What You Need To Know Before Trying The Garbage Disposal Ice Hack

We love a good viral cleaning hack when it helps us get tasks done easily. One tip that's been making the rounds on TikTok lately uses ice and hot water to clean and deodorize the garbage disposal, but hit pause before trying it in your kitchen! The result you see may not be exactly what you think, and it's possible the hot water is causing more problems than it solves.

Plumbers recommend using ice to clean stuck food from the blades of a garbage disposal, true. The hard ice pushes food off the blades allowing it to go down the drain. You should always run water to rinse that debris away but think twice about using hot water. Hot water can actually cause fats and oils in the drain to melt and then become re-congealed on blades that are chilly from being iced. The fat blobs on the blades can be tough on the motor, making it work harder than needed. The melted fat might also end up clogging the drain, causing more problems down the line.

How to use ice and water in the disposal instead

We'd recommend using ice and water, but not in the way the viral hack demonstrates. Instead, use a handful of ice after running cool water through the disposal for a minute. Let the disposal grind the ice and keep the cool water flowing until you don't hear any more sound from the ice being ground. This will clear scraps in most cases, and the blades will seem sharper because they are clean. The best practice is to keep fibrous foods and tough particles out of the disposal altogether, only using the disposal for stray food that clings to your dishes. Remember that sticky items like pasta and dense items like coffee and egg shells can collect in the pipes and cause blockage – those are best disposed of in your compost or trash.

To finish cleaning the disposal and remove any lingering smells, try grinding half of an already-squeezed lemon. This is the time to use a little warm (not hot) water – it will soften the peel and allow the essential oils to release as the disposal does its job. Keeping your disposal clean and odor-free is not a tough job when you know the basics.