Finding a fast, easy way to clean your garbage disposal might seem like a dream come true, but viral video hacks claiming to leave your system cleaner can end up doing more harm than good. Before you head to TikTok for a crash course in cleaning your garbage disposal, you might want to read up on why plumbing professionals advise against using these methods and what you can do instead to get your system squeaky clean!
Why These Garbage Disposal Cleaning Hacks Don’t Work the Way You Think
The Ice Method
Search for a garbage disposal cleaning hack online, and you’ll likely be led to a series of viral TikTok videos of various DIYers shoving as many ice cubes as possible into their systems. After running the disposal, they turn on the hot water, causing a nasty, brown liquid to bubble up from the disposal. According to the videos, this liquid is evidence that the hack is doing its job and pulling the gunk from your drain. However, that’s not exactly the truth.
Stuffing ice cubes down the disposal to full capacity can actually clog your drain line. When this happens, and the hot water is turned on while your disposal is in use, the dark water that bubbles to the surface is actually wastewater backing up into your sink — gross.
The Bleach Method
Some homeowners may think that sending bleach, ammonia, or other abrasive liquids down their garbage disposal systems might be the most effective way to clean them. However, these cleaning agents can do more damage to your septic tank, pipes, and disposal impellers due to their increased corrosiveness compared to other cleaning methods. Over time, using these substances repeatedly to clean your system can eat away at the garbage disposal and your pipes, leading them to break down prematurely.
The Hand Method
While it’s rare that homeowners attempt to dislodge whatever blockage is affecting their garbage disposal by inserting their hands into their systems, it has happened. Contrary to popular belief, garbage disposals do not have blades. Instead, they have impellers that use centrifugal force to spin food against a stationary grind ring. You might not amputate a finger by sticking your hand down the disposal as you might think, but you still could end up with a nasty injury.
How To Clean Your Garbage Disposal the Right Way
If you’re looking for a fast, easy way to clean your garbage disposal, plumbers recommend following the steps below:
- Step one: Add a few ice cubes to your disposal.
- Step two: Sprinkle in some coarse rock or sea salt and a few lemon wedges.
- Step three: Turn on the cold water and run the disposal until the ice is cleared.
By adding the salt, you’ll be able to clean the disposal blades more effectively. The lemon wedges work to neutralize odors so that your sink smells citrusy fresh. Making this a part of your kitchen cleaning routine is a great way to keep strong odors from stinking up your culinary space. By incorporating this cleaning routine and keeping certain materials from entering your disposal in the first place, you’ll be able to keep your garbage disposal running smoothly for years to come.
When To Contact a Plumber for Garbage Disposal Service
Sometimes, the only way to remove a clog from your garbage disposal is through professional assistance. If your garbage disposal needs repair or maintenance, Len The Plumber has the plumbing experts you need to get the job done right.