Garbage Disposal Maintenance and Troubleshooting


Home Garbage Disposal Maintenance and Troubleshooting

By 1 January 2021 Shares

Garbage disposal maintenance and troubleshooting

After using a garbage disposal for soon time it might become dirty and even a bit smelly. Bad odors are caused by bacteria from food waste residues which forms inside the sink opening and in the garbage disposal. How can you clean a kitchen garbage disposal and how often does this need to be done?


Manufacturer maintenance advise

According to Waste King, a manufacturer of garbage disposals, it isn’t necessary to clean your disposer. The disposer is a self-cleaning device that cleans the internal parts with each use.

But what if you really want to clean the disposal and the drain? What are some tips you can follow? Below are some official tips and recommendations from InSinkErator, also a manufacturer of disposers.

  • Lemons – Neutralize bad odors by grinding citrus fruit. Put some slices inside the disposal, run some cold water and start grinding. The lemon helps to clean the inside of the disposer and releases a fresh smell.
  • Clean the baffle – The baffle is the part that sits inside the sink opening, it is also called a splash guard. This rubber part can become really dirty and smelly as well. So it is recommended to clean this part regularly with some hot water and dish soap.
  • Ice cubes – You can use ice cubes to clean the components inside the grinding chamber of the garbage disposal. It is a misconception that ice will sharpen the blades of the garbage disposal because disposers don’t contain blades but a rotating grinding plate with impellers.

There are also different kinds of cleaning agents and cleaning tools specifically for cleaning your garbage disposal at home.


More ways to clean a smelly garbage disposal

Have you already tried lemons, baffle and ice cubes? There may still be hope for your disposal. This helpful page from Compact Appliance mentions 9 ways to clean a smelly garbage disposal. We especially like method 3 and 6 mentioned on this page as they are out of the box or slightly more aggressive methods.

Check best garbage disposals

Troubleshooting a garbage disposal

As nearly all house appliances, garbage disposals have been known to have problems and small malfunctions ever so often. These problems are more likely to occur on more frequent bases with low power devices, but this can also happen to high power garbage disposals, especially when they are used incorrectly.


Some of the common problems include clogging, leaks, no power in the disposal, strange noises and jams. These following links may help you with fixing your disposal as that explains, in several steps, how to fix some of the common problems. Please proceed to fix your disposal with caution and do not ever put your hands in it.

Video: How to Fix a Garbage Disposal | The Home Depot

This video covers basic guidelines to follow when you are trying to fix your disposal, addresses two types of problems you may be having and finally gives advice on how to maintain and clean your disposal.

Helpful guides:

Replacing your garbage disposal

Unfortunately, most garbage disposals don’t last forever. If your garbage disposal clogs constantly, has bad smells you can’t get rid of or is not turning on at all, it may be time to get a new one.

A common question when it comes to installing or replacing a garbage disposal is: do you need to hire a plumber to do this? The short answer is if you are a little handy, it is possible to do it yourself, but hiring a plumber is also a good option when you are worried about doing something wrong.

Video: How to Replace a Garbage Disposal | The Home Depot

This video examples some of the basics concerning garbage disposals but at around 1 minute and 30 seconds, it starts to explain how to remove and replace and old garbage disposal with a new one.

Recommended garbage disposal accessories

When you buy a new garbage disposal it usually doesn’t come with a variety of accessories, and sometimes you even need to buy essentials, such as a power cord separately. There a surprising number of accessories out there for home garbage disposals that can make their use even more pleasant. Below we have created a shortlist of the most popular garbage disposal accessories that you may want to know about.


These accessories can be anything from a power cord to cleaning agents or a sound muffler or air switch. When choosing your accessories it is very important to check that it is compatible with your garbage disposal. Buying a Waste King mount for an InSinkErator disposal will probably not end well. Below you can find our list of 9 popular garbage disposal accessories we think you may enjoy.


