3 Natural Ways to Clean Your Garbage Disposal (and 3 Ways Not To)

It’s kitchen cleaning day, and you’ve got everything under control: you’ve sanitized those countertops, cleaned the stovetops, and scrubbed the sink. You’re just about to knock off for the day when you smell it. It’s coming from the inside of the sink and you know the culprit immediately: the garbage disposal.

Our garbage disposals serve us well, but we sometimes forget that they need to be cleaned too. But have no fear, because you have several options when it comes to cleaning your garbage disposal. Plus, each method is easy and uses common ingredients that you likely already have in your home.

Citrus and Rosemary Ice Cubes

Cut a lemon or orange into ½-inch slices, then cut each slice into 4 quarters. Add a sliced piece into each of the segments of an ice cube tray. Then, cut fresh rosemary and add a little to each ice cube segment. Finally, fill the ice cube tray the rest of the way with water and freeze.

Put a few of the ice cubes down the garbage disposal and turn it on while running a little bit of cold water (but not so much that it melts the ice). If you have food particles stuck on your garbage disposal blades, ice is a great way to knock it loose, while the citrus and rosemary leave your kitchen smelling clean and fresh.

Vinegar and Baking Soda

Sprinkle about a half cup of baking soda into the garbage disposal, then pour a cup of vinegar into it. Let the solution bubble and settle for a few minutes. Then, run hot water into the disposal to rinse it clean.

Ice and Rock Salt

To remove serious gunk from your garbage disposal naturally, use regular ice (or add some lemon rinds or lemon juice) followed by a half cup of rock salt. This will help loosen any grime, even stuff that has been there for awhile!

What Not to Put Down Your Garbage Disposal

There are a few misconceptions when it comes to green cleaning of your garbage disposal. Here are a few common items that seem like they’d help, but can actually harm your garbage disposal.


While they may seem like an effective method of knocking food residue from your garbage disposal, the membranes on the inside of the shells can get wrapped around the garbage disposal blades. But let those eggshells help nourish your garden by composting them instead!

Fruit Seeds or Pits

Another method that might seem effective is using fruit seeds or pits. But the leftover pieces of avocados, olives, peaches, and even citrus fruits can jam your disposal, so add them to the compost pile instead.

Coffee Grounds

If used in very small quantities, coffee grounds can be a good method of cleaning your garbage disposal. But if you’re looking for a way to trash your coffee grounds everyday after your morning cup of coffee, the garbage disposal isn’t the place. They’re a perfect addition to your compost pile though!

That last bit of kitchen cleaning wasn’t so bad after all, and green cleaning couldn’t have been easier. Plus, your kitchen is now smelling fresh and clean.

Image via Tip Garden