Garbage disposals may be dark, dangerous holes full of sharp spinning teeth, but they love too! It’s important they are cleaned regularly, to keep them functioning and to reduce buildup of smelly bacteria and drain-clogging gunk.

If you’re looking to clean your garbage disposal, but don’t want to use traditional, chemical-filled products then this article is for you! Read on for five simple, eco-friendly ways to clean your garbage disposal.

5 Ways to Naturally Clean Your Garbage Disposal

  1. Baking soda and vinegar: When these two combine, the resulting chemical reaction creates a powerful foamy mixture that is perfect for cleaning out garbage disposals. Start by sprinkling a ¼ – ½ cup of baking soda down your drain. Then pour approximately one cup of vinegar on top of the baking soda. There will be an intense chemical reaction resulting in lots of bubbles, possibly coming up out of the drain! This is what we want to happen. Let this foam mixture sit for 5-10 minutes, then pour boiling water down the drain to clear everything out. 
  2. Ice cubes: Toss a few ice cubes down the drain and turn on the garbage disposal for 1-2 minutes, or until they are fully broken up. Grinding ice cubes in this way is a surprisingly effective method for cleaning and even sharpening the blades of your garbage disposal. You can also add some rock salt to the ice cubes for an extra cleaning boost. 
  3. Vinegar cubes: An alternative to the ice-cube/salt combo above is to grind up frozen vinegar-cubes instead. 
  4. Citrus peels: Any citrus will work here – lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits – take your pick! In the same vein as the ice cube trick above, grinding citrus peels for a minute or two is a great way to clean your garbage disposal’s cutting blades. The rough rinds will remove any gunk stuck to the blades, and the anti-bacterial citrus oils will both kill germs and leave your drain smelling delicious. For particularly dirty and/or stinky drains, you can also cut a lemon/lime in half and grind up the halves “whole”. 
  5. Borax: Also known as sodium borate, borax is a natural anti-septic powder found in many hand-soaps and laundry detergents. Sprinkle 3-4 TBSP down your drain, let sit for an hour or so, then flush with boiling water.

For help keeping your garbage disposal clean and unclogged, make sure to check out the Danco Disposal Genie! This tool partially blocks the drain, allowing water and small food particles to pass through, while keeping larger things like utensils and valuables from slipping down the drain.