  1. Garbage Disposal Power Cord KitConnect the disposal to electricity
  2. Sink Top Air Switch KitActivate your disposal with the push of a button
  3. Dishwasher Connector KitConnect to the dishwasher
  4.  Stopper and Splash GuardPrevent splashing and muffle sound
  5. EZ Mount Sink Flange KitMetal mount with splash guard and flange kit
  6. Quiet Collar Sink BaffleSplash guard and odor prevention
  7. Garbage Disposal Installation KitInstall your disposal yourself
  8. Garbage Disposer BrushClean disposals with a brush, not your fingers
  9. Garbage Disposer Foaming CleanerClean efficiently with right cleaners


InSinkErator Garbage Disposal Power Cord

This is an essential part of your garbage disposal. It connects the disposal to electricity so it has power to run and shredder. Some disposal brands, like InSinkErator don’t always include this in the package. Therefore, you may need to buy it separately, if it is your first disposal from that brand. Make sure the cord is appropriate for your specific disposal.

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Sink Top Air Switch Kit

An Air Switch is one of the most popular and sought after accessories. Sometimes a disposal comes with a switch but usually you need to buy it separately. An Air Switch is a literally a button that can be installed in you counter top which can activate the disposal. This means you don’t need to reach into your cabinet every time. Make sure the Air Switch is appropriate for your specific disposal.

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InSinkErator Dishwasher Connector Kit

Connecting your garbage disposal to your dishwasher is also an option you may want to consider. This means you don’t need to rinse your dishes before the dishwasher, because the disposal will take care of any leftover food scraps stuck to your dishes or cutlery. This is especially handy in a large household or one with little kids. Be careful to purchase a connector that fits both your dishwasher and disposal.

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Waste King Stopper and Splash Guard

A stopper or splash guard are the solution to contents slapping out of your garbage disposal while is it busy shredding leftovers. The stopper or splash guard are basically a lid to your drain. What main people don’t know is that they also help muffle the noise of your disposal a little bit. Make sure to purchase a stopper or splash guard that fits both your drain and disposal.

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Waste King EZ Mount Sink Flange Kit

Waste King garbage disposal are a very popular brand and affordable. Although the motor is very strong the exterior shell and mount tend to be made of somewhat more flimsy materials, and this cause the machines to be noisier than its competitors. However, Waste King sell separate metal mount for their disposals which are of higher quality can reduce the noise level. Be sure to purchase a mount the fits your disposal.

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InSinkErator Quiet Collar Sink Baffle

A baffle is installed between the disposal and your sink drain. It is ultimately a somewhat sturdier version of a splash guard. A baffle prevents splashing, but it is also used to help with bad doors escaping from disposals and it is also even more effective in muffling noise than a normal splash guard is. Don’t forget to make sure that the baffle fits your specific disposal.

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Plumbcraft Garbage Disposal Installation Kit

Some people with handy skills prefer to install their garbage disposal by themselves rather than hiring a plumber or handyman to do it for them. To do it yourself you need some tools and other parts, like pipes. There are special installation kits you can purchase which have all the parts (not tools) you may need to install your disposal. Don’t forget to pay attention to if the kit is for your disposal.

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Mr. Scrappy Garbage Disposer Brush

As you are disposing for organic waste in your garbage disposal it is important to keep it clean so it doesn’t get nasty and start to smell too. Of course, you are not supposed to stick your hands in it as that is extremely dangerous. Instead of your finger you can use special brushes to scrub the section where your drain connects to the disposal.

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Glisten Garbage Disposer Foaming Cleaner

Since you dispose for organic waste in your garbage disposal it is important to keep it clean so it doesn’t get nasty and start to smell. However, the inside of the actual disposal is hard to get to and taking the whole machine apart every time it needs cleaning is impractical. The solution to these problems are cleaning agents that you pour down the drain which will clear your disposal from the inside for you.

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By 1 January 2021 Shares