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Plumbing Expert Exposes Hidden Danger Lurking Behind Viral TikTok Cleaning Trend

TikTok Cleaning Trend
Credit: TikTok

While garbage disposals are excellent for disposing of food waste, many people find cleaning them to be confusing, especially when they start emitting unpleasant odors.

A recent TikTok trend suggests that cleaning your sink with just ice and hot water can do the trick. However, a cleaning expert has pointed out a significant mistake that TikTokers are making when using this method.

In a viral TikTok video, user Desiree (@dm3lt) demonstrates by putting several ice cubes down her sink and turning on the garbage disposal. As she runs hot water, brown water begins to bubble up from the drain, indicating that the accumulated dirt has been dislodged.

The ice cubes help dislodge any food scraps that might be stuck in the disposal, thereby addressing one of the main causes of foul odors.


I swear I didn’t think anything from TikTok would ever actually work

♬ original sound – Desiree

However, Paul Abrams, a spokesperson for Roto-Rooter Services, explains that the sight of brown water in the video suggests that the TikToker may be overloading her sink, which could lead to potential issues.

“There’s nothing wrong with this approach, it comes down to personal preference, but the ice cramming method only serves to fill the disposal to capacity,” Abrams told Apartment Therapy. “Some of the gunk has nowhere else to go but up and out of the drain when the user turns on the hot water, further filling the disposal and drain beyond capacity.”

According to Abrams, using less ice will still do the job of dislodging any stuck junk while making sure that the water flows down the sink, not back up.

How it’s helping

The ice cube hack provides households with a simple and chemical-free method to clean their garbage disposal, avoiding the potential pipe corrosion that can occur with cleaning chemicals.

According to Steve Dege, a representative for recycling company TerraCycle, using a garbage disposal can be considered sustainable if your local wastewater system diverts food waste and converts it into energy. This practice is becoming increasingly common in large American cities, where approximately half of wastewater treatment plants now transform sewage sludge into biogas.

Reducing the amount of food waste that ends up in landfills is crucial for mitigating harmful pollution. Food waste releases methane into the atmosphere, which has 80 times the warming potential of carbon dioxide within the first 20 years.

However, critics of garbage disposals have raised concerns about the release of nitrogen into the environment. While garbage disposals help reduce methane emissions, the nitrogen released can be detrimental to marine wildlife and plants.

What everyone’s saying

Other TikTok users have commented on the video with their own tips for cleaning their garbage disposal.

“We use citrus slices! Lemons/limes/oranges. It makes it smell really nice, too!” one user wrote.

“I do this! But I also drizzle soap over the top of the ice!” replied another.

“I just tried, and it worked great. I added baking soda to the ice and vinegar to the hot water, and that helped it too,” one Tiktoker added.

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