Easy DIY Ways to Clean Your Garbage Disposal

woman washing dishes in the kitchen sink

Garbage disposals can save time and effort when doing the dishes, but they still need periodic maintenance to stay in tip top shape. If you’ve noticed a funky smell, a weird noise or a drop in performance, it may be time to freshen things up. We rounded up a few of the best garbage disposal cleaning methods that require just a few household items. Here are a few easy ways to clean your disposal:

Method 1: Salt and Ice

Put a few handfuls of ice into the disposal, followed by a cup of salt. Grind the ice and salt mixture with the cold water running. This not only cleans the grinding mechanisms, but the ice also helps the blades to function more effectively.

Method 2: Hot Water and Dish Soap

Help prevent more serious problems by flushing buildup out of your disposal. Simply fill the sink with a few inches of hot, soapy water, remove the drain plug and run the disposal until the water has completely drained.

Method 3: Citrus Peels

This time-honored trick can help eliminate smelly odors and clean the disposal’s blades. Cut the peels into several pieces and feed into the disposal with the cold water running. The acid in citrus peels kills bacteria and leaves a fresh citrus scent.

Method 4: Borax

To loosen tough disposal clogs, pour ½ cup of Borax down the drain, let it set for at least 30 minutes and flush with hot water. For more information, check out this helpful video.

Method 5: Vinegar and Baking Soda

Remove remnants of food in the disposal by pouring 1 cup of white vinegar down the drain, followed by ½ cup of baking soda. Let the mixture fizz for 10-15 minutes and flush with hot water.


Prevent serious problems with your garbage disposal by cutting food scraps into smaller pieces before grinding, running cold water every time you use the disposal and not disposing of grease down the disposal drain. For serious jams or mechanical issues, call your plumber.

Check out more appliance safety tips to keep your home in good working order.