How to Clean Garbage Disposal with Baking Soda and Vinegar

Your garbage disposal is one of the most hardworking components of your kitchen. Its job is to chew up and spit out anything you send into it, on a daily basis… so you can probably imagine just how dirty it can get over time.

Honestly, cleaning it is a drag. It’s not a fun task, and it’s time-consuming. However, it’s an absolutely necessary undertaking. Unless you clean your garbage disposal, you run the risk of having to deal with foul odors or even clogged pipes.

Thankfully, two readily available items in your home can help you tackle the issue: baking soda and vinegar.

So today, I’m going to tell you how to use those ingredients to clean your garbage disposal.

Why Baking Soda and Vinegar

If you thought baking soda and vinegar were the stuff of science fair volcano projects, think again.

When you put the two together, the resulting reaction manifests in a lot of bubbles and foam. This is due to the acid in vinegar reacting with the base in baking soda. You end up with a lot of carbon dioxide, which is quickly broken down into a combination of water.

The final product is significant in a lot of situations, but most importantly, they create a powerful cleaning solution. Creating this solution is easily achievable and instantly usable for many home cleaning situations.

Best of all, of course, is the fact these ingredients are inexpensive and are probably already available to you. Furthermore, the harmful component lye, which is found in commercial garbage disposal solutions, is missing from the baking soda and vinegar solution.

Vinegar Image from
Baking Soda
Baking Soda image from

Things You’ll Need

Before you set about cleaning your garbage disposal, first make sure you have the following items.

  • Hot water (boiling or moderately lower temperatures)
  • A ¼ cup of baking soda
  • 1 cup of vinegar
  • 2 cups of ice
  • A ½ cup of salt
  • Coldwater
  • Optional: the lemon peel.

Cleaning the Garbage Disposal

First, wash out your sink with cold water from the sink. Make sure that there are no food particles that may make their way into the sink.

Now, turn on the hot water tap. Let it run for a minute while you prepare your baking soda. Remember, you only need a ¼ cup.

After the one minute is up, it’s time to drop the baking soda. You need it put it into the drain. Let the garbage disposal run for 7-10 seconds. Now, wait for 10 minutes. Text a friend or watch TV while you wait!

Once the 10 minutes are over, now it’s time to bring in the vinegar. Take 1 cup, and pour it into the drain. You should hear a fizzing, sizzling sort of sound as the vinegar and baking soda come into contact. So satisfying!

Wait for 3-4 minutes as the vinegar and baking soda do their job. Then it’s time to turn on the hot water tap again. Let it rinse out, then turn on the disposal once more, for about a minute this time.

Now for the final step! Take your 2 cups of ice and a ½ cup of salt, then fill the drain with them. Turn on the cold water tap and leave it on until all the ice has melted. This will have the effect of getting rid of any remaining food debris.

Dealing with Odor

This is a completely optional step, but it’s one that you definitely won’t regret going through with.

As I’ve already mentioned before, dirt and food build-up over time can contribute to an unpleasant odor. Especially considering what goes into the garbage disposal, you can imagine the extent. So, while this step will take up more of your time, it’s definitely worth it.

Lemon isn’t absolutely necessary; any citrus fruit, such as lime, orange, or grapefruit, will do. Peel the fruit then cut up the peel.

Now, turn on the cold water tap, followed by your garbage disposal. Now drop in the fruit peel once at a time and let the disposal do its job. Remember to keep the water running at the same time!

This will have the effect of leaving your garbage disposal smelling fresh. Plus, the acid in the citrus will also have a cleansing effect.

Taking Better Care of Your Garbage Disposal

Congrats! You’ve succeeded in cleaning out your garbage disposal. Give yourself a pat on the back. Now, let’s discuss a few foods/ingredients that you should try to avoid dropping into your garbage disposal.

First on the list are eggshells. There is a common myth that dropping eggshells into the disposal will sharpen the blades inside. Not only is this not true, it can actually have the opposite effect. This is because the sticky mem, brane inside an eggshell can adhere to the grinders.

Another common misconception is that putting coffee grounds inside the disposal will lead to odor elimination. While that may be true, coffee grounds can actually also clog your drain if they accumulate.

Finally, you should always avoid putting grease or oil down the drain. This is because, at a certain temperature, these materials will always solidify. Once that happens, you could potentially end up with a severe pipe blockage.


So now you not only know how to clean your garbage disposal with readily available ingredients but also what not to do.

I wish you luck on your cleaning endeavors. May you always have a clean garbage disposal!

Leave a Comment