My Garbage Disposal Smells – at least it used to

How to clean a garbage disposal

How to Clean your Garbage Disposal

Time needed: 2 minutes
Category: Kitchen
Frequency: Quarterly – or whenever your garbage disposal smells

Materials needed:

  • Baking Soda
  • Fresh Lemon
  • Ice Cubes​

The last words I want to hear right before Thanksgiving dinner is “My Garbage Disposal Stinks”  There could be lots of reasons for a smell to come from your disposal, but I have an easy and simple trick that keeps your in-sink-erator smelling clean and fresh.  This simple 3-step trick is sure to eliminate any odors coming from the bottom of your sink, and creates a fresh pleasing scent.

How to clean your garbage disposal

  1. Start by sprinkling baking soda directly into the disposal opening.  Use anywhere from 1/4 to 1 cup.

  2. Turn on the COLD water and allow it to run for about a minute.

  3. Cut a fresh lemon into quarters or wedges and toss into running disposal

  4. After the lemon is ground up, add 2-3 ice cubes, while the disposal is still running.

Do these 4 simple steps and your garbage disposal will be deodorized, and ready for use.  As always, never put your hand or anything into the disposal.  Safety First!

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Sprinkle baking soda in your sink to deodorize, and put in disposal. Toss a cut up lemon in to make it smell incredible!

What NOT to put in your Garbage Disposal:

I don’t like putting any chemicals into my garbage disposal.  This includes bleach or ammonia.  Even though most garbage disposal units are sealed, I never want to risk ruining any of the rubber seals or gaskets down there, as that can cause a leak, and be an expensive repair

Why does my sink smell bad?

There are lots of reasons your sink smells bad.  The most common reason is because food particles are stuck down there, not fully ground up, and they begin to decay and stink.

How to Clean a Cutting Board

Cleaning a Wooden Cutting Board

Cleaning a Cutting Board

Time needed: 5 Minutes


Category: Kitchen

Frequency: Quarterly

I don’t know about you, but I do a lot of meal prep.  Sometimes, on Sundays I prepare enough for the entire week and put it into storage containers. If I’m not organized that week then I find myself standing over my Boos Cutting board every breakfast, lunch and dinner chopping and cutting veggies and prepping food for the next meal.

I choose to use a wooden cutting board for everything, partly because I’m a life-long vegetarian, and also because everything I’ve ever read, and all the professional chef’s I’ve talked to prefer a wooden board to keep their knives razor sharp.  I understand a plastic cutting board isn’t as porous, and prevents cross-contamination better, but since I don’t worry about bacteria from meat, I feel comfortable with my single maple cutting block.

Even so, after I chop up an especially pungent onion, or finely chop some fresh garlic, or grate a little ginger for a stir fry, the board can retain some of the flavor and smells from the previous activity.  That’s when I take a few minutes to completely clean the cutting board, and get it ready for the next item.

How to clean a cutting board

  1. Use a clean, damp towel and wipe it down
  2. Sprinkle baking soda all over the surface.  You can’t really use too much or too little.
  3. Cut a fresh lemon in half and using the cut end down, press into the baking soda and cutting board.  The lemon juice will react with the baking soda and fizz a little bit.  This is how you know it’s working.
  4. Rub all over the cutting board with the lemon.  For my size board, one of the larger ones, I need to use 4 halves or 2 whole lemons.  I use a combo of circular motions and longer side to side rubs.
  5. Clean off the lemon juice and baking soda with a slightly damp kitchen towel.  Depending on how big your board is, and how much baking soda you used, you may have to rinse the towel a few times to get it 100% clean.

Then I drop the lemon sections into the garbage disposal.  This freshens the garbage disposal, and makes the kitchen smell fresh and lemon-ey!

After cleaning, I immediately follow up with sealing my cutting board with a fresh coat of Mineral Oil to seal and protect the cutting board.  This step helps to make sure it will last a lifetime!

