How to Clean a Garbage Disposal With Lemons Like a Pro

A garbage disposal filled with lemon halves

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A garbage disposal is an essential tool in any modern kitchen. It helps manage waste and keeps your kitchen clean and odor-free. However, over time, the garbage disposal can get dirty and start to emit unpleasant odors. The good news is that you can clean it using a simple and eco-friendly method: lemons. Lemons are not only a natural disinfectant, but they also leave a fresh and pleasant scent. In this guide, we will walk you through the process of cleaning your garbage disposal with lemons like a pro.

Understanding Your Garbage Disposal

Before we delve into the cleaning process, it’s essential to understand how your garbage disposal works. This will help you clean it more effectively and maintain it properly. A garbage disposal is a device installed under your kitchen sink. It shreds food waste into small pieces, small enough to pass through plumbing.

Garbage disposals are designed to handle light food residue that is rinsed from plates and cooking utensils before they go into the dishwasher. They’re not equipped to process large quantities of food waste or hard items like bones or corn husks. Overloading the disposal can cause it to jam or break down.

The Importance of Regular Cleaning

Regular cleaning of your garbage disposal is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it helps to maintain the efficiency of the device. A clean garbage disposal operates more smoothly and lasts longer. Secondly, regular cleaning prevents the build-up of food particles that can cause unpleasant odors. Lastly, it helps to prevent clogs and other plumbing issues.

It’s recommended to clean your garbage disposal at least once a week. However, if you use it heavily, you might need to clean it more frequently.

Materials Needed

Before you start the cleaning process, gather all the necessary materials. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A couple of lemons
  • Ice cubes
  • Rock salt or coarse sea salt

These materials are not only effective in cleaning your garbage disposal but are also safe for your plumbing and the environment.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Your Garbage Disposal with Lemons

Now that you understand your garbage disposal and have gathered your materials, let’s get into the cleaning process. Follow these steps to clean your garbage disposal like a pro:

  1. Turn off the garbage disposal. Safety should always be your top priority. Never attempt to clean the disposal while it’s running.
  2. Cut the lemons into quarters. You don’t need to remove the seeds or the peel. The peel has essential oils that help to deodorize the disposal, while the seeds and the pulp help to clean the grinding components.
  3. Turn on the garbage disposal and drop one quarter of a lemon into it. The disposal will shred the lemon, and the citric acid will clean and deodorize the disposal.
  4. Repeat the process with the rest of the lemon quarters.
  5. After you’ve used all the lemon quarters, turn off the disposal and pour half a cup of ice cubes into it. The ice helps to clean the grinding components and remove any stuck food particles.
  6. Add half a cup of rock salt or coarse sea salt to the ice. Salt is a natural abrasive that helps to scrub away grime.
  7. Turn on the garbage disposal and let it run until all the ice and salt have been processed.
  8. Finally, rinse the disposal with cold water to remove any remaining debris.

And there you have it! Your garbage disposal is now clean and fresh. Repeat this process as often as needed to keep your disposal in top shape.

Additional Tips and Warnings

While cleaning your garbage disposal with lemons is straightforward, there are a few additional tips and warnings you should keep in mind:

  • Never use your hand to retrieve items from the garbage disposal. If something gets stuck, use pliers or tongs to remove it.
  • Avoid pouring grease or oil into the garbage disposal. These substances can solidify and clog the disposal and the drain.
  • Don’t use harsh chemicals or cleaners. They can damage the disposal and harm your plumbing.
  • Always run cold water when using the garbage disposal. This helps to solidify any fats or oils so they can be ground up and washed away.

By following these tips and warnings, you can ensure your garbage disposal stays clean and functions efficiently for a long time.


Cleaning your garbage disposal doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With just a few lemons, ice cubes, and some salt, you can keep your disposal clean, fresh, and efficient. Remember, regular cleaning is key to maintaining the longevity and performance of your garbage disposal. So, don’t wait until your disposal starts to smell or malfunction. Start your lemon cleaning routine today and keep your kitchen smelling fresh and clean!

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