How To Easily Clean A Smelly Garbage Disposal

By Julie Russo

Have you ever walked into the kitchen and asked yourself, “What’s that smell?” Your first instinct probably tells you to take the garbage out, but what if you do that and your kitchen still stinks. The culprit may be the garbage disposal. There are several different ways to clean a stinky sink. Keeping your garbage disposal clean will also keep it from rusting and freezing up thus avoiding costly service calls from your local plumber. The following method is eco-friendly, cost effective and efficient.

  1. Fill the bottom half of an ice cube tray with vinegar.
  2. Slice a couple fresh lemons into small pieces.
  3. Add one piece of lemon to each ice cube compartment.
  4. Top off each ice cube compartment with water as needed.
  5. Freeze the mixture.
  6. Turn the water on and then the disposal.
  7. Drop several ice cubes down the sink while the disposal is running.
  8. Repeat as needed.

garbage disposal maintenance

Garbage disposals bring a high level of convenience to a homeowner, by simplifying the cooking and cleaning process, but there are several obvious and not so obvious things that you should not throw down the garbage disposal.

  1. Grease or oil
  2. Egg shells
  3. Stringy vegetables
  4. Bones
  5. Pits and Seeds
  6. Rice and pasta

If you happen to live in an area that uses septic systems instead of city sewer, you may not have a garbage disposal as the local building codes probably don’t allow it. If you do have one, or have had one installed, and are on a septic system, it is very important to minimize its usage. Only use it to grind up small amounts of food left on a plate or pan after cleaning them off into the trash can. Do not to use your garbage disposal as a trash can or your septic system could get overloaded with solid waste and cause smelly problems in more areas of the home than just the kitchen.

Proper usage, and this simple cleaning technique, will keep your garbage disposal running well and odor-free for years to come.

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Edited and posted by

McKee Homes online marketing manager

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11 thoughts on “How To Easily Clean A Smelly Garbage Disposal

  1. I’ve used vinegar on cotton balls to get the fishy smell out of my fridge (but got caught by a girlfriend) & also baking soda down the disposal for a fresher smell, but this is a new one for me! Only problem is ice cube trays are obsolete now & hard to find!

    • Thanks for the comment Stacey. You can buy a 4-pack of plastic ice cube trays on Amazon.com for about $12. They are also available at Walmart and Target. This solution really works. Give it a try sometime!

  2. Thanks for these tips! I’ve noticed that my garbage disposal has smelled pretty bad lately, so I want to fix that as soon as I can. I really like the smell of lemon, so hopefully it works. Can you use other fruits to put in the ice cubes?

    • Lemon juice is a powerful cleaner. You can replace almost all heavy-duty chemical cleaners with lemon juice. I suppose in a pinch you could use limes or oranges but they may not be as effective.

  3. I live in a pretty old apartment and the disposal always smells. Hopefully this tip will help me get rid of the weird smells. Then we’ll be able to have guests over without feeling self conscious about the smell.

  4. That’s so clever! Thank you so much for sharing! I’m going to do it now! You have no idea how badly I needed advice on that!

  5. Hey, I have paid lots of rates to buying these from the market store. Even so, I would like to use the home-made products to remove the smelly junk from the house. It’s a natural and inexpensive way to get rid of the garbage, while toxics are very expensive and also hazardous for the health of humans. Thanks for the valuable post!

  6. Great tips you’ve got there. A lot of garbage disposals give much odor but with this tutorial, I think its not much of a problem.

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