Q:

How do you clean out a garbage disposal?

A:

Quick Answer

Clean a garbage disposal by turning off the power and removing any large items the unit is unable to grind and then restoring the power and grinding ice cubes. Flush water from the trap by filling the sink with water and pulling the disposal plug.

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Full Answer

Because the garbage disposal opening is in the bottom of the sink, at some point, silverware, glass or fibrous food falls into the unit. The unit is unable to grind these foods, and they become stuck in the machine, causing odors. The only method of removal is to extract them manually from the opening. If the disposal is stuck, insert the tool the manufacturer supplies with the unit into the hex fitting at the bottom of the machine, and turn it to free the item.

Ice cubes help solidify any grease buildup and move it through the lines. Grinding about two dozen cubes helps remove smelly residue that clings to the sides of the unit and pipes. Flushing the trap with water moves odor-causing bacteria down the line.

Use citrus peels to keep the unit smelling fresh. Place the peels in the unit, turn on the water, and grind the peels to release the citrus oils they contain.

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