I think we’ve all been there… you walk out to the kitchen and something smells… bad! Is it the trash? Is it something in the fridge? Nope and nope. It’s the garbage disposal. Yuck! Let’s chat about how to fix a smelly garbage disposal with homemade garbage disposal bombs.
Garbage disposals are notorious for causing some pretty funky odors. This typically stems from bits of rotting food that cling to the walls, blades, and rubber flaps of the garbage disposal. There are actually a couple things you can do to limit garbage disposal odors:
- Continue to run water for 10 seconds after the grinding of food has stopped. Many people turn off their garbage disposals right after the grinding sound stops, but this can leave small bits of food inside the garbage disposal. Running the water for an additional 10 seconds allows those little bits to rinse out.
- When using the garbage disposal run cold water, not hot. As you know, fats and oils don’t mix well with water. While it is not advised to put raw meat, oils, or grease down the disposal, if there happens to be any in the food you’re disposing of, hot water with keep them liquid and they can cling to the sides of the disposal. Cold water helps harden the fats so it grinds up and goes down the disposal.
Please note, garbage disposal bombs are meant to freshen your smelly garbage disposal, however, cleaning the garbage disposal is recommended prior to use. See the FAQ section for more information on how to clean a garbage disposal.
What You Need to Make Garbage Disposal Bombs
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Ingredients to Freshen A Garbage Disposal
- Baking Soda– Baking soda is known to absorb bad odors, so it works well to fix a smelly garbage disposal
- Citric Acid– Citric Acid works in two ways. First, it helps remove hard water build up and stains. Second, it can kill some bacteria and viruses. (Source)
- Citrus Essential Oil- You can choose whatever you’d like. I went with orange and lemon. The essential oil is used to freshen the garbage disposal. Because citrus essential oil is mild in scent, you need quite a bit for these garbage disposal bombs. Next time, I might try lime, as it has a much stronger scent than lemon and orange. If you are unsure where to buy essential oils, check out this post to help you find a brand that works best for you.
- Citrus Zest (Optional)
Supplies Needed to Make Garbage Disposal Bombs
- Spray Bottle (Optional)- I highly recommend using a spray bottle to add water to the mix as it allows for better control over how much you’re adding
Zester– If using zest
Glass Jar with Lid for Storage
This recipes makes approximately 24 Garbage Disposal Bombs
I tried several recipes for these garbage disposal bombs. Some involved using dish soap, but I found these would take forever to dry and crumbled when they were removed from the mold. I also tried omitting the citric acid. While the citric acid-free version held up really well, it dissolved so quickly in the water, I’m not sure they really did a great job freshening. The recipe above was, by far, my favorite; they held up well, and took longer to dissolve.
How to Make Garbage Disposal Bombs
Start by thoroughly mixing 1 1/2 cups Baking Soda and 1/2 Cups Citric Acid in a mixing bowl. Then add your essential oils: 40 drops each of lemon and orange. The oils tend to create little “blobs” within the baking soda, so make sure to really work them in.
If you happen to have citrus fruit sitting around, you can zest it with a zester and add it to the mixture as well. (I had a lemon on hand, so I added lemon zest to the mix.)
Using a spray bottle, spray water onto the mixture several times (be prepared for a little fizzing at you add the water). After a few sprays, check the mixture’s consistency. As soon as it holds its shape in your hand, stop adding water. The mixture may seem a bit crumbly in the bowl, but if it holds its shape, you’re good.
Firmly press the mixture into a silicone mold, and allow it to dry (overnight) at room temperature.
Once dry, pop the garbage disposal bombs out of the mold and store them in a glass jar (with a lid) until you are ready to use them. I decided to “pretty up” the container with a chalkboard label, and lettering using my Cricut.
When the time comes to freshen your garbage disposal, with the disposal off, add a couple garbage disposal bombs to the disposal. Then run a slow stream of cold water, allowing the bombs to break apart and dissolve. Turn on the disposal for a few seconds, and you’re done.
*Please keep your hands and other objects out of the garbage disposal at all times!
Common Garbage Disposal Cleaning Questions
Will These Garbage Disposal Bombs Clean My Garbage Disposal?
While these garbage disposal bombs may help aid in cleaning your garbage disposal (the baking soda acts as a mild abrasive to loosen stuck on grime and the citric acid will reduce bacteria that may be lingering in the disposal), they are meant for freshening a smelly disposal. There are effective ways to actually clean the garbage disposal (vs. freshening it).
How to Clean & Sharpen Garbage Disposal Blades
To clean and sharpen garage disposal blades, it is often recommended to use a combination of ice and rock salt. Better Homes & Gardens recommends filling the disposal with ice and a sprinkle of rock salt. “Then turn on the cold water and run the disposal until the ice has cleared.”
How to Clean A Garbage Disposal
In order to clean the actual disposal, most tutorials use a combination of baking soda and vinegar. First, add 1/2 cup baking soda to the garbage disposal and allow it to sit for 30 minutes. After the time is up, pour 1 cup vinegar into the disposal and allow it to foam and bubble for 10 minutes. Then turn on the cold water and run the garbage disposal for about 10 seconds. Turn off the disposal and allow the water to continue running for an additional 10 seconds to rinse everything down the drain.
How to Clean A Garbage Disposal Rubber Splash Guard
If your splash guard is not removable, you should unplug your garbage disposal before continuing. Add a couple drops of Sal Suds to a bowl-full of warm water. With the disposal unplugged, and while wearing gloves, use a toothbrush to scrub both the tops and bottoms of each rubber flap. When done, rinse the splash guard with fresh, clean water, then plug the disposal back in.
Are There Other Ways to Fix A Smelly Garbage Disposal?
Yes! Another way to fix a smelly garbage disposal (after cleaning) is to grind fresh citrus peels in the disposal.
What Are the Benefits of Fixing A Smelly Garbage Disposal with Garbage Disposal Bombs?
I don’t always have citrus peels available to freshen up my garbage disposal, so using garbage disposal bombs allows me to quickly and easily freshen things up when citrus peels are not available.
Garbage Disposal Bombs
- 1 ½ Cups Baking Soda
- ½ Cups Citric Acid
- 40 Drops Lemon Essential Oil Feel free to use a different citrus essential oil
- 40 Drops Orange Essential Oil
- Citrus Zest Optional
- Spray Bottle
- Mixing Bowl
- Zester- If adding zest
- Silicone Mini Muffin Mold
- Glass Jar with Lid for Storage
- Add 1 ½ cups Baking Soda and ½ cup Citric Acid to a mixing bowl and give it a stir
- Add in 40 drops each of lemon and orange essential oil (or another citrus essential oil of your choosing) and thoroughly mix them in
- If you have some citrus fruit available, go ahead and mix in some zest from the citrus peels
- Using a spray bottle filled with water, spritz water into the mixture until the mixture holds its shape in your hand
- Once you have the correct consistency, press the mixture into a silicone mini muffin mold and allow it to dry out overnight
- When completely dry, pop the bombs out of the mold and store them in an airtight container.
- To use, add a couple garbage disposal bombs to your disposal and slowly run cold water allowing the bombs to start dissolving. Then turn on the disposal for a few seconds to break them apart. Turn garbage disposal off and continue to run water for an additional 10 seconds.