will melt away and the water will drain. Grinding ice helps to sharpen the shredding blades and remove the accumulation of food waste.

If you have a removable drain baffle, remove it and clean the surface thoroughly with an old toothbrush, water, and detergent. Be sure to place the baffle back in its original location prior to operating the garbage disposal.

Place a half cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar in the grind chamber. Allow the mixture to foam and fizz while you boil a pot of water. Once the water has boiled, pour it down the drain. In lieu of baking soda and vinegar, you can also mix one gallon of water with one tablespoon of liquid chlorine bleach and slowly pour the mixture into the grind chamber. Allow it to sit for several minutes and then flush with cold water.

These mixtures will sanitize the garbage disposal and remove any foul odor. If you would prefer to not experience the smell of bleach or vinegar emanating from the garbage disposal you can freshen the smell with citrus rinds. Lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit rinds can be placed in the garbage disposal and ground-up to provide a fresh citrus scent.

You can also use Lemon-Scented Garbage Disposal Cleaner and Deodorizer, which I find equally as effective and pleasant.

Recommended Products / Services
Lemon-Scented Garbage Disposal Cleaner and Deodorizer
$15.00 Keep your garbage disposal and sink smelling fresh and sparkling clean with Plink's garbage disposal cleaner and deodorizer. This value pack consists of 40 treatments that are lemon scented for a fresh, citrus aroma.
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