Garbage Disposal Smells - Home Remedies With Natural Ingredients You Can Use

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Have you ever gone over near your sink and though, "my garbage disposal smells." I know I have.

What happens is that your garbage disposal, which is meant to grind up food before flushing it down the drain, can get some food stuck to its blades and over time that old food begins to stink.

Fortunately, there are lots of ways to freshen up this useful kitchen appliance to keep it from developing unpleasant odors, and unlike many cleaning tasks it takes only a second of your time with ingredients which are most likely already readily available in your home right now.

Below I've collected several tips and home remedies for getting rid of these odors, including a couple of video tips.

However, there are a lot of ways to do this, and if you use another method that I haven't listed I would love to hear your tip. You can share your smelly garbage disposal remedies here, and I'll add the best tips to the page.

I hope these tips help you, and you never have to think "my garbage disposal smells" ever again!

Top photo by Hey Paul

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How To Clean Garbage Disposal With Rock Salt, Ice And Lemon Peels

Below is a video showing how to clean a garbage disposal on a routine basis.

In addition, it gives some tips if your drain and garbage disposal gets clogged.

My focus here, however, is just to focus on routine maintenance and cleaning.

Every couple of weeks you should clean your disposal just to make sure it doesn't get clogged, and also to make sure you deodorize it.

To do this you can put 2 cups of ice down your drain with the garbage disposal, and then 1 cup of rock salt.

Next, run the water for a couple of seconds and then turn on the disposal until it thoroughly grinds up the ice and salt.

(You should never run your garbage disposal without first turning on the water.)

After turning off the disposal continue to run the water for a couple more seconds to flush everything down the drain.

This method works by manually removing food and other debris from the garbage disposal blades as it grinds the ice and salt up.

In addition, for deodorizing you can grind up lemon peels (or any other citrus fruit peels) in the disposal.

Watch the video for full details:

You can submit your own tip for the uses of salt in your home here, or read additional tips already submitted.

Photo by Andrew.Beebe

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I Grind Up Used Coffee Grounds

by Anne-Marie

I have a reusable coffee filter. The grounds go down the disposal.

It freshens and sharpens my blades while I clean my filter.

Photo courtesy of How can I recycle this

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Freezing Lemon Peels To Freshen My Garbage Disposal

by Patty

Patty has shared her tip for how she deals with garbage disposal smells in her home, and keeps them from becoming overpowering.

Patty says:

I love to put lemon peels down the garbage disposal every week or so, for the wonderful smell it releases, and to keep the disposal fresh.

When I use a recipe that uses lemons, or I squeeze a bunch of lemons for making a cleaning recipe, I save the peels in the freezer in a bag.

Then I always have some ready to throw down the disposal if I notice it needs to be freshened up!

Taylor says:

Thanks Patty for your tip for how you deal with garbage disposal smells.

Does anyone else have any other tips for dealing with a stinky garbage disposal? You can share your smelly garbage disposal remedies here.

Photo by Robynlou8

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Use For Borax - To Clean Garbage Disposal

You can use borax to clean your garbage disposal.

All you need to do is add three tablespoons of borax down the drain and wait one hour.

After an hour turn on your sink's hot water, and the disposal, and flush the borax, old food, bacteria, and odors down the drain.

Taylor says: Here are links to buy this or related products. If you make a purchase I receive a small commission which helps support this site and my family.

You can also submit your own borax uses around the home here, or read tips already submitted.

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Don't Forget To Clean The Ring Around The Drain Where It Get Gunky Even Underneath

Several readers actually shared similar tips with me about how to not miss a big source of the stink in your garbage disposer -- around the rubber ring around the drain of the sink.

Gunk tends to accumulate there, and while these methods are designed to get it off, sometimes manually just removing it works best.

You don't have to stick your hand down in the drain with the sharp blades though -- in fact, that's not recommended. Instead, use a cheap toilet brush you purchase just for this purpose. (Don't stick a nasty toilet brush you use in your toilet down your drain -- ewww!)

Here's what several readers had to say:

Heather says:

I pull the cover out (that soft plastic/rubber collar that keeps stuff from spitting up at you when the disposal runs) and run it through the dishwasher.

The first time I did that it almost made me sick. Ick!

Now I have a long handled scrub brush and I actually scrub the inside of the garbage disposal regularly.

Amy says:

Not sure where I got this tip, but I truly love it. A long time ago I purchased a toilet brush exclusively for the kitchen.

On Monday's when I detail the kitchen I use it to scrub inside the garbage disposal drain. Things get pretty disgusting in there and can smell if not cleaned regularly.

It's good to run a lemon rind or something like that through the actual disposal but the drain area needs to be cleaned as well.

Photo courtesy of Hey Paul

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Clean Your Garbage Disposer With Frozen Vinegar Cubes

One of the best ways to loosen food particles that are stuck on your garbage disposer is to run ice down the disposer regularly.

In addition, vinegar is a good thing to run down your disposer to help deodorize.

Therefore, why not kill two birds with one stone and freeze some ice cubes of white vinegar and throw a couple down your disposer every week?

