make your own: deodorizing disks.

August 11, 2014

deodorant disks

Deodorizing disks. There’s a romantic name. Sexy, even.

No matter. We’re going for effectiveness not romance and that’s the name that best fits these hard-working little suckers. When it comes to keeping a diaper pail fresh, a deodorizing disk (otherwise known as a little cake of hardened baking soda) is what we’ve needed. They’re easy to make and equally good for stinky closets, trash cans, or bathrooms, in case you don’t find yourself with a bucket full of dirty diapers.

Before I go on, let me just say that I get it. Some of you are probably suppressing a smirk. Meanies are probably straight up cackling. Cloth diapers + a tiny apartment apartment + no air conditioning + Brooklyn summer heat? It’s a perfect recipe for me to lose my cool in a fit of olfactory overload. Yes, the diaper pail has been pungent lately. Happily, kept closed the pail does a good job at keeping odors under wraps. Less happily, the pail needs to be opened roughly 8 million times a day in which case the odoriferous little bugger stinks up the whole joint in .2 seconds flat.

So, I borrowed bits and pieces from these two tutorials. I opted to make mine in parchment paper wrappings which can be kept in place and plunked right into a can whose contents are getting dumped anyway, or removed so that the disk can be plunked right into the wash with the rest of the pail’s contents should that be how you roll.

In either case, here’s what you need to make your own:

2 cups baking soda
1/2 cup water
Parchment paper
Essential oil of your liking
Dried flowers for effect, as desired

1. Mix baking soda and water into a thick paste. This process may or may not give you a feeling akin to nails on a chalkboard. If it does, I’m sorry. It’ll be over soon.

2. Spoon the mixture into a muffin tin lined with parchment paper. (If you have silicone muffin trays, you can try forgoing the paper.) I filled each tin about 1/4 of the way.

3. Pop the tray in a 350° oven and bake for 20 minutes or until dry and firm.

4. Allow the disks to cool and top with 3-4 drops of essential oil of your choosing. I used a blend of sweet orange, lavender, rosewood, and geranium. Sprinkle with dried flowers if you like your utilitarian things to look pretty.* Tuck your stash into an airtight jar.

5. Use disks as needed around the house; wherever foul odors lurk.

*If dried flowers cross the twee line for you, scrap ’em. Shove the cooled and oiled disks into whatever air-tight container you have laying around and forget I even mentioned flowers.
deodorant disks {Water + baking soda + heat (or time) + essential oil = deodorizing disks.} deodorant disks {The baking soda and water paste.} deodorant disks {This recipe makes enough for 12 small disks.} deodorant disks {Add essential oil (and flowers if you’re up to it) after baking.} deodorant disks {Store in an airtight jar to retain the good smells until they’re ready to be used.} deodisk1646 {You can leave the disk wrapped in parchment paper, or remove the paper and pop it into a pail that’s going to go through the wash.} deodisk1673 Should you have neither stinky garbage, nor stinky trash cans, place a disk in the shower (opposite the drain) and let the essential oils fill the room as you shower. Call them “shower tablets” and pretend that you’re at the spa.

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  • Reply Sarah August 11, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Alrighty, I'm sold. Not too twee for me! We do not have a stinky diaper pail, but we do have 3 indoor-only cats in an 1100 square foot house (the litter box is in the living room, so…I'm thinking that's the place for some of these unromantic little things).

    • Reply Erin August 11, 2014 at 5:47 pm

      Phew! Hope these help!

  • Reply Pat August 11, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    No diaper pails here but I belong to a dog training club and, trust me, I 'get it' about opening the lid on "that' pail. It is not for the faint of heart. Perhaps I will make a suggestion to the club.

    • Reply Erin August 11, 2014 at 5:47 pm

      Hope you do!

  • Reply Katharine Paljug August 11, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Brilliant idea! We moved into a new place with neither compost services nor a garbage disposal, and our trashcan is unfortunately pungent. Going to try these out these week!

    Also, where did you get your little sauce pan? I've been wanting one like that for ages now and can't seem to find anything!

    • Reply Erin August 11, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      I got mine at ABC Carpet and Home. It's made by Reiss. Potager
      also sometimes has them in stock, though it looks like they're sold out right now!

  • Reply catie August 11, 2014 at 3:15 pm


  • Reply cevd August 11, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    We just live in an old house that likes to leech smells when it's humid outside, so like all of summer, THANK YOU. I am always willing to spend a little time to make things smell nice.

