Deodorizing the Garbage Disposal

Deodorizing the Garbage Disposal

Recently, my son learned the unforgettable life lesson known as “what-happens-when-you-leave-a-hard-boiled-egg-in-your-lunch-box-over-a-three-day-weekend.” Unhappily, the rest of us got to experience the natural consequences of that lesson as well. Rotten eggs really do smell as horrendously horrible as they are reputed. Until now, I had happily never actually smelled one. But, oh my stars, now I know for sure: rotten eggs smell like rotten eggs. It knocks you flat.

Of course (and if you spend time with kids, you know this is an “of course”), at the moment my son opened that ill-fated container, my other son simultaneously knocked a shelf out of the refrigerator, (“I accidentally backed into it”) and eggnog – the alcoholic kind – was running across the kitchen floor. I sensed a theme here.

What were my options? The rotten egg demanded to be dealt with first. The dog was handling the eggnog just fine. I didn’t want to put that bomb in my trash can. The trash truck had come the day before and if that egg waited another week, the trash can would never recover and my neighbors might seek legal action. I thought about burying it, but that would only attract wildlife. I opted for the garbage disposal.

Maybe there was a better option, but in the midst of that stench, it wasn’t apparent. Down the garbage disposal it went. Unfortunately, the stench did not go down with it.

Lemon Slices. Deodorizing the Garbage Disposal

Providentially, winter in southern California is lemon season, and I happen to have an abundance. There they were, glowing on the countertop. Beautiful, juicy, deliciously lemony Meyer lemons. I grabbed one, sliced half of it thinly and threw it down the garbage disposal after the egg. Sweet! Instantly the air cleared. The sickly cloud of green hovering over my kitchen was sucked down the drain along with those circles of sunshine. Perhaps it was an ignoble death for the lemon, but it was a worthy sacrifice.

Garbage disposals can get funky smelling under normal circumstances, so even without my extreme situation, you may find the need to freshen up your disposal. There are several lemony components at work here. First, the lemon juice is acidic, which can cut through grease in your drain. Secondly, the lemon peel wipes off the blades themselves as they’re minced. Thirdly, the oils in the peel coat the disposal and leave that awesome lemony-fresh scent behind. A trifecta of effectiveness.

Before you try this out, bear a few things in mind:

  • Use a fresh lemon if possible which would be juicier and more tender.
  • Cut it into thin wedges so as not to burn out your disposal.
  • Put the lemon slices down the drain before turning the disposal. (I just feel like I need to say that. I live with kids.)
  • Run cold water while you turn on the disposal.
  • Let the disposal run until you don’t hear it grinding any more bits. This may take 30 seconds or so.

Hopefully, you won’t find yourself in my rotten egg situation. Hopefully, I won’t again either. But forewarned is forearmed, and keep those lemons handy. And my dog is fine. I don’t recommend frequent eggnog, but that once didn’t do him any evident harm.

Further reading

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Ryan Adler says:

I would’ve just chucked it into the back yard and let nature take care of it! If a racoon or something really wants to come along and snag it, they’re more than welcome to it, lol.

Aanel says:

Haha, Lisa you are a GREAT writer! Really a word-master. Thanks for that fun and useful read.

Kim Hayes says:

Correction: never put anything in a garbage disposal before turning it on.
You always run water start the disposal then add the food and / or scraps.
The blades need to be running prior to making contact with the food.

Judy, language teacher, Lyme Regis, Dorset UK says:

Thanks for that and the forewarning on the rotten egg! I’ve never smelled one and hope I never have one in my house, but if I do, I’ll know what to do!

About Lisa Bronner

My grandfather was Dr. Bronner, my family makes soap, and I share ways to use it plus tips on greener living.

Learn about my book, Soap & Soul!

Learn More