Best Garbage Disposal Cleaners of 2020

Updated
Categories Garbage Disposal
It’s at your disposal which disposal cleaner you use. 

A garbage disposal is a handy way to break down food waste and dispose of it. But of course, a system like this can get pretty dirty and smelly.

That’s why we’re here to recommend the best garbage disposal cleaners.

These bad boys tackle bad smells, food waste and bacteria build up.


How Often Should You Clean Your Garbage Disposal?

Aim to clean your garbage disposal once a week, but at least every two weeks. If you’re going to be out of town for a little while, always clean your garbage disposal before you go. Otherwise, food that’s sitting in there can start to rot.

Types of Garbage Disposal Cleaners

There are a few different types so you can find something that is easiest and most effective for you.

Tablets and Pods

Grab Green Natural Garbage Disposal Cleaner, Deoderizer & Freshener Pods, Thyme + Fig Leaf—With Essential Oils, 12 Pods, Plant & Mineral-Based Ingredients
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Tablets and pods are the easiest to use. Simply drop the pod into the garbage disposal, run warm water, turn the unit on and let the pod do the hard work! Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for more specific advice.

We recommend doing this weekly, which won’t be too difficult with pods. Pods are also usually cheaper than liquid cleaner.


Liquid

Drano Max Gel Drain Clog Remover and Cleaner for Shower or Sink Drains, Unclogs and Removes Hair, Soap Scum, Blockages, 80 oz
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Liquid garbage disposal cleaner is also easy to use, although it’s more expensive. However, it’s great for clogs and its thick consistency helps to unblock the system.

Simply pour the recommended amount down the drain and wait. This varies depending on the brand, but it works best overnight — so you do need to plan ahead.


Brushes

Mr. Scrappy Universal Garbage Disposal Brush, Sturdy Grip Handle, 11-Inches
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Brushes are great for loosening dirt, food waste, bacteria and debris inside your garbage disposal.

We like that they’re easy to use and super affordable. They work best in conjunction with a chemical cleaner, as the brushes themselves don’t come with any cleaning solution. So while it might tidy up your garbage disposal, it doesn’t do a deep clean.


Powder

Glisten Disposer Care Cleaner with Foaming Bleach Alternative. Clean and Deodorize Your Garbage Disposal. Fresh Lemon Scent
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Powder garbage disposal cleaners aren’t as common. They usually come in little packets to ensure the correct amount and maximum convenience for the user.

Depending on the manufacturer instructions, they work similar to pods. Just place them over your garbage disposal and run water. Similar to liquid, powder is a more expensive choice.


Kits

Sani Sticks Sani 360 Garbage Disposal Cleaner Kit —Lemon Scent, 10oz Bottle of Foam with Cleaning Brush and Tray - 8 to 10 Uses
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A garbage disposal cleaning kit comes with a cleaning solution and a brush. This means you can save a bit of money, and also get products that work well together. This ensures a deep clean since the solution can loosen dirt and kill bacteria, while the brush can scrap away loosened debris.


How to Choose the Best Garbage Disposal Cleaner

What details should you consider when shopping for a garbage disposal cleaner?

Preference

Consider your personal preference. Some families prefer liquid solutions over powder, and vice versa. Some people love a scented product, while others don’t. There are many options for cleaners, so choose one that you’ll enjoy using as well as considering its cleaning power.

Toxicity

Always look at the ingredients when buying a cleaning product.

Some of our recommendations are natural, utilizing organic materials to create their product. Others use synthetic materials which can be harmful to some people. This is especially so if you have asthma, allergies or respiratory problems.

Still, it’s worth noting that some synthetic materials are good for a deeper clean. They may be the way to go if you’re stuck and desperately need to unblock a unit.

Septic Safety

Check that your cleaner is compatible with septic systems. It’s important to use a cleaner that won’t ruin your septic system.

Odor Control

If you hate the bad smells your garbage disposal emits, get a cleaner with odor control. You could also choose a scented cleaner which will leave a lovely aroma behind.

