There are so many grimy spots in your kitchen, it can be easy to miss them during a quick cleaning. One spot that is easy to miss, because it is truly out of sight, is your garbage disposal. Garbage disposals are efficient at grinding up all the food particles that find their way in your kitchen sink, but all those tiny bits of leftovers can plug up your disposal and leave some pretty nasty odors behind. The good news is, keeping your garbage disposal clean is actually really simple with proper use and regular cleaning.
What exactly is in there?
Even though most American kitchens have a garbage disposal, many homeowners don’t really understand the proper use and care of their disposal. Your disposal is mounted to the underside of your sink and is used to break down larger food pieces. Garbage disposals keep those food particles from clogging your drain. Contrary to popular belief, your disposal does not have actual sharp blades. It actually has a spinning disc with blunt metal “teeth,” also called an impeller, that pushes food to the edge of the grinding chamber where it is blended up and then washes away with water.
The best way to keep your disposal in top shape is to use it the right way in the first place. Disposals must always run with cold water. Hot water will melt food, making it harder to grind up, and running a disposal without water can cause damage. It should also be turned on occasionally if your kitchen doesn’t get much use. The components in the disposal can rust and seize up if not used. Heavy use can also be hard on your garbage disposal, so use your disposal thoughtfully.
Keep some foods out
There are also many foods that can cause clogs and jams if put down the disposal. Fibrous foods such as celery and asparagus, starchy foods like potatoes and bananas, foods that can expand such as rice, and large bones or grease are all foods that should never be put down your garbage disposal.
Keeping the disposal running a little longer will ensure that nothing is left that will cause smells. If you aren’t sure if a food should be sent down your disposal, set it aside for compost or put it in the trash.
Keeping it clean
It is actually pretty simple to clean your disposal. You can toss in a cut up lemon or orange, with the peel still on, and grind away. The citrus will smell great and the peels will help sharpen the blades. A mixture of vinegar and baking soda sent down the disposal can also help deodorize and break down built up foods. There are also many commercial disposal cleaning drops, powders, and tablets available.
Don’t forget to clean up around the baffle, the folded part in the opening, and the rim of the disposal with a soapy kitchen sponge. Rinse often and scrub until the sponge comes away clean.
By following these tips and tricks, you can make your disposal the cleanest spot in your kitchen.