Recently my garbage disposal started to smell a little funky. Usually I drop a chunk of citrus peel down there and the smell goes away, but this time it was pungent enough to overpower anything a citrus peel was going to do. I found a nine-step cleaning process on Pinterest and gave it a try.
First you sprinkle 1/2 cup of baking soda into the disposal, then you pour a cup of vinegar on top of the baking soda. The mixture will foam up, and you let it sit for a couple minutes to let all of the fizzing clean out the gunk. Then you pour a cup of hot boiling water down the disposal (I used an entire tea pot because there was residual baking soda around the edges).
Step four is to put some ice chips down the disposal and run it. Then you add 1/2 cup of salt and run it again. Once all of the ice and salt has been ground up in the disposal you drop a small chunk of lemon (or any other citrus fruit you may have) into the disposal. The last step is to make a vinegar and baking soda paste (about a tablespoon of baking soda and a couple splashes of vinegar), and use that paste to scrub under the plastic flaps with a toothbrush. The last step is to dump water down the disposal for a couple minutes to rinse it all out.
The baking soda and vinegar mixture helps with the griminess on the inside, the salt and ice add scrubbing factor and the lemon gives the finished product a nice citrus scent. I think the baking soda and vinegar paste step was what really put this cleaning method over the top. The black plastic flaps at the top of my garbage disposal apparently had a lot of grime and nastiness on them because the toothbrush I was using kept coming out brown. I scrubbed the flap with the paste for a couple minutes and I think I finally got them clean.
Pinterest do or don't? I have seen a lot of variations on this garbage disposal cleaning process, but this one is definitely the best. The vinegar and baking soda paste was the most effective because I'm pretty sure the icky grime on the plastic flaps was what was making the entire thing smell funny.