Ease of Use

Lastly, consider how easy the cleaner is to use. Pods, tablets and powders are easiest to use in our opinion. But liquids, and even foams, might be easier, especially if that’s what you’re used to using in your other cleaning routines.


The Best Garbage Disposal Cleaners of 2020

We’ve spent hours researching garbage disposal cleaners. In addition to studying expert advice and reading customer reviews, we’ve applied our own insight. We have combined our list of the seven best garbage disposal cleaners below.

1. BioWonder Septic Tank Treatment

Best Natural Garbage Disposal Cleaner

BioWonder Septic Tank Treatment - 3X More Powerful - 100% Organic Enzymes & Bacteria - Perfect for Disposals, Septic System, RV's, Drains, Toilets - 2lbs 60 Treatments
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Many garbage disposal cleaners use natural ingredients to an extent. However, the BioWonder Septic Tank Treatment uses 100% natural ingredients.

This amazing product also has multiple uses so you can use it for all kinds of jobs. Of course, it works wonders in garbage disposals. It attacks bad odors and even eliminates drain flies. However, you can also use it in septic tanks, sinks, toilets, showers, floor drains, porta-potties and much more.

BioWonder contains three billion CFU (bacteria per gram) and six unique strains of bacteria to give you the deepest clean of your septic system. This is about three times more powerful than other septic treatments.

Customers absolutely love how well this works to fix clogs and reduce odors. With BioWonder, your garbage disposal will look (and smell) brand new again!

PROS:
  • 100% natural ingredients.
  • Multi-purpose.
  • Three times more powerful than other septic treatments.
  • Reduces odors.
CONS:
  • You must wait six hours before using drains again.

Additional Specs

TypePowder
IngredientsNatural
Septic SafeYes
OdorFights odors
Number of Uses60

2. Plink Garbage Disposer Cleaner and Deodorizer

Best Deodorizing Garbage Disposal Cleaner

Plink Garbage Disposer Cleaner and Deodorizer, Lemon, 40 Count, 2 Pack
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Bad smells getting you down? Embarrassed when you have guests over? Then you need the Plink Garbage Disposal Cleaner and Deodorizer tablets!

These tablets are designed by plumbers and begin working in just seconds. They break open to fight bad odors in the garbage disposal unit. Then they dissolve fatty deposits and break up food particles which both prevents clogging and attacks the source of bad smells.

To use, run a gentle stream of warm water. Add the Plink ball to the garbage disposal, and turn it on. In seconds, it will fight odors and clean your unit. Not only will it make your unit smell clean, it will make your whole kitchen smell amazing.

PROS:
  • Fights bad odors.
  • Easy to use.
  • Fresh lemon scent.
CONS:
  • May need to use a few to get the scent strong enough.

Additional Specs

TypeTablets
IngredientsSynthetic and natural blend
Septic SafeYes
OdorFights odors
Number of Uses40

3. Glisten Disposer Care Cleaner

Best Powdered Garbage Disposal Cleaner

Glisten Disposer Care Cleaner with Foaming Bleach Alternative. Clean and Deodorize Your Garbage Disposal. Fresh Lemon Scent
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The Glisten Disposer Care Cleaners come in a powder form, but they’re pre-packaged for ultimate convenience. Simply drop the little packets into your garbage disposal. Turn on the water and the garbage disposal.

The cleaner will start to foam which means it’s working. When the foam subsides, after about two minutes, that means the job is finished. Super quick and convenient!

This product uses a bleach alternative to deeply clean the disposer and drain pipes.

The packages are biodegradable so you don’t need to worry about them clogging up your pipes. In fact, the packets actually have a bonus purpose. They scrub tough grunge and build-up from the unit to give it a good clean and reduce odors.

Overall, these Glisten Care Cleaner packs freshen and clean your disposer, leaving behind a fresh scent.

PROS:
  • Convenient packets that are biodegradable.
  • Cleans hard-to-reach places.
  • Lovely lemon scent.
  • Works in a couple of minutes.
CONS:
  • Expensive.
  • Don’t reduce odors as well as some other products.