That is a great way to keep your garbage disposer clean and deodorized at the same time, so you can get rid of garbage disposal smells.

Just make sure you don't get these vinegar cubes mixed up with your ice or you or your family member or friend will get a very interesting tasting drink! ;)

You can submit your own uses for vinegar around your home here, or read even more tips and ideas already submitted.

In addition, as you can see there are lots of home remedies for getting rid of garbage disposal smells. Do you use one that hasn't been mentioned yet? If so, you can share your tips for here.

Several natural home remedies for getting rid of garbage disposal smells {on Stain Removal 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

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Comments for Clean Your Garbage Disposer With Frozen Vinegar Cubes

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what I use
by: Lupe

I use lemon or baking soda. Works great!

citrus and vinegar
by: Lindsey

I cut up a lemon or orange and put it in there. I also use vinegar sometimes as well.

combine two of the methods above
by: Brandy

I freeze lemon slices in vinegar in an ice cube tray and throw one or two in there every so often. It cleans and smells good too!

freezing citrus peels - it works!
by: Carly

Yep, just cleaned mine this morning. Whenever we have citrus I pop the peels in a ziplock that is always in my freezer, and grind up frozen citrus peels in my disposal all the time. It works.

my method
by: LK

Go get a cherry limeade from Sonic......Enjoy it.....then throw the limes down the garbage disposal and turn it on until all chopped up. Smells great.

ginger peel
by: Sillica

I've frozen vinegar in ice cube trays and thrown those in before, but my current favorite is to use ginger peel. I don't save it specially, but if I need ginger for something that's when the disposal gets cleaned! Haven't noticed it smelling in ages.

don't forget the rubber thing in the drain!
by: Paula

Best thing is to pop out black piece in the drain, clean it, and put it back. It's always gross!

what I do
by: Shannon

I start with soap and water and a scrub brush that fits. This cleans away the "lovely" ecosystem that forms. Then I grind up ice or citrus and flush it down.

any good smelling fruit works
by: Tracey

Any good smelling fruit works. Like when I cut the top off of strawberries I throw them in and it smells great after cleaning with baking soda.

wiping off the blades helps too
by: Mindy

I save the peel from my oranges and toss them down every other day or so- sometimes a blast of Clorox Clean Up and a lot of hot water helps. If you're brave you can wrap a few paper towels around your hand and wipe around the outside edge of the disposal-you wont believe the gunk you'll pull out of there-the likely source of your smell. Good luck!

use a toilet brush designated for the purpose
by: Patricia

A round toilet brush works great at cleaning the disposal and the rubber collar. I have one that I got just for the disposal.

by: Wendy

I pour cheap mouthwash down the drain. It works amazingly well!

vinegar and baking soda
by: Project Buddy

For the garbage disposal, sinks and showers, this is the best thing I have found.

1) hot water - 1 minute
2) about a tablespoon of Dawn
3) 1/2-1 cup baking soda
4) 2-4 cups white distilled vinegar
5) shove a wash cloth in/around the drain to help contain the awesome foaming action
6) flush with hot water after 15 minutes.

For garbage disposals this is awesome because it cleans the whole cavity and not just the blades.

Cleaning inside rubber flaps
by: Mary

To clean the bottom side of the rubber flaps of your garbage disposal soak a couple of paper towels or an old rag with bleach, put a used bread bag on your hand and up your arm, take the paper towel and wipe the inside of the disposal, then pull the bag off keeping it inside out and throw bag and paper towel in the trash without touching the nasty towel with your bare hand.

just clean the black rubber gasket once a week
by: Elaine

It's simple folks. Most always the smell comes from food rotting because when grinding the food is thrown around in disposer and some lands up under the black rubber gasket. Just need to use good housekeeping. Use a long handled brush and brush it out from under the flaps of gasket. Then brush again with dawn dish soap. Once a week will do it.

make sure to clean the rubber ring and the underside of the disposal itself
by: Suzanne

For me the key to getting the garbage disposal really clean is to clean the disgusting underside of the rubber ring, and the underside of the inside of the disposal itself.

If you can, pull the rubber piece out of the sink and clean it. I love the idea of putting it into the dishwasher to disinfect it!
Ensuring that the disposal is off and that there's no way it will be turned on, I actually stick my hand in there and clean the underside of the disposal. I use baking soda to scrub off the gunk, then run the disposal to flush it all down the drain.
Running a garbage disposal tends to 'throw' pieces of whatever you're grinding up, onto the 'roof' of the disposal, where it sticks and begins to stink!

I like the ideas folks shared about dedicating a toilet brush just for this task, especially if you're squeamish about putting your hands down in there! But I found that, no matter how much I cleaned the blades, my disposal smelled gross - and it WAS gross! - until I cleaned the rubber bit and the underside of the unit.

vinegar cubes
by: Anonymous

I am going to try this! I love to use vinegar to clean everything, since it is natural and inexpensive.

tip to clean rubber ring inside disposal
by: Addie

I buy the foam paint brush sticks at the dollar store. Dip in vinegar and use to clean the rubber ring. The sticks are perfect to get the underside of the rubber and removes dirt and gunk.

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