Some kitchen and household appliances have made human lives easy. But they need proper handling for smooth functioning and long life. One of them is your garbage disposal. If you keep it well, the kitchen equipment can take care of your waste management headache for about 8-15 years on average. Isn’t this a good deal? Without them, it’s common to put up with frequent clogs in the sink and drain pipes. The sink may get messier. So, it makes sense to maintain your unit. Pay attention to the odor coming from your kitchen. The unpleasant scent indicates the garbage disposal needs cleaning.
The unit’s internal chamber can sufficiently clean itself. But certain corners will still suffer from smell and food scrap buildup leading to the stench, regardless of the brand of garbage disposal you have at home. If you clean the chamber once a week and refrain from adding items like bones, celery, beans, rice, potatoes, etc., it can fight blockage and smell problems. Here are some suggestions in this context.
Garbage disposal cleaning: Garbage Disposal trap, splash guard, and others
While washing the sink, look at your unit’s splash guard and other components to check food waste buildup. Unclog the areas. It may need some deep cleaning if you don’t see any improvement even after this. You don’t need harsh chemicals for this job. Regular pantry items like vinegar, lemons, baking soda, and ice can be the best tools to combat this battle.
Use lemon, salt, and ice
Rubber flanges or splash guards cover the drain to prevent food waste from blocking the passage. When they get dirty, you face the issue of smell in your kitchen. Hence, it can be one of the first parts to clean. Examine the bottom of the guard for odor detection. Before getting on the task, disconnect it from the power. Wear rubber gloves, take an all-purpose cleaner and paper towel, and get at it. Use the towel on the surface until you have removed all the debris from its surface. Do you notice a bad smell?
A few ice cubes and lemon juice can do wonders. You put them in the disposal and switch on the unit for 30 seconds. After this, you can reach out to the top corner of the splash guard with the towel wipe for cleaning. The paper towel can get very dirty, a sight you may detest. So, throw it away in the trash bin quickly. Also, turn on the disposal for about thirty seconds and let the cold or warm water flow. Some people add rock salt crystals to ice and lemon juice for extra scrubbing. It’s a good idea if you want a better cleaning result.
Vinegar and baking soda
For satisfying results, you can also turn to baking soda and vinegar. These will deodorize and scour the unit – add ½ cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar. The solution will create a fizzy effect for nearly ten minutes. Allow this to happen. You can run water to rinse the disposal and refresh it later. Also, look at the pipe or disposal trap down the sink. It also gets clogged often. If you notice any challenge with draining, it means this area needs your attention. Disconnect the S-trap and clean the area with a soapy mix. When it is clean of debris, the drain will work smoothly.
A few critical points to remember
Cleaning and deodorizing the unit is a two-step process – grime removal and infusing a fresh, pleasant smell. While ice cubes and coarse salt knock the dirt out, lemon wedges and juice ensure the unit smells fresh. You can try lemon juice with vinegar and baking soda too. All these are safe methods, but you must be careful about a few things. For instance, ice cubes can be a fantastic hack for garbage disposal cleaning. However, if you use this with hot water to rinse the unit, there will be a risk of damage. That’s why experts recommend cold water is safer.
Using hot water can worsen clogging by breaking down oils and fats trapped in the drain. On the other hand, cold water allows these components to flush out in their solid form without leading to any nuisance in the pipe. Another thing you need to keep in mind is ice cubes will help eliminate stuck food particles and sharpen blades. However, expecting this ingredient to care for the smell problem is futile. That’s why you need lemon for deodorization. Also, you should take the disposal’s drain pipe and blades seriously. People apply harsh chemicals and bleach to get things done faster. Please avoid these items, as your garbage disposal unit will be at risk.
If the old device doesn’t behave appropriately after your diligent cleaning and care efforts, consider replacing it. Some evident signs are frequent clogging, regular use of the reset button, prolonged grinding time, leakage, and loud noises. Chronic clogging issues occur when blades become weak, or the unit is smaller than the daily volume of food waste it handles. Either situation indicates replacement is the way. If you notice leaks, it means the unit’s chamber has developed a crack due to wear and tear. So, again, you will need to replace the disposal.
Likewise, a noisy humming sound from the garbage disposal means a problem with the motor. It’s getting the electricity but struggling to start and grind the food particles. You can change this specific component in this case. But the cost can be the same as replacing the entire unit.
Mechanical units breaking down due to regular or heavy use is expected. Routine maintenance endeavors can elongate their lifespan. However, you need to know when it’s better to replace or repair them. If you pay about an equal amount to fix a unit, it’s better to buy a new one. It will serve you for a minimum of 8 years, if not more. With repairs, you need to be sure about how long the appliance will run. But there cannot be any guarantee.