Additional Specs

TypePowder (in packs)
Ingredients45% natural ingredients
Septic SafeYes
OdorFights odors
Number of UsesFour

4. Drano Max Gel Drain Clog Remover

Best Liquid Garbage Disposal Cleaner

Drano Max Gel Drain Clog Remover and Cleaner for Shower or Sink Drains, Unclogs and Removes Hair, Soap Scum, Blockages, 80 oz
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If liquid cleaning products are your go-to, you’ll love the Drano Max Gel Drain Clog Remover. Its powerful cleaning ability can dissolve tough clogs quickly. It cuts through water and goes straight to the problem to break up the clog. It works for PVC, metal pipes, garbage disposals and septic systems.

Although a lot of liquids require an overnight treatment, the Drano Gel works in as little as 15 minutes. So you can go from a dirty garbage disposal to a spotless one in a short time.

Not that you have hair in your garbage disposal, but this product is strong enough to break up hair clogs. So imagine what it can do to the food, bacteria and dirt build up in your garbage disposal. Plus, this multi-purpose product is great to have in the house because it works in all other drains!

Just note that this is an expensive product because you need to use ⅕ of the bottle each time you use it.

PROS:
  • Unclogs drains quickly.
  • Safe on PVC and metal pipes, as well as septic systems.
  • Works in as little as 15 minutes.
  • Multi-purpose.
CONS:
  • Expensive.
  • Awful smell.

Additional Specs

TypeLiquid
IngredientsSynthetic, also includes bleach
Septic SafeYes
OdorIt does not fight odors
Number of UsesFive

5. Mr. Scrappy Universal Garbage Disposal Brush

Best Garbage Disposal Cleaning Brush

Mr. Scrappy Universal Garbage Disposal Brush, Sturdy Grip Handle, 11-Inches
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The useful Mr Scrappy cleaning brush can attack food waste residue in any garbage disposal unit. Removing food waste residue can immediately help with bad odors, so this is a great way to clean units and eliminate bad smells.

The sturdy cleaning bristles are stiff enough to break up stubborn and stinky debris inside the unit. Of course, you will need to rinse away the debris after using the brush. For that purpose, we recommend pairing this brush with another one of our cleaning solutions.

We think you’ll love the design of this brush. It’s 11 inches long to fit into all garbage disposal units.

The handle is sturdy and short which gives you maximum control. You can easily rotate the brush for maximum cleaning.

Even if you’ve been using a strong cleaning solution for a while, we think you’ll be surprised by how much extra gunk this brush removes.

PROS:
  • Universal fit for all garbage disposals.
  • Helps with built-up food, bacteria and odors.
  • Easy to use and rotate.
  • Works great in conjunction with a cleaning solution.
CONS:
  • The stiff nature of the brush means you can’t maneuver it into hard to reach spaces.
  • Debris and dirt flies around when you pull it out the sink. Remove slowly.

Additional Specs

TypeBrush
IngredientsNone
Septic SafeN/A
OdorFights odors by removing food buildup
Number of UsesOne year warranty

6. Grab Green Natural Garbage Disposal Cleaner

Best Pod Garbage Disposal Cleaner

Grab Green Natural Garbage Disposal Cleaner, Deoderizer & Freshener Pods, Thyme + Fig Leaf—With Essential Oils, 12 Pods, Plant & Mineral-Based Ingredients
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The Grab Green pods are very convenient for cleaning your garbage disposal. They remove odors, loosen grime and prevent future clogging.

They’re naturally scented with a thyme and fig leaf aroma, which will smell great in the kitchen! In fact, the ingredients are natural so you can leave behind toxic chemicals.

Of course, you can choose two of the other scents — tangerine and lemongrass, or red pear and magnolia — if you prefer. You can also choose a fragrance-free option.

These convenient pre-measured pods are highly effective and save hassle for you. Simply run some warm water and put the pod in the garbage disposal. Then let it run for a few minutes before turning on the garbage disposal.

