Natural Garbage Disposal Cleaner Tablets

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These natural garbage disposal cleaning tablets are easy to make, and clean and deodorize without harmful chemicals. Save money and the environment with this simple DIY!

lemon and homemade garbage disposal cleaner tablets on a blue plate

Garbage disposals are a great invention for the modern kitchen – but with daily use, ick and bacteria can build up inside your disposal. This is just plain yucky and it can also lead to unpleasant odors in your kitchen. That’s where my all-natural DIY garbage disposal tabs come in! These tablets will clean and deodorize your garbage disposal in one go – and leave your kitchen smelling better than ever.

Why Make Homemade Garbage Disposal Cleaner?

There are a couple great reasons for making your own disposal cleaning tablets:

  • Price. Seriously, you can pay $1 per tab with the commercial brand disposal tablets (some of which just make your disposal smell nice for 10 minutes) or 17 cents per tab with this DIY recipe. The math is clear: go homemade.
  • Ingredients. I make my own cleaning products whenever I can, so I know EXACTLY what’s in them. (Get all my natural cleaning recipes here.) Since most store bought cleaners don’t even have an ingredient list, it’s hard to know exactly what you’re getting. These disposal tablets have exactly four ingredients that are 100% safe and non-toxic – that’s my kind of cleaner!

How Often Does Your Garbage Disposal Need to be Cleaned?

A good rule of thumb for the average household is to clean your garbage disposal once a week. If you’re a 1-2 person household and you don’t cook much, you can probably clean your disposal every two weeks.

But if you cook a particularly large meal and end up rinsing a lot of strong-smelling things down your sink (or if you just notice an odor coming from your drain), I wouldn’t wait to clean it. Just pop in a tab and all will be fresh again.

The WRONG Way to Clean Your Garbage Disposal

There are a couple cleaning methods you should definitely NOT use for your garbage disposal:

Citrus Rinds

I know, this one can come a surprise! Citrus is a GREAT way to clean your disposal – but the old method of throwing ½ a lemon down the drain is actually a bad idea. While your disposal can chop up a lemon, chunks of peel can easily get lodged into places they shouldn’t be. These chunks can also cause clogs down the line in your pipes.

That’s why in this recipe we grate the peel first. That way you get all the citrus cleaning action without the potential for problems.

Coffee Grounds

This one was a surprise for me too. I always heard coffee grounds can clean and deodorize a garbage disposal. And they do actually work – but putting a bunch of coffee grounds down the drain can cause obstructions deeper in your pipes where they can cause a lot of problems. You’re much better off using coffee grounds in your backyard compost pile.


If you’ve been Googling information about cleaning your disposal, you might have run across this idea: pour a cup of bleach down the drain, let it sit for 10 minutes, and then rinse it down with hot water. DO NOT do this.

Bleach is incredibly strong and can even be corrosive. Undiluted bleach can actually damage small components in your drain and garbage disposal. If you have a septic system, pouring bleach down the drain is a big no-no since it can upset the balance of bacteria in your system.

The bleach method is also totally unnecessary. Gently cleaning your garbage disposal on a regular basis is a much more effective (and safer) method than randomly pouring bleach down your drain when things get too nasty.

garbage disposal cleaner tabs in a silicone mold

4 Simple Ingredients = Big Cleaning Power

The ingredients in these DIY garbage disposal cleaning tabs are so simple you probably have them all in the house already. But don’t let that fool you: combined, these ingredients form a powerful cleaner for your disposal. Here’s why:

  • Salt. Salt provides a coarse texture that cleans out all the hard to reach places. Plus it can help absorb grease and yucky smells.
  • Baking Soda. Baking soda has the strongest deodorizing power of all and also acts as a power boost to soap because of its high pH level.
  • Castile Soap. Castile soap is my go-to natural soap for home cleaning. It works by binding to grease and grime in your disposal so everything easily rinses away. Learn more uses for castile soap.
  • Citrus Peel. Not only does citrus peel smell AMAZING, it also has grease-busting properties that come in super handy when cleaning your garbage disposal. Lemon peel is the traditional ingredient, but you can use lime, orange, or grapefruit peel and get the same awesome cleaning power!

Note: if you’re fresh out of citrus peel and want to make this recipe right away, substitute 10 drops of lemon essential oil (or any citrus oil) for the peel.

Tip for the Best Cleaning: Ice!

Before using your homemade garbage disposal cleaner, run 1-2 cups of ice through your disposal. Ice is perfectly safe to use in garbage disposals and as it breaks down, the tiny bits of ice act as a “scrub” in all the crevices and grooves in the grinding chamber. This loosens up all the nasties so when you use your disposal tablets, they can perform a true deep cleaning.

Customizing Scents for Your Homemade Garbage Disposal Cleaner

The citrus peel in this recipe adds a wonderfully refreshing aroma to your kitchen, but if you’d like a stronger or more customized scent, I recommend adding 10-20 drops of your favorite essential oil to this recipe. Here are some ideas:

  • Lemon peel with lavender essential oil
  • Orange peel with cinnamon essential oil
  • Lime peel with peppermint essential oil
  • Grapefruit peel with rosemary essential oil

DIY Garbage Disposal Cleaner Tabs Recipe

Okay, now it’s time to learn how to make a batch of homemade garbage disposal cleaning tabs. This recipe is simple and easy to make – and you’ll have enough tabs to last a few months!


  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 2 Tablespoons liquid castile soap
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon peel powder, or grated fresh lemon peel from two lemons
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Essential oils for a custom scent (optional)


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine salt and baking soda. Use a whisk or fork to mix well.
  2. Add lemon peel and castile soap. Stir until ingredients are combined.
  3. Add water, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture starts to stick together. You want a moist consistency, but not slushy. (If it gets too wet, stir in more baking soda to get the right consistency back.)
  4. Press the mixture into a silicone mold or ice cube tray, or use a tablespoon to shape the mixture into tabs.
  5. Let the tabs dry overnight and then place in a canning jar or similar airtight container.
  6. Run 1-2 cups of ice through your garbage disposal first.
  7. Drop a cleaner tablet in your disposal with the faucet running on medium. Turn on disposal for 30 seconds to clean. That’s it!

Have you tried making your own disposal cleaning tabs? Share your thoughts in the comments below! And don’t forget to share on social media so all your friends can have clean garbage disposals too. 😉

Hi, Im Pam!

I created Brown Thumb Mama to share my natural living journey, and help you live a greener life. Thanks for being here!

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