This is not the how-to you’re expecting. I’m not going to tell you to make vinegar ice-cubes or obliterate lemon slices or buy those expensive garbage disposal deodorizers that always look like pretty orange candy (and I’ll bet they’d be really tempting to your toddler too if she found them anywhere near her eye level!). I’m sure those things do the trick and leave everything smelling nice for a little while, but they’re just band-aids.

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I like bandaids. I have a whole bin in my bathroom reserved for band-aids. I’m even the “cool” mom who wears Spiderman and princess band-aids–Wait. Not ALL princess band-aids. I won’t wear Frozen bandaids. Is anyone else so over that movie yet? Can we revive Tangled or Brave? I’ll wear a Rapunzel bandaid any day : )

As with anything requiring a band-aid, you do eventually have to take it off and address the wound itself or you’ll end up with an infection. So let’s unwrap your garbage disposal today because I’ll betcha it’s got an infection!

I’m going to share the REAL way to clean your garbage disposal. Honestly, I don’t know why no one has blogged about this yet (that I’ve found anyway). It is seriously SO SIMPLE. In fact, it’s so simple it’s laughable, which is exactly what I did when my Grandma told me. I laughed. Hopefully you will too ; )

Walk to your sink.

Yes. Right now. Take your laptop (or tablet, or whatever gadget you’re reading this on) with you.

Now, reach down and grab that rubber flapper-thingy that you should NEVER push through with your hands! Just a friendly reminder when you’re disposing of scraps and don’t have a long-handled-spoon handy : )

When I was a kid, I was always scared of the garbage disposal. My mom used to have me lay on the counter with my waist-length hair draped into the sink so she could wash it (women in their third trimester of pregnancy have to get creative with their tasks). I’d try NOT to think about the scissor-handed machine that lived down there just waiting to snatch my hair and chop it to bits!

Don’t laugh. Those are legitimate fears when you’re only nine years old! I still think of that almost-daily when I run my disposal! You never know what is living in the dark depths of your sink. I should mention that I also suffer from an over-active imagination…

Anyhoo…

Give that black rubber thing a tug. You may have to give it a pretty hard tug the first time you do this. I did because it was “glued” to the sink with fifteen-years’-worth of gunk! Totally not kidding. This house was pretty gunky in multiple places when we moved in.

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See? How easy was that! It comes right out, and suddenly those “dark depths” aren’t such a mystery.

Remember my mentioning “stuff living down there?” Well… I hate to say this, but flip that baby over!

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Yep. I know. EEEEWWWWW GROSS!!! You can scream if you want to; sometimes I do. The worst of it is that this looks GOOD compared to how it looked the very first time I pulled it out. My grandma and I were both taken aback by the layers of slime. And the stench! Oh my goodness. It was bad.

That smell you’re always trying to eliminate with the expensive deodorizers and cheap DIYs? Well, friends, THIS is why those solutions have to be revisited on a very regular basis. They’re just masking the smell coming from all the super-happy bacterium that have set up their life-long estates on your rubber flap ; )

Now, before you’re tempted to toss that puppy into the trash (yes, I know. That was my first reaction too), give it a rinse in hot water. You can even spray it with some Basic-H2 to start penetrating the layers of gunk. Then throw it in the top rack of your dishwasher. You’re done with that grossness! The dishwasher will take care of it for you.

Wait! Where are you going?

Nope, you can’t curl back up in your favorite chair yet. We’re not quite done here. Look again.

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More bacterial colonies encamped on the rubber gasket. Sorry, but you DO have to scrub that. I keep an old toothbrush under my kitchen sink for jobs like this. Again, get out your spray bottle of Basic-H2 or a couple drops of hand dishwashing liquid (or whatever you have handy) and scrub-scrub.

No more slime! No more nasty smell!!! Look how pretty!!! This is when I always wish I had an audience so I could show off my handiwork : )

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Now your garbage disposal has NO SMELL! You can look down inside and see how it works too, which I always find fascinating. You can also see that the innards of it are solid metal, which slime doesn’t typically stick to, which is why all those garbage disposal cleaning how-to’s are totally missing the mark.

Alright, you can leave the kitchen now. Next time you run a dishwasher load, your rubber flap should come out looking almost brand-spankin’ new!

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The white ring on mine is lime-scale from our infuriatingly-hard water. I’d love to buy a new one, but I always forget when I’m at the home improvement store since I’m usually in there buying paint or plants. Who wants to put a beautiful plant back just so she can buy a new rubber disposal cover? Not me! I’ll keep using this one and throwing it in my dishwasher once a month : )

So there you go, people, now you know the REAL way to have a sparkling and fresh-smelling garbage disposal. Let me know how nasty yours is when you pull it out for the first time!