Overall, customers adore how clean their kitchens smell after using these! So, if your garbage disposal is causing bad smells throughout your home — this is the way to go.

PROS:
  • Convenient pod design.
  • Naturally ingredients and scents.
  • Fights odors.
  • Helps prevent clogging.
CONS:
  • The scent doesn’t last long.
  • Doesn’t foam up, so won’t hit hard-to-reach places.

Additional Specs

TypePods
IngredientsNatural
Septic SafeYes
OdorFights odors, four scent options
Number of Uses12 pods per pack

7. Sani Sticks 360 Garbage Disposal Cleaner Kit

Best Garbage Disposal Cleaning Kit

Sani Sticks Sani 360 Garbage Disposal Cleaner Kit —Lemon Scent, 10oz Bottle of Foam with Cleaning Brush and Tray - 8 to 10 Uses
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Save your pennies by buying a garbage disposal cleaning kit. We recommend the Sai Sticks 360 kit for the ultimate deep clean.

What’s included? First, an amazing enzyme-based foam cleaner. The enzymes remove odor and organic build-up in the garbage disposal unit. This includes the sidewalls, blades, splash guard and drains.

The thick foam expands and deeply cleans hard-to-reach areas. You can either choose a lemon, lavender or unscented option. The lavender and lemon options use essential oils to help deodorize the unit and leave behind a fresh scent.

It comes with a handy brush, too. Simply insert it down the garbage disposal to scrape and scrub off build-up, providing an overall deeper clean. Once you’ve used the foam and the brush, simply turn on the tap to rinse away the solution.

PROS:
  • You save money buying a kit.
  • Thick foam expands to clean hard to reach areas.
  • Scent options.
  • Fights bad odors.
CONS:
  • The brush doesn’t fit all disposal units.
  • The brush is poor quality and the handle breaks easily.

Additional Specs

TypeKit
IngredientsMix of synthetic and natural ingredients
Septic SafeYes
OdorFights odors
Number of Uses10

Garbage Disposal Cleaner Comparison Chart

ProductBestTypeIngredientsSeptic SafeOdorNumber of Uses
BioWonder Septic Tank TreatmentNaturalPowderNaturalYesFights odors60
Plink Garbage Disposer Cleaner & DeodorizerDeodorizingTabletsSynthetic & naturalYesFights odors40
Glisten Disposer Care CleanerPowderPowder45% naturalYesFights odors4
Drano Max Gel Drain Clog RemoverLiquidLiquidSyntheticYesIt does not fight odors5
Mr. Scrappy Universal Garbage Disposal BrushCleaning BrushBrushNoneN/AFights odors x removing food buildup1
Grab Green Natural Garbage Disposal CleanerPodPodsNaturalYesFights odors, four scent options12
Sani Sticks 360 Garbage Disposal Cleaner KitCleaning KitKitMix of synthetic & naturalYesFights odors10
Jump to the Full Garbage Disposal Cleaner Reviews

Garbage Disposal Cleaner FAQs

How Do You Clean a Garbage Disposal That Smells?

Of course, most of our recommendations fight odors. So you can definitely use these cleaners. In fact, sometimes even just brushing the unit can help reduce odors.

But just in case you have run out of cleaning solution, or want to make your own, try this method.

  1. Lift the rubber flaps of the garbage disposal entrance and pour in ½ cup of baking soda.
  2. Next, pour ½ cup of distilled white vinegar into the drain. This will fizz up.
  3. Let the solution sit for one hour.
  4. Turn on the garbage disposal and run cold water for one minute.

Keep in Mind

Do this occasionally as vinegar can damage rubber elements in a garbage disposal. It’s always best to use any of our seven products, as they’ve been tested and designed to be safe!

Can You Put Bleach Down the Garbage Disposal?

No, you should never pour bleach down the garbage disposal. This can damage the unit and the pipes (1). This is especially likely if you have a septic tank.

