9 Maintenance Tips for Your Garbage Disposal

In this article we'll cover some simple ways to extend the life of your garbage disposal. Regular maintenance will help to keep it running smoothly and increase longevity.

Keep in mind, garbage disposals are hard to break. Many of them come with a lifetime warranty. 

Still, it's only going to help to employ a few simple maintenance practices, if for nothing else, to prevent clogs, and avoid costly repairs.

We'll cover nine tips total.

Read more: Best Garbage Disposals Overall

1. Run Cold Water

Always run cold water while operating the garbage disposal and for a few seconds afterward. Cold water helps solidify fats and oils, making it easier for the disposal to grind them, which helps prevent clogs and buildups.

2. Avoid Hard and Fibrous Materials

Refrain from disposing of hard objects like bones, shells, or fruit pits, as they can damage the blades and motor. Similarly, fibrous materials like celery, corn husks, or onion skins can wrap around the blades, causing blockages.

Garbage disposals that have a higher horsepower rating (1 HP or more), are technically supposed to handle some of small bones or fruit pits. But typically, I'd recommend avoiding them, even with a strong unit.

3. Cut Large Items into Smaller Pieces

To avoid straining the garbage disposal, cut larger food items into smaller, manageable pieces before putting them into the unit. This practice allows for more efficient grinding and reduces the risk of jams.

Simple tearing apart with your hands works too.

4. Clean Regularly

Cleaning your garbage disposal helps remove any buildup and odors. The simplest cleaning method is to pour a mixture of baking soda and vinegar into the drain, followed by cold water.

Alternatively, you can use specialized garbage disposal cleaning tablets or citrus peels to freshen it up.

Grinding ice and/or lemons will help clean it as well.

6. Use it Regularly

One of the simplest maintenance practice is to just use it often. For even moderately busy kitchens, this shouldn't be a problem.

7. Avoid Harsh Chemicals

Avoid using harsh chemicals or drain cleaners to unclog your garbage disposal, as they can damage the unit. Drain-o or other kinds of liquid plumbing fluids are a no-go.

8. Check for Leaks 

Regularly inspect the area under your sink for any leaks or signs of water damage. Leaks can lead to further problems if left unaddressed. If you notice any issues, tighten connections or check with a plumber.

9. Keep Non-Food Items Away

Prevent non-food items such as utensils, glass, or plastic from falling into the garbage disposal accidentally. 

I've gotten into the habit of always checking to make sure there's nothing in the unit. Usually you can see it, or just feel around the flange.

You'll also notice quickly if you turn the unit on and hear the clanking.

It'll sound a lot different than the normal grinding sound.


To be clear, garbage disposals are incredibly tough and durable.

However, by keeping up with these tips, you can save yourself some trouble in the form of clogs, leaks, and bent up forks. 

Just be careful at all times. And if you're in over your head, get a plumber involved.

If you have questions, hit me up in the comments section.

See you there.

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