Note – because I have a solid wood cutting board, I NEVER submerge it in water, or put it in the dishwasher.  This would totally destroy it.  I only wipe it down with clean towels, and use this method to clean it.  It’s the way my grandma did, and her board lasted her entire lifetime!

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Clean your cutting board with Lemons

Cut the lemons in half

Sprinkle baking soda or salt on board

Scrub board with lemon and baking soda

How to Oil a Cutting Board

How to Oil a Cutting Board

Oil Cutting Board

Time needed: 5 Minutes


Category: Kitchen

Frequency: Quarterly

After my kitchen knives, my cutting board is the most used item in my kitchen. I use a large 1.5 inch thick Maple Endgrain Cutting Block for all of my prep. It is heavy enough to not move around, and I really appreciate the extra height as I’m over 6-feet tall. With smaller cutting boards they feel too low, and I feel like I’m bent over sometimes.

  1. Make sure your cutting board is clean and dry.
  2. I use a natural, food-safe mineral oil and pour it directly on the board
  3. Use a soft clean cloth to rub it in, and all over every surface.
  4. Wipe off excess, and let dry (usually overnight).

I prefer to use a non-toxic mineral oil over more expensive oils and waxes. Also, I avoid specialty oils, like Tung Oil, which may contain tree nuts  and can be a source of allergens to some.  These FDA guidelines have all the details for food safe oils.

The oil seals and penetrates the wood of the cutting board, preventing bacterial and food particles from getting in there.  The mineral oil is pretty much tasteless and odorless, and doesn’t rot or turn rancid like some other oils and products can.

For new wooden cutting boards, I like to oil them about 3 times, front and back and sides, before I use them in the kitchen.  Then I just oil them every quarter or so to keep them in tip top shape.

Mineral Oil on a cutting board

It’s always the little things

I don’s know about you, but in addition to having my house look nice, I like for everything to work. Sadly that isn’t always the case. AmIright?

The house is never perfect, and there are always 101 things on my honey-do list that need constant attention.  Plus, I’m sure you will agree, everyone and everything wants our attention.  I’m 2 for 2 aren’t I?

For the last few weeks (ahem – months), the switch for the garbage disposal next to the sink has been on the fritz.  It would work, sometimes, but only if you jiggled it, or sort of leaned on in in a certain direction when you toggled it on.

Just so you know it’s the switch on the right  – closest to the solar hula girl we got when we were in Hawaii last time.  The other switch is for our dishwasher.  Yep, we have a separate switch that can turn on, and off the dishwashwer independent of any controls on the actual machine.  But that’s a different story.

These kinds of things drive me crazy.  You expect them to work, and they just don’t.  I’ve got a few of these things around the house – stuff like the front porch light that only seems to work when it’s cold outside.  Or the little piece of baseboard that always seems to fall down because it wasn’t nailed in 100%

There’s no need to get into all the details about how to change an electrical switch – there are hundreds of useful YouTube videos for that.  I’ll just share some sexy photos from the process – starting with the new flush mount switches and new cover plate.

The whole process took about an hour – it would have been faster had each switch not been on it’s own circuit.  And the overall TOTAL cost was about $6.  Each switch was $2, and the cover plate was a buck and a half, and now they also match the rest of the switches in our house.

I didn’t opt for the heavy duty switches which are reccomended for this area – because soon we will be remodeling our kitchen.  Obviously, as you can see from the oudtated 4×4 white tiles, and original laminate countertops.

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Coffee Station Goals

Modern Coffee Station

There is this one spot in my kitchen that’s just perfect for making coffee. Trouble is, I don’t have it set up that way.

Most days, I’m an early riser. I always have been. Never needed to set an alarm clock a day in my life.

I wake up, rub my eyes a few time, thankful that I’ve made it through another night successfully, and mosey into the kitchen. To simply make a cup of coffee.

