Chicago Plumbing How-Tos: Cleaning Your Garbage Disposal

Chicago Plumbing How-Tos: Cleaning Your Garbage Disposal

As the #1 residential service plumber on Chicago’s Northwest Side, Vanguard Plumbing & Sewer is the right resource for Chicago plumbing how-tos like this one – how to clean your garbage disposal without harsh chemicals or fancy tools. Of course, if your garbage disposal is beyond cleaning then it’s easy enough for our five-star rated plumbers to transition to garbage disposal installation when you need it.

In our ongoing efforts to save our customers money – you know, by not having to call us every time there’s a minor issue to address, we’re going to give you a step-by-step process by which you can clean your Chicago garbage disposal and have it looking and smelling a whole lot better. You can also call (773) 633-6139 for more direct answers should you need them.

Time to Gather Up Your Garbage Disposal Cleaning Tools

Before you even begin to gather what you’ll need to clean your Northwest Side garbage disposal we need to make one thing very, very clear – you should not ever, every put your hand inside a garbage disposal. It doesn’t matter if the power is off or not. It’s a rule you simply cannot break so hammer it into your mind right now.

Okay, now that we’ve settled that it’s time to get the tools and supplies you’re going to need to properly clean your Northwest Side garbage disposal. These include all of the following (though you may not need everything it’s good to have it on-hand):

  • Vinegar
  • Rock Salt
  • Dish Soap
  • Baking Soda
  • Dozen Ice Cubes
  • Flashlight
  • Toothbrush
  • Needle-Nose Pliers

Cleaning Garbage Disposal – 1st Step: As we mentioned above, the very fist thing we want to think about is that we’re not going to put our hand down the garbage disposal for any reason whatsoever. Once that’s firmly in our minds we can take the first step in cleaning the garbage disposal – turning off the power. Usually the plug can be found underneath the sink so just unplug it before moving to step 2.

If there is no plug you’ll need to turn power off at the breaker box. You’ll know you switched the right breaker when the unit no longer turns on. Make 100% sure it’s off before going on to the next step.

Cleaning Garbage Disposal – 2nd Step: Use your light to look down into the garbage disposal and see if there’s anything wrapped around the blades, or impellers, that can be removed with your needle-nosed pliers. Sometimes material can get tightly wrapped so you’ll need to be firm without damaging the blades or the mechanism. Look thoroughly and do your best to get anything you see out of there before you go on to step 3.

Cleaning Garbage Disposal – 3rd Step: Take your dozen ice cubes and about a half cup to a full cup of rock salt and dump it all down the disposal. Now plug the unit back in again, or switch on the breaker, and turn on the water. Let the garbage disposal run uninterrupted for a full minute before switching it off again. Use your light to check the blades to see if they look clean to you and if so unplug or disconnect the power again and move on to step 4.

If your blades still look like they’re dirty just repeat step 3 until they’re clean. Running water with ice and rock salt should quickly abrade any material from the metal leaving you with a clean impeller unit.

Cleaning Garbage Disposal – 4th Step: Next up you’re going to take about a cup of vinegar and a half a cup of baking soda and combine them in your garbage disposal. This is going to create a fizzy substance that will fill up all the areas inside your garbage disposal and impact hard to reach areas. It also kills most bacteria it comes in contact with so let the combination sit for 15-20 minutes as it works its magic. best of all, this process eliminates chemical cleaners completely so you and your family are safer.

Cleaning Garbage Disposal – 5th Step: Now you want to combine those two ingredients – baking soda and vinegar – in the same amounts outside the garbage disposal. Do it in a cup or bowl and then use the toothbrush to mix it thoroughly. Use the paste it creates to scrub the rubber flap covering of your garbage disposal and let it sit for the same 15-20 minutes as the interior. The paste is killing bacteria and eliminating odors that cling to the rubber just as they do to the insides of your garbage disposal unit so allow it time to work.

Cleaning Garbage Disposal – 6th Step: Okay, we’re done with the majority of our garbage disposal cleaning work but we still need to clear away all of our cleaning materials from inside and outside the garbage disposal. Plug the unit back in again and then place a stopper in the sink so you can fill it 2/3 of the way full of water. Add the dish soap and remove the stopper from the sink. Turn the garbage disposal on and let it run while the water flushes. This will wash away all thew soap, baking soda and vinegar leaving you with a unit that smells as good as it functions.

Pro Plumbing Tip: Clean Chicago Garbage Disposals Every Two Weeks!

Hopefully this article has made it easy for you to take care of regular kitchen sink garbage disposal cleaning at your Northwest Side home. It’s a great way to maintain a healthier household and the tools and supplies it takes are probably already lying around your house somewhere. Take the initiative and have your Northwest Side garbage disposal looking and smelling better in no time. Or call (773) 633-6139 for any garbage disposal plumbing needs you have on Chicago’s Northwest Side!

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Vanguard Plumbing & Sewer is a local, family-owned plumbing company with decades of experience delivering the finest service to Chicago and its northern suburbs.

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Vanguard Plumbing

Vanguard Plumbing & Sewer
Phone: (773) 633-6139
Location: 4352 N. Kenneth Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60641

Business Hours:
Monday – Friday: 7:00 AM–5:00 PM
Saturday: 7:00 AM–3:00 PM
Sunday: Closed

City & State Licensing:
Chicago Sewer: #2422
Illinois Contractor: #055-043043
Chicago Contractor: #SBC196464