For a short period of my life, I lived without a garbage disposal. I like to call those times, “The Dark Ages of Dishwashing”. It wasn’t nearly as annoying as when I didn’t have a dishwasher at all (I call those times “The Times We Don’t Speak of”)! I hated having to scrape plates clean into the trashcan and meticulously ensure that not one crumb went down the sink. My “favorite” part was when my fingers got to squish amongst the stinky, mushy, food-leavings when cleaning out the drain filter…

Well thank goodness a Wisconsin native, good ol’ John Hammes (below), came along and invented the garbage disposal in 1927. Thanks to this “silver fox”, none of us have to suffer through the horrors mentioned above.

How YOU doing?

But sometimes, I’ll come home from a particularly horrible day (like yesterday when I almost got in a physical fight with a self-entitled 20-year-old over parking), only to find that my house smells like a family of raccoons curled up and died somewhere under the floor boards. I search and search for the cause, taking out the trash, cleaning out the litter box, smelling my armpits, and still the smell remains. Until finally I track down the offending stench coming from the dark, mysterious, depths of my sink.

What do you do in this situation? You can’t exactly take a scrub brush and some soap to your garbage disposal! If you’re anything like me, you curse, run the disposal, and pray to the odor-fighting gods that the problem will be resolved. But sometimes that’s just not enough. What is a person do to in order to fight the dreaded “Garbage Disposal Funkity-Funk”?

The good news is that I’ve found a way that deodorizes AND cleans built-up gunk whilst helping to maintain the quality of the blades in your disposal. All you need is two household ingredients and an ice cube tray!

Vinegar Lemon Ice Cubes

What you’ll need:

  • White Vinegar (doesn’t matter what type really, although I wouldn’t waste balsamic on this endeavor)
  • Lemons
  • Knife
  • Ice cube tray

So here’s what you do folks. Take out your ingredients and the ice cube tray. Play this video so you can have something fun to dance to:

Slice up your lemons and then cut those slices into smaller chunks. Place about one chunk of lemon in each ice cube section. Then fill each ice cube section with white vinegar, place in the freezer, and wait for them to freeze (duh).


Once they’re frozen, dump the ice cubes in a ziplock bag and store in your freezer. In order to use one, turn on the water and garbage disposal and throw one of these bad boys down the sink. Some people recommend using these once per day, others once per month… I basically throw one down the disposal any time it gets a little stinky or whenever I feel like it.

How they help your disposal

What these little gems do are twofold: The vinegar and lemon deodorizes while the ice cleans built-up gunk off of your blades. And if you’re worried about the ice damaging your blades, practically every garbage disposal manual recommends throwing ice cubes into your garbage disposal for blade maintenance, so don’t worry!

Now there’s just one little warning. Storing these guys in your freezer may cause the freezer to take on a mild scent of vinegar. If that’s a problem for you, I’d suggest using water in place of the vinegar. They probably won’t deodorize as well without the vinegar, but the lemon will do part of the job and the ice cubes will still clean off built-up gunk.

Yes, there are products out there you can purchase that claim to clean and deodorize your disposal. Yes, I’ve tried them. And no, they don’t work nearly as well. They also cost a lot of money where this DIY version is cheap and easy…like my mens.

This ice cube trick takes only two ingredients and so little of your time, and will keep your house from smelling like death lives under your kitchen. Good luck and de-funk!