Heading over to the drip coffee maker, I take out the carafe, which I usually have to rinse out before I even get started. Thankfully I’ve got the coffee maker near the sink. So there’s that.

While I’m cleaning it, I fill it up with water, and dump it into the reservoir. So far so good.

Then I have to dump out the used filter and ground in the garbage can – this is on the other side of the kitchen, in the pantry. Generally the grounds have dried out a little bit so they don’t drip on the floor, but sometimes they do. Now I’ve got a mess to clean up.

Heading back to the coffee maker, I reach into a cabinet and fish out a new clean filter and assemble the whole thing.

Next back across the kitchen to the fridge where I grab my pre-ground Peets Major Dickason, and then take a little side trip to the silverware drawer to grab a tablespoon to scoop out the magic crystals.

Back to the drip machine, grounds, and measuring spoon in hand, where I carefully scoop and dump the required amount for the volume of coffee I am preparing. Shut the lid, hit the little green button to turn it on, and wait.

Soon the house is filled with the delicious, and familiar morning smell of freshly brewed coffee.

There has to be an easier way.

So many steps, so many trips around the kitchen. So much work!

I’ve been noticing a trend at some of the houses I visit. No, not the houses I am previewing for clients, or touring with buyers. These are actual homes that people live in.

When I take my 5-year old kiddo over to a friend’s house for a play date, the other parents invariably offer me a cup of coffee. I do the same when the situation is reversed. But I’ve noticed something different at these other houses. All their coffee supplies are in one place. Neat. Tidy. Efficient.

These folks weren’t running all over their kitchens gathering the supplies needed to make a simple cup of Joe. Why hadn’t I thought of this?

So now I’m on a mission.

There is this perfect section of counter in my kitchen that would be ideal for a Coffee area.

This is the part of my kitchen between my fridge and pantry that will become my coffee station. Currently there are glasses and mugs in the upper cabinets, silverware and tin foil in the drawers, and misc storage in the bottom cabinets.  Don’t judge the un-remodeled kitchen.  I’ve got a 5 year old, a happy wife, a full time job, and a life.

Right now it has an oversized, under-cleaned toaster oven, a 5 gallon jug of homemade wine, and the rest of the space collects empty bottles and boxes for recycling. – now that I think of it, this may lead to a recycling station as another upcoming project. Stay on topic, now Eric.

Of course the first step in any project is to turn to Pinterest and the web to get inspiration.

My favorite high end coffee maker is probably this Breville dual boiler model. Too bad this photo is in black and white, because this is an amazing machine.
Are you a fan of the chalkboard wall behind the coffee pot? Me? Not so much.
If I still lived in a dorm or apartment, this is what I’d do.
This is my favorite.  Hands down.  Loads of different cups specific for each drink - coffee, expresso, cappucinno.  All neatly organized, with some high end coffee making machines.
This is my favorite. Hands down. Loads of different cups specific for each drink – coffee, expresso, cappucinno. All neatly organized, with some high end coffee making machines.
Here’s a simpler take on the whole idea – everything gets hidden behind a door for a nice clean look.  I especially like the pot filler to make adding water simple and easy.
This might be a bit too modern for me – but don’t you just love the seamless integration of the meile built in coffee maker to the cabinets?
Modern coffee station, check. Storage – check. grey color – check. Hideaway – check.
Here’s a pull out dishwasher under a coffee station.
Look at that natural wood, and those pull outs! Modern Storage – clean lines, and everything in it’s place for my OCD.
I've never seen anyone do this, but here's an idea that would take a coffee station to the next level.  Install a drawer dishwasher and fridge in the cabinets below.  Who's with me?
I’ve never seen anyone do this, but here’s an idea that would take a coffee station to the next level. Install a drawer dishwasher and fridge in the cabinets below. Who’s with me?

What are some of the essentials you have in your coffee station. Do you prefer a more industrial look, or something a bit more country? How have you streamlined your morning ritual? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below and I’ll incorporate them into my area as I’m re-doing it.