Using ice to clean your garbage disposal – 4 tricks experts use in their kitchen

Thinking of using ice to clean your garbage disposal? This plumber-approved method will leave you with an odor-free space, fast

Using ice to clean your garbage disposal
(Image credit: deVOL)

If you're considering using ice to clean your garbage disposal, then it's likely that your unit is causing you some trouble. However, this is only inevitable when you consider its role in the kitchen. Your garbage disposal unit deals with a mixture of foods daily, so it's only inevitable that it will start to run slower and produce an unpleasant odor after some time. 

While using something as simple and as natural as ice may seem like an ineffective way to tackle harsh grime, it is, in fact, one of the most powerful ways to clean a kitchen sink that you can try. 

Here's everything you need to know about this simple but effective kitchen cleaning tip. 

Using ice to clean your garbage disposal – expert-approved steps to success 

Small kitchen color

(Image credit: deVOL)

'If you have a garbage disposal and you notice an unpleasant smell around your sink, you may need to clean your garbage disposal,' says Jake Romano, the Manager at John the Plumber

Jake explains that the food particles are likely to cause an unpleasant odor after they accumulate inside the machine, so it's important to clean your garbage disposal often. But Jake doesn't use chemicals or invasive techniques. Instead, he uses ice. Here's how he does it. 

1. Empty the ice into the sink  

First, you should take your ice from the freezer and empty it into the sink. Then you should turn on your cold water (but not on full blast). Before running the garbage disposal, you should fill the drain with as much ice as possible. 

2. Turn on your garbage disposal 

After filling your drain with ice, and (important!) removing your hands from the area, you are ready to turn on the garbage disposal. 

'Be warned that it's possible that this trips the breaker,' Jake says. 'As the garbage disposal is running, you may notice all sorts of grime and gunk rise up from the drain. That's perfectly normal; in fact, it's good. It means that the ice is breaking some of that matter out.'

3. Add more ice into your drain  

As the ice clears, Jake recommends adding more into the drain, but this step comes with a caution. 'I'd recommend using a utensil to keep your hands safe. Just don't stick your hand into the line of fire,' Jake says. He adds that you may need to repeat this step several times, as some of the residues can be very difficult to dislodge.

4. Finish with citrus fruits 

Yellow base cabinet and marble textured sink with brass tap, green wooden shelf

(Image credit: deVOL)

Finally, the vice president of operations for Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, Michael Green, suggests cutting up some wedges of your favorite citrus fruits and placing them down the disposal – to minimize any odors that may return. 

'Fruits such as lemons and oranges will help neutralize any odor and keep your drain smelling fresh,' he says. Michael adds that you should remember to run cool water when placing the wedges in your disposal to maximize its success. 

Will you be using ice to clean your garbage disposal in the future? This expert trick will keep your kitchen running smoothly without (almost) any cost – and we're trialling it right away

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.