If you’ve ever lived in a Chicago home or apartment without a garbage disposal, you know what a big difference this simple appliance can make for your day-to-day routine. Garbage disposals are handy tools that come through in a pinch.

According to Prevention, however, “there are often more than 500,000 bacteria in the kitchen sink—about 1,000 times more than the average toilet has.” With this in mind, it is important to keep your kitchen sink – and your garbage disposal – as clean as the rest of your home, especially since your disposal is responsible for chomping through messes in what should be the most sanitary room of the house.

Fortunately, it’s easier than you may think to beat bacteria – and the foul smell that often emanates from deep within your garbage disposal. Here are our top five strategies for keeping your garbage disposal fresh and clean:

1. Vinegar and Lemon

We’re big into using vinegar for our bathroom cleaning projects, and we love using it to sanitize our garbage disposal. Vinegar has antimicrobial properties that ruin the plans of smelly bacteria, but it is still very much a non-toxic product. Feeling crafty? Try making your very own vinegar and lemon ice cubes next time you want to clean your garbage disposal.

2. Coca Cola

You know that the acids in Coke are bad for your teeth, but did you know that they are also hard on garbage disposal gunk? Pour a can of this soda down your drain. Once the fizzing stops, turn on some hot water and start running the disposal. Let everything go for about a minute and then shut it off. Bam! A simple, two-ingredient process!

3. The Conventional Method

If you absolutely must use something tried and true (even if it’s not a “green” product), start with an antibacterial degreaser and an old toothbrush, like The Family Handyman suggests. Here’s how it works:

  • Dip an old toothbrush in antibacterial grease-cutting kitchen cleaner (Clorox Antibacterial Degreaser is one choice)
  • Lift up one corner of the splash guard. Scrub off the accumulated crud and rinse with cold water.
  • Repeat with each flap until it’s totally clean and rinsed

4. Bleach and Water

Make a solution of one part bleach to five parts water. Pour it down the drain and soak all of your drain pieces to destroy germs and smell. Just make sure that you give everything a good rinse before your next round of dishes.

5. Boiling Water and Rock Salt

This garbage disposal solution is a J. Blanton house favorite. Boil up a kettle of water and pour it down your drain. Then, fill the drain with two cups of ice and sprinkle one cup of rock salt over the top. After flipping the water on, turn on the garbage disposal and let it run until the ice is totally broken down. This process loosens grime and debris, pushing it all straight down the drain.

Remember! Always make sure that you’ve disconnected power to the garbage disposal before you dive into a cleaning project that requires close contact for an extended period of time.

If you run into any issues or glitches while taking care of this chore, give us a call or shoot us an email. We’re always happy to help!