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Man turning on garbage disposal with sink full of vegetables.

Cleaner Kitchen: 5 Top Effective Garbage Disposal Tips

Efficient Tips for Odor-Free Garbage Disposal

Are you looking for effective garbage disposal tips to maintain a cleaner kitchen? 

A well-functioning garbage disposal is essential for any modern kitchen, ensuring that food waste is efficiently and hygienically disposed of. 

However, without proper care and maintenance, your garbage disposal can quickly become a source of unpleasant odors and costly repairs.

At Clarksburg Plumbing, we understand the importance of keeping your kitchen in top condition. 

Serving Rockville, MD, and the surrounding areas, our expert plumbers are dedicated to providing top-notch plumbing services, including garbage disposal installation and maintenance. 

How to Properly Use Your Garbage Disposal

Choose the Right Disposal:

Selecting the right garbage disposal unit for your kitchen is the first step towards efficient waste management. 

When choosing a disposal, consider the size and power of the unit. 

For smaller households, a 1/3 or 1/2 horsepower disposal might suffice, while larger families may need a 3/4 or 1 horsepower unit to handle the increased volume of waste. 

Look for units with stainless steel components, which are more durable and less prone to corrosion. 

Additionally, consider noise levels, as some disposals are designed to operate more quietly than others.

Daily Use Best Practices:

To keep your garbage disposal in peak condition, follow these daily use tips:

  • Run Cold Water: Always run cold water before, during, and after using your garbage disposal. Cold water helps solidify any grease or oils, making them easier to chop up and flush through the system.
  • Feed Waste Gradually: Avoid overloading your disposal by feeding waste gradually. Large amounts of food waste dumped all at once can overwhelm the disposal and lead to clogs.
  • Avoid Certain Foods: Certain foods can damage your disposal or cause blockages. Avoid putting fibrous vegetables like celery and potato peels, starchy foods like pasta and rice, and tough items like bones and fruit pits into the disposal.

By following these best practices, you can ensure your garbage disposal operates smoothly and effectively, reducing the risk of breakdowns and unpleasant odors.

Regular Maintenance Tips

Cleaning Tips:

Regular cleaning is crucial to maintain a fresh and efficient garbage disposal. Here are some easy methods to keep your unit clean:

Ice Cubes and Salt: 

Grinding a handful of ice cubes with a tablespoon of salt helps clean the blades and remove any debris buildup. The ice sharpens the blades while the salt acts as an abrasive, scrubbing away grime.

Citrus Fruits for Odor Control: 

To combat unpleasant odors, periodically grind citrus peels, such as lemon or orange peels. The natural oils in the peels deodorize the disposal and leave a fresh scent.

Deep Cleaning Methods:

For a more thorough cleaning, follow these steps:

1. Unplug the Disposal: Always ensure the disposal is turned off and unplugged to avoid any accidents.

2. Clean the Baffle and Blades: Use a brush specifically designed for garbage disposals to scrub the rubber baffle and the upper part of the grinding chamber. This area can harbor food particles and bacteria.

3. Vinegar and Baking Soda: Pour half a cup of baking soda into the disposal, followed by a cup of white vinegar. Allow the mixture to fizz for a few minutes, then rinse with hot water. This combination helps break down buildup and eliminates odors.

4. Check for Blockages: Inspect the disposal for any visible blockages or stuck items. Use tongs or pliers to remove any large debris, but never use your hands.

Regular maintenance not only keeps your garbage disposal clean and odor-free but also extends its lifespan, ensuring reliable performance for years to come.

What Not to Put in Your Garbage Disposal

Avoid Hard or Fibrous Materials:

Certain items should never be placed in your garbage disposal, as they can damage the blades and cause clogs. 

Some materials to avoid include:

  • Bones and Pits: Hard objects like bones and fruit pits are too tough for the disposal blades and can cause them to jam or become dull.
  • Fibrous Vegetables: Vegetables such as celery, asparagus, and corn husks have long, stringy fibers that can wrap around the blades and cause clogs.

Grease and Oil:

One of the most common causes of garbage disposal problems is grease. 

When hot grease or oil is poured down the drain, it can solidify and create a blockage.

Here’s why grease is harmful and how to dispose of it properly:

  • Solidification: Grease and oil can solidify in the pipes, leading to clogs that are difficult to remove.
  • Bacterial Growth: Grease traps food particles, creating an environment conducive to bacterial growth, which can result in foul odors.

Proper Disposal Methods:

  • Collect and Dispose: Instead of pouring grease down the drain, collect it in a container, let it solidify, and dispose of it in the trash.
  • Use Absorbent Materials: Wipe greasy pots and pans with paper towels before washing them to reduce the amount of grease entering your plumbing system.