    • Reply Erin August 11, 2014 at 5:46 pm

      Ah, yes. Grew up in one of those! A perfume of dirt, dead animal, and must…all summer long. Hope these help!

  • Reply Jacquelyn Clark August 11, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    I love the idea of a spa-like shower tablet! Good call 🙂

    • Reply Erin August 11, 2014 at 5:48 pm

      Let me know how it goes!

  • Reply Rachel August 11, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    These are perfect!! Thanks for sharing. Can't wait to make them!


  • Reply Anonymous August 11, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    So happy to have seen this post! I recently moved into an apartment where there are no garbage cans or dumpsters outside – just take your trash out the night before weekly trash pick up. In this summer heat, our kitchen garbage has really been stinking up our (tiny) apartment towards the end of a week.

  • Reply Poppy August 11, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    Bookmarking and planning to make for my new-mom friend right away!

  • Reply Lisa August 11, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Brilliant Erin! Running shoes… A query – does the baking soda play a role other than being a vehicle for the oil? If not, I think I would make them much smaller (or break them in pieces).

    • Reply Jane September 23, 2017 at 10:28 pm

      Baking Soda naturally absorbs odors. The oil only adds a fragrance; it does nothing to remove odors.

  • Reply Sophie and Lizzie August 11, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    These look lovely!

  • Reply Paige August 12, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    Where do you buy your essential oils from?

  • Reply Emily C August 22, 2014 at 12:19 am

    hi Erin. i made these today, with lavender and tea tree oil, and my windowless bathroom smells so much less like towels and so much fresher. I also stashed one in the locker with the dog's coat, under the kitchen sink with the compost, and in the shoe closet. While I'm at it, I'm so glad you recommended soapwalla deodorant. my armpits (and everyone around me) thanks you… it's a game changer! i like your blog a lot, for non-scent-related reasons too. best, emily

  • Reply nora August 27, 2014 at 3:13 am

    Agh! I have such a silly question, but I can't quite figure it out: do the dried flowers stay stuck on the discs? Even by adding them after the bake? I haven't made these yet, so I don't know what the consistency/tackiness of the baked disc is. Thanks!

  • Reply Corina Gilbert May 8, 2015 at 9:25 am

    OMG!!! So interesting idea for deodorizer! I had no idea that I could make something like this myself! Usually I spend a lot of money on good fresheners but now I will try this recipe adn will use the essential oils which I love most!

  • Reply GalyaB December 11, 2015 at 6:47 am

    I remember trying the trick with just soda and oils (no water added). It was supposed to be an air-fresherner, but didn’t stun me at all. I’ll try patty-caking you suggested, since the little Junior’s aka the Stinker’s diaper pile is keeping the whole family in dismay of using the bathroom.

  • Reply Sylvie Lebourg October 9, 2017 at 10:29 am

    Hi! I have just discovered this and tried it yesterday, it looks really nice! The only problem is, it doesn’t seem to smell much… I have one in the bathroom and one in the bedroom but only notice the fragrance if I’m really close to it! I’ve used some orange essential oil, about ten drops of it. I added it once the mixture had cooled down; should I have done it as soon as it came out of the oven?

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE October 9, 2017 at 10:33 am

      Hi there! These are really meant to be deodorizing disks to use in a small space, like a diaper pail, not room fragrance! The baking soda works to naturally mask bad odors and the essential oil is a subtle added scent!

  • Reply Kaitlyn August 23, 2018 at 5:27 am

    How long do the deodorizing disks last roughly? I work in a residential home, and I have a few residents who’s room gather a almost urine smell, and we’ve tried everything to forgo the smell, but nothing seems to be helping! I’m hoping using a more natural method will help!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE August 23, 2018 at 7:54 am

      Kind of depends! A week or so?

  • Reply Rita May 7, 2019 at 9:47 am

    Can I make these discs without adding essential oils? I really only want to neutralize the scent of a stink diaper pail. Thanks for advice.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE May 7, 2019 at 9:58 am


  • Reply Amy Thompson January 15, 2021 at 2:47 pm

    i tried this and i used a silicone round base. it didnt work. it was all mush. set off the smoke detector but i was going to give it to my bf but i will keep it for myself. the house smells great. i used lemon essential oil with lavender seeds.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE January 15, 2021 at 4:11 pm

      oh man! you could jar it up to offer as a powder deodorizer instead!

  • Reply Amy Thompson January 15, 2021 at 2:49 pm

    instead of parchment paper can you use cupcake liners?

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE January 15, 2021 at 4:11 pm

      that would probably work just fine!

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