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Can You Put Citrus Peels in the Garbage Disposal?

orange and lemon peels

Yes! You can put citrus peels in the garbage disposal. Make sure they are small enough pieces so they don’t clog the garbage disposal – too much of anything at once can cause problems. A quarter of a fruit’s peel is usually big enough. Grinding citrus peel releases the citrus oils and makes your house smell wonderful!

Why Garbage Disposals Sometimes Smell Bad

food being dropped down a garbage disposal with the water running

A garbage disposal is an extremely useful kitchen appliance that keeps our sinks clean by efficiently eliminating food waste. In this way, they ensure that our homes are free from foul-smelling trash. Having said that, these disposal units do have a drawback.

The accumulation of spoiled food and bacteria can make the bowels of the garbage disposal very smelly. This is because the tiny food particles can easily get trapped under the lid or in the grinding blades. If they are allowed to settle in the machine, bacterial activity initiates the decaying process. At this time, a nasty stench starts emerging from the garbage disposal.

In addition to that, there could be several other reasons for smelly garbage disposal. For instance, throwing a strongly-scented item (onions, garlic, etc.) down the drain can also result in a smelly sink. Irrespective of the underlying reason, you should ALWAYS try to kill the source of the odor as quickly as possible.

Warning: Do remember that freshening things up with air deodorants is just a temporary alternative that won’t help you in the long run.      

What to Put Down a Garbage Disposal for Smell?

First of all, running cold water while using a garbage disposal can substantially decrease the chances of smells. Once your appliance has started to give-off unpleasant odors, you can use the following remedies to freshen things up.

Citrus Peels (Orange or Lemon)

oranges and orange peels on a slate surface

Generally, vegetable and fruit skins are quite harmful to garbage disposal because they can lead to clogging. In contrast to that, citrus peels are actually BENEFICIAL for your disposal unit. Not only do they remove the smell-producing particles, but they also fill your kitchen with a fresh citrus scent. Typically, lemons are used for this purpose but orange peels are equally effective.

Before throwing a handful of orange peels in the garbage disposal, it is important to run some water down the drain. This will make sure that the blades of your disposal unit are working fine. Once you have done that, add some orange peels and cold water into the appliance. The citrus oil in these peels will replace all kinds of rancid odors with a refreshing fragrance.

Deodorizing Balls

This commercial product is the perfect alternative for citrus peels especially if your garbage disposal is clean but smelly. These small balls of citrus scent not only deodorize your kitchen but they also keep the sickening smell away.

The fact that these balls are biodegradable and non-toxic gives a massive boost to their utility. Whether you like the scent of lemon or orange, this waste disposal cleaner has got you covered.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

a bottle of vinegar and jar of baking soda with a sponge and toothbrush on a wooden table

Vinegar is an amazing household item that can be used in several cleaning remedies. One of these applications is to remove unwanted smells from your garbage disposal. Although vinegar is more than useful on its own, its efficiency increases many times with baking soda. This technique is also called the ‘Volcano Method’ and is a very popular solution for cleaning a smelly/clogged disposal unit.

Start the process by adding about a half cup of baking soda into your garbage disposal. Follow it up with a cup of vinegar. The amalgamation of these ingredients will result in a lot of fizzing and bubbles. This is the reason why this technique is compared with a volcano. Leave this mixture alone for a few minutes (let the lava settle down).

Now, pour one complete pot of boiling water down your garbage disposal to get rid of the smell. Although it won’t provide any refreshing scent (like citrus peels), it will kill the source of the nasty stench.

Foaming Cleaner

Do you want to replace the traditional baking soda and vinegar method with a commercial product? If yes, a foaming cleaner is just the thing for you. The foamy nature of this product gives it enough time in the drain to perform the required cleaning.

It stays in the garbage disposal for several minutes and clears a lot of tough grunge from different parts (blades, sidewalls, etc.) of the unit. In addition to that, foaming cleaners also offer refreshing scents that are missing in the volcano method.

Ice Cubes

a top view of a pile of ice cubes

Using a handful of ice cubes is another effective method of deodorizing your garbage disposal. As an added incentive, this technique can also be used for sharpening the grinding blades of your unit. It is similar to the volcano method because it also doesn’t leave behind any pleasant fragrance.

Put some ice cubes in your garbage disposal and turn it on. You must keep the water running during this process as it is helpful for cleaning the blades. Similarly, water will ensure that the removed (from blades) food particles go down the drain.

There are a couple of variations of this technique that can prove even more useful. The first one of them is to use some rock salt with the ice cubes. Salt possesses some extraordinary cleaning power that can prove really handy for cleaning your disposal unit.  

On the other hand, you can use vinegar cubes to deodorize your sink. All you need to do is to simply freeze some vinegar and grind it in your garbage disposal. Generally, 2-3 vinegar cubes are enough for one cleaning.

The Bottom Line on Fixing Smelly Garbage Disposals

Sink drain with strainer filled with food waste

The nasty smell of decaying food waste combined with a sink full of dishes can be a devastating situation. Additionally, a smelly garbage disposal can pollute the entire environment of your kitchen. In order to avoid these frustrating circumstances, you should try to keep your disposal unit clean.

For doing so, it is highly recommended that you read the instruction manual of your appliance, very carefully. Always keep the water running while using the garbage disposal as it slows down the clogging process. Likewise, do employ some effective preventative tricks (e.g. pouring hot water) to nip the problem in the bud. In case the problem does arise, adopt a suitable cleaning method (e.g. citrus peels) to deodorize your sink.  

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