Non-Food Items:

It’s essential to remember that your garbage disposal is not a trash can. Keep non-food items out of the disposal to prevent damage and clogs:

  • Plastic, Metal, and Glass: These materials can severely damage the disposal blades and motor.
  • Rubber Bands and Twist Ties: Small non-food items can slip past the disposal blades and cause jams in the plumbing system.

By being mindful of what goes into your garbage disposal, you can prevent common issues and maintain a smoothly operating unit.

Plumber installing new garbage disposal.
Photo By :JodiJacobson at iStock

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Jammed Disposal:

A jammed garbage disposal is a common problem that can often be resolved with a few simple steps:

1. Turn Off the Power: Always ensure the power is turned off at the circuit breaker to prevent accidents.

2. Use a Hex Key: Many disposals have a manual reset option. Insert a hex key (Allen wrench) into the hex-shaped hole at the bottom of the disposal. Turn the key back and forth to manually rotate the blades and dislodge any debris.

3. Remove Visible Debris: Use pliers or tongs to remove any visible blockages inside the disposal. Never use your hands to avoid injury.

Slow Draining:

If your garbage disposal is draining slowly, it could be due to a clog in the drainpipe. Here’s how to address it:

  • Flush with Hot Water: Run hot water for a few minutes to dissolve any grease or buildup that might be causing the slow drain.
  • Use Baking Soda and Vinegar: Pour half a cup of baking soda followed by a cup of vinegar down the drain. Let the mixture fizz and sit for a few minutes before rinsing with hot water.
  • Plunge the Drain: Use a plunger to help dislodge any clogs in the drainpipe. Ensure there is enough water in the sink to cover the plunger’s bell.

Unusual Noises:

Unusual noises from your garbage disposal can indicate several issues:

  • Grinding or Clanking: These sounds often mean that a hard object is stuck in the disposal. Turn off the power and remove any foreign objects carefully.
  • Humming Noise: A humming noise usually indicates that the motor is running, but the blades are not spinning due to a jam. Follow the steps for clearing a jammed disposal to resolve this.

Preventive Measures:

To avoid future issues, follow these preventive measures:

  • Regular Cleaning: Clean your disposal regularly using the methods mentioned earlier to prevent buildup.
  • Avoid Problematic Items: Be mindful of what you put in the disposal to avoid clogs and jams.

By addressing common issues promptly and following preventive measures, you can keep your garbage disposal functioning efficiently and extend its lifespan.

Extending the Life of Your Garbage Disposal

Routine Maintenance Schedule:

Establishing a routine maintenance schedule can significantly extend the life of your garbage disposal. Here are some guidelines:

Weekly Cleaning: Perform a quick clean each week using ice cubes and salt to keep the blades sharp and free of debris.

Monthly Deep Cleaning: Once a month, use the vinegar and baking soda method for a thorough clean. This helps prevent buildup and keeps odors at bay.

Inspect for Leaks: Regularly check for any signs of leaks around the disposal unit and plumbing connections. Early detection can prevent costly repairs.

Professional Inspection:

While regular DIY maintenance is essential, professional inspections ensure your garbage disposal is in top condition. Here’s why and what to expect:

Expert Diagnosis: 

Professional plumbers can identify potential issues before they become major problems. 

They have the tools and expertise to spot wear and tear that might not be visible to the untrained eye.

Comprehensive Service: 

During an inspection, professionals will check all components of the disposal, including the motor, blades, and plumbing connections. 

They will also clean hard-to-reach areas and ensure everything is functioning correctly.

Safety and Efficiency: 

Professionals can perform tasks safely and efficiently, reducing the risk of damage to your disposal or plumbing system.

Clarksburg Plumbing offers expert garbage disposal maintenance and inspection services in Rockville, MD. 

Our experienced plumbers ensure your disposal operates smoothly and efficiently, preventing future issues and extending its lifespan. 

Regular professional inspections provide peace of mind, knowing your kitchen is in the best hands.

Eco-Friendly Disposal Practices


Composting is an excellent alternative to using your garbage disposal for organic waste. 

It’s eco-friendly and can benefit your garden. 

Here’s how to get started:

Set Up a Compost Bin: Choose a compost bin suitable for your space, whether it’s a small kitchen compost container or a larger outdoor compost bin.

Know What to Compost: Compostable items include fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells, and yard waste. Avoid meat, dairy, and oily foods, as they can attract pests and create odors.

Maintain Your Compost: 

Regularly turn your compost to aerate it and speed up the decomposition process. 

Keep the compost moist, but not too wet, and add a mix of green (nitrogen-rich) and brown (carbon-rich) materials.

Alternative Disposal Methods:

If composting isn’t an option, there are other eco-friendly ways to dispose of food waste:

  • Food Waste Collection Services: Many communities offer food waste collection services where your organic waste is picked up and composted or processed into biofuel. Check with local waste management services in Rockville, MD, for availability.
  • Community Programs: Participate in community composting programs where you can drop off your food scraps at designated sites. These programs are often run by local municipalities or environmental organizations.

