DIY Garbage Disposal Cleaning and Deodorizing Tabs

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Garbage Disposal Cleaner Tabs

Garbage disposal cleaner tabs are easy to make and even easier to use. They work well to clean and deodorize your garbage disposal naturally.

Until a few years ago, I had never lived in a house with a garbage disposal. Believe it or not, I actually did not use mine for quite some time. I had no idea what a time saver they could be!

Shortly after falling in love with my garbage disposal, I realized how quickly it starts to smell. Of course, that lead me to look for cleaners. I tried a few without any success, both natural and unnatural options. Nothing really worked as well as I wanted or was as “clean” as I wanted.

So that lead me to look into making my own DIY garbage disposal cleaner. Quickly I found out there were a lot of ingredients I should not use. But finding ingredients I could use was a challenge. Below I’ll share a few things that I learned on the way.

What not to use in the garbage disposal

After looking online and asking my plumber, I learned that there are a few things people use to clean their garbage disposal that could actually do more harm than good. Among them are whole citrus rinds, essential oils, and coffee grounds.

So many people suggested that I clean my garbage disposal with whole citrus rinds. Why not, right? They smell good, could probably help get the gunk off the blades, and are a super easy solution. However, my plumber told me that large pieces of citrus could actually do more harm than good. The big pieces are too much for the blades and could cause damage to the motor.

In the same way, recipes often use essential oils in DIY garbage disposal cleaners. They smell amazing and are easy to add to cleaning agents like soap or baking soda. However, essential oils could potentially corrode parts of the disposal over time.

My last thought was coffee grounds. They are amazing at getting rid of stinky onion smells, so why not? Well, apparently coffee grounds can cause sludge and sediment in the garbage disposal and pipes. It’s best to use coffee grounds for composting anyway!

What can I use to clean my garbage disposal?

It’s best to use regular cleaning agents like soap, citric acid, or baking soda to clean the garbage disposal. Nothing super harsh that could hurt the pipes or garbage disposal parts.

What has worked best for me is a mixture of baking soda, citric acid, and finely shredded citrus rinds. This combo is the perfect trio for cleaning, degreasing, and deodorizing!

Now you might be wondering: didn’t she just say not to use citrus rinds? Remember, large citrus rinds are a no-no, but shredding them finely works perfectly.

Tip: don’t want to make the tabs? Check out our powdered garbage disposal cleaner recipe.

Garbage Disposal Cleaner Tabs

DIY Garbage Disposal Cleaner Tabs

Garbage disposal cleaner tabs are easy to make and even easier to use. They work well to clean and deodorize your garbage disposal naturally.

Prep Time
2 days 5 minutes
Active Time
15 minutes
Drying Time
1 day
Total Time
3 days 20 minutes
8 ounces
Estimated Cost



  • 1/4 cup finely shredded citrus rinds (lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup citric acid
  • 1/2 cup baking soda


  1. Finely grate (or zest) citrus rinds. I used two large oranges and two small lemons. Let dry for 24-48 hours.
  2. In a small bowl, combine baking soda and citrus rinds, then measure in citric acid.

  3. Stir the garbage disposal cleaner tab ingredients well and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Scoop up a small amount of the mixture in your hand and squeeze together as if you were forming a ball. If the mixture clumps together, there is enough moisture to scoop into the molds. If the mixture falls apart completely, then you may need to spritz a little water on it using a fine mist sprayer. Go lightly here, just the tiniest amount of water will be enough.
  5. Once the mixture starts to clump together, spoon into silicone molds. Pack down the mixture tightly into the mold.
  6. Let dry for 24 hours in a cool, dry place. Unmold.

To Use

  1. Run a pencil-thin stream of water into the garbage disposal
  2. Place tab in the garbage disposal while water is running. Turn off the water after 30 seconds.
  3. Allow to fully dissolve, then turn the water back on and run the garbage disposal.
  4. Repeat as needed.


While the ingredients are simple, this recipe is a little harder to get right. The key is to dry the shredded citrus rinds before using them so that most of the water evaporates. You’ll need just a little bit of that water to help the tabs stick together, but not too much. It’s a lot like making the perfect bath bomb recipe.

Made this recipe?

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How did you like these garbage disposal cleaner tabs? Let us know.


About Katie Vance

Katie is a wife, mother, aromatherapist, and lover of all things DIY. She offers consultations and gives simple aromatherapy advice at Katie Vance, Aromatherapy Simplified. You can also find Katie on Facebook.

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