4 ways to sweeten a foul-smelling garbage disposal

You can refresh a smelly disposal with things you have in the kitchen.

Alina Bradford CNET Contributor
Alina Bradford has been writing how-tos, tech articles and more for almost two decades. She currently writes for CNET's Smart Home Section, MTVNews' tech section and for Live Science's reference section. Follow her on Twitter.
Alina Bradford
2 min read
Alina Bradford/CNET

Garbage disposals smell because their warm, wet location is a prime area for bacteria growth and leftover food particles to hang out and stink up your kitchen.

The plastics used to make the disposal can also absorb odors from the foods you dispose of. If you're sure that the trap is clean, then the odor may be the long-lasting kind. Luckily, there are some simple ways to quickly rid your disposal of awful odors.

Cut the funk with citrus

Citrus fruits are natural deodorizers because of the fragrant oils in their peels. Simply cut a medium-size lemon or orange into fourths and turn on the tap. Then, turn on the disposal and send the slices down.

Cool crud with ice

Ice can be an all-natural scrubber. Turn on the garbage disposal and the cold water tap. Put about two dozen ice cubes into the sink and feed them into the disposal by pushing them toward the opening with a wooden spoon or spatula.

After the last cube is gone, let the water run for another minute. Any food particles and other crud in your disposal will freeze and float away.


If your garbage disposal stinks, there's an easy fix. 

Alina Bradford/CNET

Blast odor with baking soda 

Is there anything baking soda can't do? Pour ¼ cup of baking soda into the drain. Let it sit for 2 hours and then turn on the tap and disposal. Leave them on for a few seconds.

Axe the gunk with Borax

Borax is a cleaning powder usually used for laundry, but it works great for your drain, too. Pour 3 to 4 tablespoons of Borax down the drain. Let it sit for an hour and then rinse the drain with hot water.

Editors' note: This article was originally published Dec. 24, 2015, and has been updated.

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