A few weeks ago, I had a momentary lapse in judgment. I had steamed too much broccoli and had neglected to freeze the leftovers. The remaining refrigerated portion needed to go, so I threw it down the garbage disposal.

Wrong move. My plumber, I should note, believes garbage disposals are decorative accessories and discourages using them for anything larger than a few lettuce leaves. When he arrived to blast the resulting clog, the pipe he opened spewed decaying broccoli particles and green-tinged water under the sink and onto the floor. It was a nasty cleanup effort—tiny particles of broccoli everywhere, seemingly embedded in the wood. After 24 hours, the wood was still soaked, and the stench was becoming overpowering. I was worried about mold forming—smelly, sulfurous broccoli mold.

I called my father, who excels at household fix-its and foul odors. His solution: kitty litter. It would absorb the excess water and neutralize the stench. Brilliant! It worked!

If you live in a cat-free home, you can find organic cat litter at most large pet stores. Two brands are also available on Amazon.com’s Pet Supplies Store: Cat Country Organic Premium Litter for Cats and World’s Best.

A final note: Don’t put broccoli down the disposal. Much too fibrous!