Seven Tips to Maintain Your Garbage Disposal



  1. Use plenty of water! Run your cold water while the garbage disposal unit is running. After the disposal changes to a soft whirring sound, turn it off and let the water continue to run for 10-15 seconds in order to carry any remaining particles out of the pipes.
  2. Use COLD water. Using hot water won’t damage the disposal, but cold water is better. Hot water can liquefy greases and fats, and when in liquid form, grease can stick to the disposal blades and build up on them.
  3. Avoid hard or fibrous foods. Disposals are for foods that break down easily. Seeds, popcorn kernels, peach pits, or bones don’t grind very well, if they do at all. Small, hard pieces can wedge under your disposal blades causing a jam. It’s also a good idea to avoid foods like onion skins, eggshells, celery stalks, corn husks, etc. as these fibrous foods can wrap around the blades and jam them as well.
  4. Clean the inside. Always try pouring a small amount of dish soap and cold water down the sink after you use the disposal. However, this won’t always be enough. Over time, sludge will build up on the sides of the blades of your garbage disposal. Don’t clean with harsh chemicals, since they can damage it, but try pouring baking soda and vinegar down the drain. The natural chemical reaction cleans the disposal unit well in a pinch! Another easy method is to pour about a cup of rock salt down the drain and grind with a few ice cubes and running cold water. Ice cubes keep your blades sharp and help clear away waste stuck on the walls of your disposal. When you need a really thorough clean, we recommend BioOne. Check it out, here, or give us a call and we can get it for you!
  5. If the garbage disposal beings to smell, grind up citrusy fruits. Throwing in small amounts of lemon or orange peels is a great way to remove odors from your disposal!
  6. Check for a reset button. If your unit is acting up, check to see if the reset button on the bottom of your unit has been tripped. If it’s popped out, press it back in and try running it again.
  7. Do NOT put your hands in the disposal. When food is wedged, you might think about turning off your unit and reaching in to remove the problem. However, when the wedge is removed, this can sometimes cause a sudden release of tension and make the blades spin, even if the unit is off. Instead, try using pliers. If that doesn’t work, call a professional to come and fix the appliance.


While these tips are great for maintaining your home’s garbage disposal, there are may be times when these at-home fixes aren’t enough. If your garbage disposal isn’t working properly and these tips haven’t helped, give us a call and we’ll be happy to schedule an appointment to get your disposal working properly once again!

Skip to content