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Simple Do’s and Don’ts for Your Garbage Disposal

Few things are more satisfying than completing your spring cleaning. Bookshelves dusted? Check. Windows washed? Check. Deck scrubbed? Check. Garbage disposal cleaned? Ummmm . . .


It’s easy to neglect the workhorse appliance under your sink, but keeping it clean is just as important as the other tasks on your spring checklist. Doing so prolongs the life of your disposal and makes your kitchen smell better. Get started with this list of dos and don’ts.

DO: Fill your garbage disposal with ice cubes and one cup of rock salt, then run cold water and turn the disposal on for 10-15 seconds. This sharpens the blades and breaks up grease buildup.

Tip: Don’t have any rock salt on hand? Make vinegar ice cubes and use them instead.

DON’T: Run hot water to clean your disposal. This melts fats and grease, making them harder to get rid of.

DO: Put half of a lemon in your disposal to eliminate odors.

DON’T: Put your hand in the disposal to clean it (or for any other reason).

DON’T: Use bleach or commercial cleaning products in your disposal.

Once your garbage disposal is sparkling again, keep it that way! Use a paper towel to wipe down the rubber ring on a regular. It’s also a good idea to perform the techniques listed above semi-annually.


A garbage disposal can last upwards of 12 years if cleaned regularly and maintained properly. Between cleanings, be sure to treat it right!

DO: Use your garbage disposal in moderation. It’s designed to break up small food particles scraped from a plate, not entire meals.

DON’T: Place coffee grounds, egg shells, celery or potato peels in the appliance. They stop the blades and can potentially break the entire unit.

DO: Run cold water in your disposal before, during and after use.

What other commonly overlooked jobs are on your spring cleaning list? Share them below, along with any of your favorite tips and tricks to get them done.