A Natural Garbage Disposal Cleaner and Deodorizer

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Natural Garbage Disposal Cleaner Recipe

I recently created this natural garbage disposal cleaner and deodorizer recipe to freshen my stinky garbage disposal. And it works great!

Make Natural Garbage Disposal Cleaner

I have never lived in a home with a garbage disposal until recently.

For the first few months of living in our new home, I completely forgot it existed. Then I realized that I could create less trash by using my garbage disposal to take care of unwanted food scraps and other small particles that normally ended up in the trash.

I’ve really been enjoying using our garbage disposal until a few days ago. I noticed a very subtle stink every time I turned on the water. It took me a few days to realize that it was coming from the garbage disposal.

Of course, I tried cleaning it with my sprayer, then using a little soap, but nothing could eliminate the stink. I knew I had to find a natural garbage disposal cleaner, and fast.

Natural Garbage Disposal Cleaner and Deodorizer

The Do’s and Don’ts

If you look online you will find lots of people telling you to throw lemons down your disposal. While this might work for some, it is important to cut the lemons up into small pieces so your garbage disposal doesn’t jam. When I tried this, my unit made a really LOUD sound, so I decided I would keep the lemon rinds out of my disposal. Plus, I rarely have fresh lemons, so I needed a solution that would be easy to make up when I needed it most.

Next, I started researching things that I could not put down the garbage disposal. Lots of straight acids (like plain citric acid) can hurt or even corrode pipes. Essential oils can cause the plastic to break down. Drain cleaners with bleach are no good for the environment and can cause issues in the pipes as well.

Garbage Disposal Cleaner and Deodorizer That Works

After doing some testing, I finally came up with a solution that works well as a monthly maintenance deodorizer and cleaner.

I find that citric acid is one of my favorite cleaners for grease and grime. It breaks up gunk and carries it away with a lovely bubbling action. I’ve used citric acid in bath bombs and other household cleaners and I even add a little bit to boost my dishwasher every once in a while. You can find it online or in the canning section of your local supermarket.

Since citric acid is an acid, I added some baking soda to slightly neutralize the garbage disposal cleaner. Baking soda is a great deodorizer as well!

Citric acid and baking soda on their own don’t have much of an odor. So I decided to add some dried eucalyptus leaves to this cleaner. The dried eucalyptus is already pretty fine and it imparts its fresh, sharp, slightly menthol aroma to this DIY cleaner. I find that the aroma stays behind and continues to deodorize even after I’ve flushed the cleaner away.

NOTE: I normally add essential oils to my DIY cleaners, but I don’t like to add essential oils to this one. My garbage disposal has some plastic parts that can be harmed by prolonged use of essential oils. So I left those out this time.

Garbage Disposal Cleaner: A Natural Recipe

To Use

  1. Add two tablespoons of the garbage disposal cleaner to your garbage disposal.
  2. Allow to sit for 30 seconds.
  3. Flush with cold water.
  4. Run garbage disposal while continuing to flush with water.



  1. To make the garbage disposal cleaner, combine citric acid, baking soda, and eucalyptus leaves into a bowl.
  2. Stir well.
  3. Spoon into a mason jar and seal.
  4. Store in a cool, dry place until you need it.


I normally add essential oils to my DIY cleaners, but I don’t like to add essential oils to this one. My garbage disposal has some plastic parts that can be harmed by prolonged use of essential oils. So I left those out this time.

I generally need to use this cleaner every two weeks, but we do use our garbage disposal a lot (two little boys… enough said!). I wouldn’t suggest using it more than monthly due to the amount of citric acid. Plus, it should really keep your disposal smelling great for quite a while!

Did you make this garbage disposal cleaner? Tell us about your experience.


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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  1. Diane says

    Can this be used to clean and deodorize a front loader washer. We have been using vinegar and baking soda, but this recipe might be better?

  2. Kelli says

    We just turn on the disposal blades when the dishwasher is draining. Multi-purpos use for the dishwasher detergent.

  3. Lynne W. Bailey says

    I have followed a very “natural” cleaning for my disposal for quite some time. 1 cup salt; 1 cup; baking soda; 1 cup white vinegar, in that order. Wait a minute or so and follow with 1 quart of super hot (boiling or close to it) water. I read that this helps to clean and deodorize disposal; drain; & pipes.

  4. Vicki Mertes says

    But if you are someone who has a anaerobic septic system then you can’t use the citric acid you have to be very careful with what you put down into those septic systems correct?

    • Katie Vance says

      Vicki, I don’t have one of those, but I bet you are right. If you do have one of those systems, you should check first before using any DIY.