My brother the handyman came by this week to help me install a new garbage disposal. The old one was well past its prime, so I was happy to see it replaced, but I was interested to see the new one came with a pack of coupons for a product to keep my new disposal “fresh.” According to my brother, when he is working in residential kitchens, one of the questions he is asked most often is on this very subject. How do you keep a garbage disposal clean and smelling fresh?
Invented in 1927 by contractor John W. Hammes, the goal of the garbage disposal was to create a quick and efficient way to dispose of incidental food waste and eliminate the unsanitary conditions and odor associated with spoiling food in the kitchen. Although this new product was slow to catch on, his invention and the company he founded, In-sink-erator, eventually grew to find huge success and garbage disposals are now commonplace in homes around the world.
No doubt about it, Hammes invention is pretty darn handy for ditching incidental food scraps not bound for the compost heap, but the problem of lingering odors perseveres. Garbage disposals do a great job of grinding and spiriting away food particles, but that cavernous hole in the sink does not lend itself well to cleaning. As residue builds within, the cleanest of kitchens may still have one wrinkling their nose at a whiff of the foul stench emitted from the sink.
As the coupons I received with my new disposal will attest, there are commercial products available for deodorizing, but I’m not too keen on the excessive use of chemicals. Fortunately, there is a DIY solution for keeping the disposal clean and smelling fresh with almost no effort.
A simple blend of baking soda, salt, dish detergent and citrus is perfect for cleaning the hard-to-reach depths of any garbage disposal and leaving behind a fresh clean scent. Salt acts as an abrasive to remove residue in the disposal, baking soda cleans surfaces and neutralizes odor, dish detergent is a degreaser and the power of citrus helps keep the disposal clean and smelling great.
Pour a quarter cup of this grime buster down the sink once a week to keep your disposal fresh and clean and if things get out of hand, try adding a quarter cup of vinegar and a handful of ice to the mix for an extra burst of cleaning power.
Does your garbage disposal need a breath freshener? Follow the steps below to make your own natural disposal freshener using common household items.