A garbage disposal can be used to remove certain types of kitchen waste, like fruit and vegetable scraps, small fruit pits, small bones, ice, and leftovers. Foods that can’t be thrown down the garbage disposal include fats, oils, grease, starchy foods, corn husks, eggshells, coffee grounds. 

If you regularly use your garbage disposal, be sure to clean it on a regular basis to reduce odors and prevent a clog. Here are a few methods to try.

1. Flush with water

Plug the sink and fill it up with hot water until it’s about 3 inches deep. Add dish soap and mix it well with the water. Then, remove the plug and let it flush the garbage disposal to help melt any hardened grease or fat buildup.

2. Clean with ice and salt

Dump two cups of ice and one cup of salt in the disposal. Then, turn on the water and the disposal to remove sludge and other debris. Another benefit of grinding ice in the garbage disposal is sharpening the blades in the disposal. This will help improve overall performance.

3. Scrub

No, don’t stick your hand down into the garbage disposal — ever. Use a long-handled scrub brush to reach inside the garbage disposal and clean the inner walls. Use water and soap to be extra thorough.

4. Baking soda and vinegar

Sprinkle ½ cup of baking soda into the disposal, pour one cup of white or apple cider vinegar, and let the mixture bubble up. Wait five to ten minutes, then turn on the disposal and flush with cold water.

5. Borax

Borax is a laundry detergent ingredient also commonly used in other household cleaning products. Sprinkle a few tablespoons into the disposal and rinse with cold running water for about 30 seconds.

6. Boiling water

Pour boiling water down the drain to help loosen stubborn food particles and waste.

7. Dish soap and baking soda

Use dish soap and baking soda to clean the drain crevices around the disposal and the rubber splash guard in your sink.

8. Use citrus peels or essential oils

If you’d like to eliminate odor from the garbage disposal, throw in citrus peels or essential oils for a fresh scent. Run the garbage disposal until the peels have been thoroughly ground.