The garbage disposal may be one of the miracles of modern life, but it’s also a source for foul odours to build up. Once the odours are there, it can be a challenge to get rid of them completely — rather than just covering them up. But a few lemons and limes (plus vinegar) can go a long way — if you keep them on hand and easily accessible.
Combatting minor garbage disposal odor
If you haven’t yet, try keeping a supply of chopped up lemons and limes in your fridge, so you can throw a few pieces in your disposal every few uses. The scent from the citrus will offer a temporary solution to mitigate the odor, while the frequency will help keep it fresh.
Then, for a more permanent solution, you’ll want to use a strong acid to remove the odor altogether. To do that, once a month, pour a cup of white vinegar down the drain, let it sit for half an hour, and then rinse. Don’t be fooled by the harsh scent of the vinegar: the acid from the vinegar will help kill off any odor-causing bacteria that’s in there.
Combatting major garbage disposal odor
If you are at a point where you’ve despaired of ever eliminating the foul stench emanating from your garbage disposal, a stronger solution is to freeze chunks of citrus, such as lemons or limes, in vinegar ice cubes. To mix things up a little, you can also add in rosemary or other citrus peels, such as orange, to the vinegar ice cubes. Then, after every few uses, throw a few of the ice cubes down the garbage disposal.
As the grinding ring pulverizes the ice cubes into tiny pieces, the scent from the citrus will freshen the stench, while the harsh acid from the vinegar will kill off whatever yuck is growing in there. Depending on how bad the stench is, you might need to do this regularly, at least until it’s fully decontaminated.
Other solutions for getting rid of the odours in your garbage disposal include using ice and salt, or baking soda and vinegar. Another trick is to pour a little bit of boiling water down the disposal, although you have to be careful to let the water cool for a few minutes, as too-hot water can hurt household drains (and pour in a small amount, not an entire pot’s worth). It’s also a good idea to make sure you’ve cleaned the sink’s splash guard, as that can be an overlooked source of mystery smells.