Lemons in the Garbage Disposal

The first time I had a garbage disposal was 3 years ago when we moved to California, I had a general idea of what was ok to go in (mushy cereal), and what was not (raw veggies), but I had no idea how to clean it or really, what actually needed to be cleaned. I mean, it’s not like I clean the kitchen pipes, so it just didn’t occur to me to venture past the little flap in the drain.

The only reason I even started cleaning the garbage disposal was that my white porcelain sinks were looking really scratched up from metal pans and knives and a friend with similar sinks recommended a product to me (Bar Keepers Friend) and while I was researching it I came across articles and how to’s on cleaning garbage disposals.

All you need is some soap, an old toothbrush, a lemon and some rock salt.

If you really want a good look at how gross my sink looked even after it had been cleaned and then bleached click here. It was clean and germ free, but it looked totally dirty!


The picture on the left has favorable lighting so you are not really getting the full effect. One fast scrubbing with the Bar Keeper’s Friend and it was prefect. I decided I’d keep going with cleaning the sink because I really had no idea how gross it might be.


First, I squirted dish soap around the silver trim of the garbage disposal and scrubbed that with the toothbrush and got in the grooves of the letters, then I rinsed. Next I squirted the dish soap all over the black rubber flap that leads into the disposal and scrubbed it, it got gross when I started scrubbing the underside of the rubber flap. Yuck. Be sure to scrub both sides of the flap itself and the lip where this flap meets the trim of the disposal on the underside where you can’t see. You can feel it with the toothbrush, don’t worry you don’t have to actually touch it.

I rinsed and rinsed and it was looking really shiny now and I was more confident that it wasn’t riddled with hidden germs, hooray. I did decide to do the last step I had read about online but I was worried it might damage the disposal. Would Google lie to me? Surely, Pinterest must have my back! So I went for it. I roughly cut up a lemon and plunked it in my drain with the water on and the disposal running. I’m not going to lie, it made a freaky noise for about 20 seconds, but the kitchen smelled like what Better Homes and Gardens magazine looks like. Then I poured in some of the rock salt and of course the disposal kicked it around and it make some weird noises but then? Then it sounded brand new! The purpose of the rock salt is to loosen any stuck debris that might be messing with the blades. I didn’t realize I had any stuck debris, but judging from the purring noise the disposal was making (a noise it hasn’t made in almost a year), I did and I fixed it!

I have been using the Bar Keeper’s Friend everytime I do dishes, and I think I will do this once a week on kitchen day.

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