Benefits of Eco-Friendly Practices:

Adopting eco-friendly disposal methods reduces the burden on your garbage disposal and benefits the environment. Composting and other green practices:

Reduce Landfill Waste: Composting diverts organic waste from landfills, reducing methane emissions and the overall volume of trash.

Enhance Soil Quality: Compost adds valuable nutrients to the soil, promoting healthy plant growth and improving soil structure.

Lower Utility Bills: Reducing the amount of waste processed by your garbage disposal can lower your water and electricity usage, resulting in cost savings.

By incorporating eco-friendly disposal practices into your routine, you not only extend the life of your garbage disposal but also contribute to a healthier environment. 

Clarksburg Plumbing supports green initiatives and offers advice on sustainable waste management solutions in Rockville, MD.

Benefits of Professional Garbage Disposal Maintenance

While regular DIY maintenance is crucial, professional garbage disposal maintenance offers several unique benefits that can significantly enhance the performance and longevity of your unit.

Expert Knowledge and Tools:

Professional plumbers have the expertise and specialized tools to thoroughly inspect and service your garbage disposal. 

They can identify and fix issues that might not be apparent to the average homeowner, ensuring that your disposal is in optimal condition.

Comprehensive Cleaning:

Professionals can perform a more comprehensive cleaning than DIY methods. 

They can access and clean hard-to-reach areas, ensuring that all components of your garbage disposal are free from buildup and debris.

Early Problem Detection:

Regular professional inspections can help detect potential problems before they become major issues. 

This proactive approach can save you from costly repairs and unexpected breakdowns, keeping your kitchen running smoothly.

Enhanced Performance:

A well-maintained garbage disposal operates more efficiently, reducing the risk of clogs and jams. 

Professional maintenance ensures that all parts of the disposal are functioning correctly, which can enhance its overall performance and lifespan.

Safety Assurance:

Handling a garbage disposal can be dangerous, especially when dealing with jams or other issues. 

Professional plumbers have the training and experience to perform maintenance safely, reducing the risk of injury.

Customized Advice:

Professionals can provide customized advice based on the specific make and model of your garbage disposal. 

They can recommend the best practices and products to use, tailored to your unit’s needs.

Clarksburg Plumbing offers top-notch professional garbage disposal maintenance services in Rockville, MD. 

Our experienced plumbers ensure your unit is thoroughly cleaned, inspected, and optimized for peak performance. 

Trust us to keep your kitchen disposal system running smoothly and efficiently.


Maintaining a clean and efficient kitchen is easier when you follow these essential garbage disposal tips. 

By choosing the right unit, adhering to daily best practices, performing regular maintenance, and avoiding harmful materials, you can ensure your garbage disposal remains in top condition. 

Troubleshooting common issues promptly and adopting eco-friendly disposal practices further contribute to the longevity and performance of your unit.

At Clarksburg Plumbing, we are dedicated to helping homeowners in Rockville, MD, keep their kitchens running smoothly. 

Our expert plumbers are equipped with the knowledge and tools to handle all your garbage disposal needs, from installation and maintenance to troubleshooting and professional inspections. 

Trust Clarksburg Plumbing to provide reliable, high-quality service that ensures your garbage disposal operates efficiently for years to come.

By implementing these tips and leveraging professional services, you can enjoy a cleaner, more efficient kitchen. 

Remember, a well-maintained garbage disposal is key to a hassle-free cooking and cleaning experience.

3D question marks and large lime green FAQ letters. Questions about garbage disposals.
Photo By VCTStyle at iStock


1. How often should I clean my garbage disposal?

It’s recommended to clean your garbage disposal weekly using ice cubes and salt or citrus peels. Additionally, perform a deep cleaning once a month using baking soda and vinegar to ensure it remains free of buildup and odors.

2. Can I put eggshells in my garbage disposal?

While some people believe eggshells can help sharpen disposal blades, they can actually cause clogs and buildup. It’s better to compost eggshells or dispose of them in the trash.

3. What should I do if my garbage disposal is making a humming noise?

A humming noise usually indicates a jam. Turn off the power to the disposal, use a hex key to manually rotate the blades, and remove any visible debris with tongs or pliers. If the issue persists, contact a professional plumber.

4. Is it safe to use chemical drain cleaners in my garbage disposal?

Chemical drain cleaners can damage your garbage disposal and plumbing. It’s safer to use natural cleaning methods like baking soda and vinegar or to consult a professional for stubborn clogs.

5. How can I prevent odors in my garbage disposal?

Prevent odors by regularly grinding citrus peels, using baking soda and vinegar, and ensuring you only put appropriate food items down the disposal. Regular cleaning and avoiding grease and fibrous foods can also help keep odors at bay.

Read our previous blog post. 

Katie Byrd

Trust the Plumbers that Treat You Like Family

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