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How to Clean a Garbage Disposal

Updated: Mar. 06, 2023

Learn how to clean garbage disposal. It will fix that smelly garbage disposal stink.

FHNOV13_ clean garbage disposalFamily Handyman
Does your kitchen sink smell bad? Is it coming from your garbage disposal? Here's how to clean garbage disposal and get rid of those disgusting odors.

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How to clean garbage disposal

Even if you run your garbage disposer until the last shred of food is gone, and you let the water run the recommended time, you can still wind up with an out-of-control science experiment that stinks up your kitchen. Face it; some food is going to stick to the inside of the grinding chamber, and it’s going to decay. Cleaning garbage disposal with ice and lemon rinds, adding baking soda or rinsing with vinegar and water is one option. Or you can add commercial cleaners like Disposer Care, which is available at discount stores and most home centers. Read on to learn how to clean your garbage disposal and what is the best way to clean garbage disposal.

Here’s the key: Clean under the splash guard

garbage disposal cleaner Cleaning Garbage Disposal how to clean disposal

Brush off the crud and rinse

Dip an old toothbrush in antibacterial grease-cutting kitchen cleaner (Clorox Antibacterial Degreaser is one choice) and lift up one corner of the splash guard. Scrub off the crud and rinse with cold water. Repeat with each flap until it’s totally clean and rinsed. Then submit your resignation to the stink patrol.

However, if you don’t clean the underside of the splash guard, you haven’t finished the job and may still wind up with a stinker. Cleaning garbage disposal splash guard is easier than you think. You don’t even have to remove it. Just clean it with a toothbrush and cleaner as shown. Learning how to clean garbage disposal will save your sense of smell and kitchen cleaning time in the future.

Sometimes the splash guard is ripped, broken or just too dirty to clean and needs to be replaced. Don’t worry, it’s not that big a deal. See How to Replace a Garbage Disposer Splash Guard to learn how easy that job is.

Required Tools for this Cleaning Garbage Disposal Project


Required Materials for thisCleaning Garbage Disposal Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list for how to clean garbage disposal.

  • Anti-bacterial grease-cutting kitchen cleanser