Asked on Feb 11, 2020

How do I remove rust from a garbage disposal?

Lin R
by Lin R

We have an Insinkerator Garbage Disposal that is 2 years old. I have noticed an odor coming from it even though I clean the garbage disposal out with a cleaner made just for that. Today I looked in it and there is rust in there!! It is a builder grade and after looking on the Internet I see that is common with builder grade disposals. Has anyone had this issue and were you able to get the rust out of the metal? I did see that lemon juice and salt sitting in it overnight might work but wanted to check here with the Home Talk Crowd. Thank you in advance for any suggestions.

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  13 answers
  • The lemon juice and salt should work...give it a try!

  • Mogie Mogie on Feb 11, 2020

    Mix 1 cup of lemon juice with 3 tablespoons of salt, and stir well.

  • JudyH JudyH on Feb 11, 2020

    Lemon juice and salt will only make the rust worse! I'm on my third disposal in ten years. The first one rusted out and the second had an internal part corrode even though I cleaned it. When I had the last one installed the plumber gave me a few pointers. The first obvious one is to only use cold, never hot water in it. The second, do not use lemons or vinegar to "clean the blades". The third suggestion, and the one he emphasized the most was to add a small squirt of Dawn detergent and let the water continue to run for a minute or two after you've finished grinding your garbage and have turned off the disposal power switch to flush waste and reside all the way through your pipes (internal AND external) all the way to the metro sewer line hookup. The plumber didn't tell me this but a neighbor did - who may or may not be knowledgeable: He said to spray WD40 inside the disposal periodically to remove and prevent rust. I'm not sure this will work but if you think your disposal is pretty much shot at this point, it's worth a try.

  • Chloe Crabtree Chloe Crabtree on Feb 11, 2020

    I would try the lemon juice and salt method, but it may need to be replaced with a better quality disposal.

  • Tom Stuart Tom Stuart on Feb 11, 2020

    I have heard that occasionally grinding ice cubes will help clean it out. Baking soda help clean out the odor. Any type of acid (vinegar or lemon) can promote rust. It’s best to run the disposal when you have a sink full of soapy water. That will flush out everything.

    I don’t think you have to flush the pipes to the street. Once fresh water has filled the P-trap no odors will come back from the drain pipes.

  • Cindy Cindy on Feb 12, 2020

    Make a paste with salt and lemon juice. That will remove the rust. Put it down the drain and let it set overnight. I use salt and lemon juice to remove rust on almost everything.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Feb 12, 2020

    Hello there,

    You could try spraying WD-40 down there and leave as long as possible for it to do the job! Best wishes.

  • Laura Cooper Laura Cooper on Feb 12, 2020

    I agree WHOLE HEARTEDLY with JudyH. The lemon will make it worse because at this point you aren't looking at surface rust. It has actually eaten in to the metal. Vinegar or lemon will accelerate it. Tannic acid (found in tea and oak leaves) neutralizes rust but I'm not sure how you can apply it inside your disposal. I think you should try to make a warranty claim, not with the builder but with the disposal Mfg.

    • See 1 previous
    • Laura Cooper Laura Cooper on Feb 12, 2020

      Isn't that always the way? However, don't give up yet! Many Mfg will make case-by-case exceptions to honor expired warranties. I've experienced it many times. I approach the problem with an attitude of "it never hurts to ask" and present my case for the exception. A gentle tongue and open mind will often yield results. Often the Mfg may offer a deep discount in lieu of free replacement so that you can upgrade.

  • Lin R Lin R on Feb 16, 2020

    Thanks everyone for taking the time to provide input. We have decided to purchase a stainless steel disposal as they are not that expensive and we don't want to take the chance of it leaking.

  • JennaKravitz JennaKravitz on Mar 05, 2022

    Nice recommendations here, Thank you everyone for involvement,

  • Peter Peter on Mar 05, 2022

    The rust will only increase in size over time, so I would recommend replacing this part. If you're looking for more tips to take care of the sink and nearby parts, Dispos Alauthority can help you with that. It helps me with some problems regarding the sink. I once had a leaky pipe, and there was nothing I could do to fix the leak. I already wanted to call in a professional, but I decided to read some tips on the internet first. I was lucky enough to find enough good advice to fix the problem. Maybe you can do it too.