Easy Ways to Deodorize Your Garbage Disposal

Try a few natural and commercial methods to deodorize a garbage disposal and find out when to call a professional.

Published January 18, 2023
Cleaning garbage disposal

Garbage disposals are nice to have - you don't have to worry about food waste clogging up your sink. But grinding up food every day can lead to bacteria buildup and, you guessed, odor! Try a few no-hassle methods to get rid of the smell. When natural cleaners aren't cutting it, learn a few commercial cleaners that have proven their worth.

Natural Ways to Deodorize a Garbage Disposal

You don't always have to use the nuclear option to clean your garbage disposals when it stinks. Sometimes, all it needs is a gentle, natural, DIY deodorizer.

Lemon Juice & Baking Soda

Lemon just smells clean. Baking soda gets rid of odors. So, it's a no brainer to use them together to fight garbage disposal nastiness.

  1. Mix ¼ cup of lemon juice with ¼ cup of baking soda.
  2. Add them to the disposal.
  3. Allow them to sit for about 10 minutes.
  4. Turn on the cold water and run the disposal for about a minute.

Frozen Lemon Juice

Ice cubes are a cheap, effective way to clean your disposal. You can take this a step further with deodorizing by adding frozen lemon juice, especially if you already freeze lemon juice for your water. It's by far my favorite method!

  1. Put a handful of lemon/lime ice cubes in the disposal.
  2. Run it with cold water until ice is ground up.

You can throw a tablespoon or two of salt in with the lemon cubes for additional cleaning power. You can also add mint leaves to the lemon ice cubes.


You eliminate bad breath with mouthwash, right? So, why not try it in the disposal? It leaves your disposal minty fresh. Thank timing, a busy morning, and having to brush my teeth in the kitchen for this deodorizing hack!

  1. Add about a half cup of mouthwash to the garbage disposal.
  2. Let it sit for a few minutes.
  3. Run the disposal with cold water for a few seconds.
  4. Enjoy that minty freshness!

Baking Soda & White Vinegar

For natural deodorizers, baking soda and white vinegar are hard to match. You can pour a half a cup of either cleaner in the disposal for deodorizing. However, combining them works even better.

Vinegar, lemon and baking soda in kitchen
  1. Pour ½ cup of baking soda into the garbage disposal.
  2. Follow with 1 cup of white vinegar.
  3. Allow the two to react for a few minutes, like 3-5.
  4. Run cold water with the disposal on for about 30 seconds to a minute.

Don't worry about that white vinegar smell. It doesn't linger.


Do you have a box of Borax in your laundry room? Bring it into the kitchen.

  1. Pour ½ cup of Borax into the garbage disposal.
  2. Let it sit for a minute or two.
  3. Run the disposal with cold water.

You might do this every week just to mitigate any odors that might pop up, if you already have Borax on hand that is.

Citrus Fruit

Lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits, whatever you have really, all work great for this garbage disposal deodorizing smack down.

  1. Add cut up fruit with peels or just the peels (if you want to eat the fruit) to the garbage disposal.
  2. Run the garbage disposal with cold water for about a minute.

Commercial Cleaners to Deodorize Garbage Disposal That Work

Natural methods work 99% of the time. However, big stinks might require more strength. These commercial cleaners live up to their name.

  • Plink - fresh scent and cuts through even the most powerful odors
  • Affresh - uses foaming action to remove bacteria, leaves a nice citrus cent
  • Grab Green - enjoyed the scent of this one, easy-to-use pod

Simple Ways to Avoid Your Disposal From Getting Stinky

No one wants their garbage disposal to smell. But, it's grinding up food, so taking a bit of preventative action can help you keep the funk out of your disposal.

  • Clean your garbage disposal weekly.
  • Deodorize between cleanings.
  • Use cold water when grinding food, not hot water.
  • Run the garbage disposal regularly.
  • Run it for an extra 20 seconds with cold water even after food is ground up.
  • Don't put oil or grease in the disposal.
  • Check and clean the rubber seal regularly to avoid bacteria buildup.
  • Pour boiling water down the disposal a few times a week to avoid buildup.

When to Call a Professional

Some smells are just too big to handle alone. So, you might need professional help to get your disposal smelling good again. When your garbage disposal stinks no matter what you've tried, consider calling a professional. Other indicators of garbage disposal issues that require professional help include:

  • Sink leaks
  • Clogs
  • Backups
  • Uncontrollable drain flies
  • Old disposal

Fast and Effective Ways for How to Deodorize Your Garbage Disposal

When your garbage disposal stinks, you don't need to grab your keys and run to the store. You can probably solve the issue at home with a few well-known deodorizers like lemon, white vinegar, and baking soda. Because no one has the time or patience for those irritating little sink flies!

Easy Ways to Deodorize Your Garbage Disposal