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Lemon In Garbage Disposal: A Must Read

I am sure you have at least once gotten the advice, “put a few pieces of lemon into your garbage disposal; it will smell better”. How true is that? Are there any benefits to putting lemon peels in a garbage disposal?

Adding lemon helps to keep the garbage disposal clean. If you are worried that the lemon will damage your disposal, worry no more. These are rugged machines that are built to grind tougher items, a few lemon peels can’t damage them.

In fact, the lemon rinds and peels will be ground instantly.

Some lemon pieces ready for the garbage disposal
Some lemon pieces ready for the garbage disposal

Then, what is this fuzz about using lemons in garbage disposal? Why does anybody writes and speaks about it?

This is because using lemons to clean is an old household trick. Lemons smell nice, and the citric acid in them is a natural cleaning agent.

Why put lemons in garbage disposal

Here are some reasons why you should put lemon pieces in a garbage disposal;

1. Grinding lemons clean the garbage disposal

Food waste can get into the little spaces inside the garbage disposal and rot. This will cause bad smell coming out of the garbage disposal. To get rid of this smell, you will have to clean the garbage disposal and get rid of any food waste left in it.

Grinding lemon peels is one popular way of getting rid of these unwanted and rotting food waste. When peels and rinds are ground, the citric acid in them splashes around the garbage disposal and dislodges any grease and sticky food.

The acidity of the lime also helps to remove any grease and fats sticking inside your plumbing, thus reducing the chances of any clogs.

Lemon smells nice

I am yet to see a person who does not like the smell of lemon. A liquid called Limonene is responsible for the beautiful smell. This liquid is present in the lemon peels. When ground, they spread around inside the garbage disposal and stay there for a while, making it smell nicer.

One downside of this is that the smell doesn’t last long. It will fade out within a few minutes. This is because when we grind lemon peels, we run water which removes this perfumed oil. However, it is also important to run water while grinding lemon peels to prevent them from clogging the disposal.

It is one way of disposing of lemon rinds

If you have any leftover lemon pieces, it is better to throw them into the garbage disposal than into the bin. So, yes, putting them into the garbage disposal is an easy way of disposing of them, as well as cleaning the garbage disposal. So, it is basically hitting two birds with one stone.

Putting lemon peels into the disposal instead of the trash can also prevent them from going into the garbage piles and rotting, which is not good for the environment.

That being said, there are other ways of using lemon peels, like keeping them in the kitchen to make the place smell better or using them to clean your skin (my wife’s advice). There are plenty of other options as well, but I am not going into them now.

It keeps the blades sharper

Let’s address this first, a garbage disposal doesn’t have blades but impellers. Anyway, it is important to keep the cutting mechanisms clean for proper grinding of food waste. The citric acid in the lemon peels removes any grease and fat sticking to the grinding rings and impellers in the garbage disposal, thus helping them work at their full potential.

Mix lemon with ice to deep clean

One way of deep cleaning a garbage disposal is using ice cubes. I have written a detailed article about it here: garbage disposal deep clean.

In addition to ice cubes, you can also add a few lemon rinds to make the deep clean more effective. This has the added advantage of a bit of acidic cleaning as well as a nice smell.

But honestly, using a dishwasher liquid like this, along with ice cubes, will get you better results.

Things to be aware of;

While I recommend adding lemon to garbage disposals, there are some things to keep in mind.

  1. Do not put too many full lemons at a time. Even though garbage disposals can easily grind lemons, it is a bit more difficult with full lemons. It is alright to put three or four of them at a time, but six or seven may clog the disposal, especially if the garbage disposal is only 1/3 HP. Just throw them in one after another, or cut them into smaller pieces before putting them in.
  2. Some plumbers warn that frequently using lemons peels can cause the garbage disposal as well as the pipes to corrode due to the presence of citric acid in them. I personally never have come across anyone to whom this happened, but I respect the opinions of my fellow plumbers.

Steps to Cleaning garbage disposal with lemon rinds

Cleaning your garbage disposal with lemon rinds is no rocket science. Here’s how to do it;

  1. Run your garbage disposal and get rid of all food wastes
  2. Cut a lemon into small pieces. Make sure to keep their skin on.
  3. Stop running the water, but keep the disposer running
  4. Add lemon pieces one after other. Wait for around half a minute after putting in the last piece. This will help the ground lemon to spread in the disposer.
  5. Start running cold water to wash away all the debris.
  6. Stop the garbage disposal but keep the water running for five seconds more.

That’s it all. Thanks for reading, take care!

My name is Thomas Anderson, author of DisposalQA. I have 15 years experience working as a plumber in CA, and this is where I answer common questions about garbage disposals.