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Does Cleaning a Garbage Disposal With Ice Really Work?

April 6, 2024

Garbage disposals can come in handy. With the press of a button, they’ll pulverize food particles from your dirty dishes; there’s no need to scrape them into the trash and you won’t have to deal with any smells.

Like all kitchen appliances, however, they have to be maintained regularly, and that means cleaning them now and then. That will prevent food scraps from building up inside, which can lead to clogs and odors.

For example, you can clean your garbage disposal with white vinegar and baking soda. Ice cubes are another option.

What’s the best way to clean a garbage disposal with ice? Do you just drop them into the sink drain? For the answers, be sure to keep reading!

How to Clean Your Garbage Disposal With Ice Cubes

how to clean your garbage disposal with ice cubesFirst things first, you’ll want to prepare the ice cubes – either with an ice tray in the freezer or with an ice maker.

Tip: We highly recommend sanitizing the rubber splash guard (the circular piece around the drain) before cleaning the garbage disposal. For example, you can clean it using an all-purpose cleaner and an old toothbrush.

Place the ice cubes in a large bowl or glass and pour them down the drain. Don’t worry if they don’t all fit – you don’t need to completely stuff the garbage disposal for the method to work.

Next, add one cup of dish soap – it’ll help wash away any grease or gunk that’s covering the blades. If you want, you can also add half a cup of lemon juice or baking soda for extra deodorizing power.

Once you’ve poured everything down the drain, turn on the unit. The ice will gradually turn a brownish color as the disposal blades pulverize it into small pieces, which will help remove any food residue that’s stuck underneath.

Turn off the garbage disposal and rinse it with water. To do that, simply use a stopper and fill up the sink with water. Once the sink is full, remove the stopper and run the disposal again – the flow of water will help get rid of any leftover residue.

Potential Issues with the Ice Cubes Cleaning Method

It Won’t Be Enough to Eliminate Odors

The ice cubes will help remove any food scraps that are stuck beneath the disposal blades. Without a cleaning agent, however, they likely won’t be enough to eliminate all the odors – that’s why it’s so important to add dish soap, along with the ice.

Adding lemon juice is another option. Avoid adding lemon peels as they can damage or clog the drain.

Using Too Many Ice Cubes Can Cause Blockages

using too many ice cubes cause blockagesDepending on how many ice cubes you use, it can also cause issues in the pipes. For example, stuffing too much ice down the disposal unit can clog the drain line, which can cause black water to come back up into the kitchen sink.

To prevent that, only add the necessary amount of ice down the sink. Don’t overstuff it with ice cubes.

Hot Water May Break Down Oils and Fats

Using hot water to clean the garbage disposal can be problematic as it may melt the fats and oils trapped deep within the drain, leading to clogs.

Given that, it’s best to rinse the garbage disposal with cold water. It’ll keep the oils and fats solid, which will allow them to pass through the drain pipes without any issues. Avoid using boiling water.

How Often Should You Clean the Garbage Disposal With Ice?

How often you need to clean the disposal depends on how often you use it. For example, if you use it every day, it’s probably best to clean it every week – that will prevent odors, clogging, and gunk buildup.

If you only use your disposal now and then, you can probably get away with cleaning it once every month.

ACTIVE Garbage Disposal Cleaner – An Alternative to Ice

active disposal cleanerACTIVE Disposal Cleaner is specially formulated to deep clean garbage disposals. Not only will it remove food scraps and grime but it’ll also eliminate odors, leaving a fresh scent.

The tablets are septic-safe as well so they won’t wreak havoc on your septic system.

They’re super easy to use too. Simply turn on the disposal, toss in one to two tablets, and run cold water for a minute or so, until all the foam drains.

You’ll get your money’s worth as one box comes with 24 tablets, which can last up to one year.

Garbage Disposal Ice Cube Cleaning Method – FAQs

Should you run cold or warm water after adding ice and dish soap?

It’s best to use cold water – you don’t want to use warm or hot water as it can melt the fats, leading to clogs in the pipes.

Can I use drain cleaners to unclog the disposal?

Avoid using drain cleaner and other harsh chemicals as they can cause significant damage to your pipes over time.

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Picture of Ethan Clarke

Ethan Clarke

Ethan Clarke is a seasoned expert in appliances and household waste systems. Referencing his extensive experience as an appliance repairman, Ethan shares his invaluable knowledge through detailed maintenance & troubleshooting manuals. Ethan’s insights help homeowners understand and maintain their appliances efficiently, ensuring longevity and optimal performance. He’s here to provide practical, easy-to-follow advice for all your appliance needs.

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