Also, if the bleach doesn’t fully get flushed away, then it can create toxic fumes if it reacts with other chemicals later on, such as ammonia (2).

Note This

The Drano Max Gel Drain Clog Remover contains bleach and is septic safe because of additional ingredients and its chemical makeup. Just beware of using other chemicals, such as ammonia, in your household in case it does react with the bleach.

What Shouldn’t You Put Down a Garbage Disposal?

Here are some things you should never put down a garbage disposal:

  • Grease and oil: It can harden and clog your drains.
  • Coffee grounds: They can get trapped in your unit.
  • Pits and seeds: Be careful when disposing of fruit waste.
  • Stringy fruit and vegetables: The stringy bits, like that from celery, can wrap around the blades.
  • Rice, oatmeal and pasta: They expand in water so can easily clog the unit.
  • Egg shells and onion layers: The membrane part can wrap around the blades.
  • Animal bones: Although most units can handle bones, it’s best to avoid.
  • Potato peels: They can turn into a starchy paste.
  • Non-food: Don’t toss paper or wrappers or other junk down the garbage disposal.
  • Nuts: When nuts get ground and chopped up, they turn into butter.

Can You Use Vinegar to Clean a Garbage Disposal?

Yes — vinegar and baking soda together can clean and deodorize a garbage disposal.

You can also use boiling water to loosen dirt and kill bacteria.

Also try a mixture of ice and salt. Fill the drain with two cups of ice and a cup of rock salt. Run cold water and turn on the garbage disposal until the ice and salt mixture is gone. The abrasive texture of the salt and ice will loosen dirt and debris from the unit, giving it a good clean.

You can also add lime or lemon to your garbage disposal to give it a quick clean. Cut the lime and lemon into small pieces and add them to the garbage disposal while it’s turned on. This also attacks bad odors. Do this infrequently as the pieces can get caught in the drain lines and either rot or clog.

Can a Garbage Disposal Make Your Dishwasher Stink?

Yep, it can! Your garbage disposal and dishwasher are likely using the same hose. Disconnect the hose from your garbage disposal and you’ll be able to smell if that’s where the stench is coming from. You’ll need to clean the hose and your garbage disposal to fix this issue.

Why Does a Garbage Disposal Smell Bad?

Unfortunately, there are a few causes for stinky garbage disposals.

  • Rotting food: If you don’t clean it regularly, food and grease can start to rot.
  • Mold: The warm wet environment is the ideal breeding ground for mold and bacteria. These can lead to bad smells.
  • Sewer gases: If the trap in your sink isn’t working, sewer gases can sneak in which is both smelly and hazardous.

Can You Plunge a Sink With a Garbage Disposal?

If your garbage disposal is clogged, you can use a plunger if the clog is in the disposal drain pipe. But if the clog is in the unit, you need to clear it out before plunging the drain.

Check the manufacturer’s guidance for your unit on how best to do this. Overall, it should be feasible to do by yourself, but definitely call a plumber if it’s not working out.

How Many Years Does a Garbage Disposal Last?

A good one should last about 10 years, but hopefully up to 15 (3). Warranty times range from one to 20 years.

How Much Does a Plumber Charge to Fix a Garbage Disposal?

Plumber prices depend on where you live, but it varies between $70 and $400 (4).


At Your Disposal

It’s at your disposal which cleaner you go for, but our seven recommendations are the best of the best on the current market. They’re sure to clean your unit, while some even provide a beautiful scent that spreads through the whole kitchen!

Make sure to clean your garbage disposal about once a week to keep it in mint condition. This prevents bacteria build up, rotten food and terrible smells.

Overall, our top recommendation is the BioWonder Septic Tank Treatment which is both natural and multi-purpose.

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About the Author

Beth McCallum

Beth McCallum is a 20-something freelance writer & book blogger with a degree in creative writing, journalism and English literature. Beth firmly believes that a tidy house is a tidy mind. She is always looking for new ways to sustainably clean and tidy her house, that's kind on the environment but effective in the house, too!
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