How To Properly Care For Your Garbage Disposal 

Garbage disposals are a useful tool for many, and it’s very important to know how to care for them so they can last for a long time. Putting only certain items down the drain, along with watching out for clogs and doing your daily and weekly cleanings will help you best care for your disposal. 

Are you unsure of what items exactly can go down your disposal? What items may harm it? Do you want to know the best way to clean it to keep it clean and smelling fresh? 

Keep reading to find out the best ways to provide proper care for your garbage disposal. 

The Do’s And Don’ts Of Using Your Garbage Disposal

It can be confusing to decide what items should or should not go down the garbage disposal drain. No one may intentionally want to harm their disposal, but being ignorant of the rules of disposals is a risky game to play. Here are two different lists of rules to follow. 

Do Put These Down Your Garbage Disposal


  • Cold water. When running the disposal, it’s very important to simultaneously keep the water running. Cold water will solidify fat and grease, helping chop it up and keep it from clogging. Whereas hot water may cause the fat to melt, making it stick to the blades. It may also cause overheating. 
  • Small bits of food. When grinding the food down the disposal, it’s important to keep the amount small. Break apart or cut larger items into smaller pieces. It should only be a cup size at the largest. Then, keep the blades grinding for a while with cold water until all the food has been broken up. 
  • Bread. Bread falls apart with ease and dissolves in water. Keep the water running to avoid it turning into a thicker paste and gumming the blades. However, do not put whole loaves in. 
  • Cooked meat and vegetables. With the exception of bones and stringy vegetables, most cooked meat and vegetables are easily blendable down a drain due to their soft textures. 

Do Not Put These Items Down Your Garbage Disposal

  • Grease, oil, and otherwise greasy food. Oil and grease do not mix well with water, and harden when cooled. This is a leading cause of drain clogs and gummed-up blades. Oil and grease are also generally bad for septic systems. 
  • Rice or pasta. These starchy food items can expand when wet, which can lead to clogging up your disposal when done in larger quantities. 
  • Fruit or vegetable peels. Exteriors of fruit and vegetables are more difficult for disposal blades to chop than most people realize. Their tough skins may damage blades or clog drains. 
  • Fibrous foods. Husks of corn, celery stalks, onion skins, and banana peels can catch and twist around disposal blades, causing them to stop spinning entirely. 
  • Garbage. Do not mistake the name for the disposal as permission to put any sort of trash down the drain. No paper, plastic, metal materials, or even cigarette butts should ever go down your disposal. Follow the list from above for guidance on what does go down the drain. 
  • Harsh chemicals. Relying on harsh cleaners and solvents to unclog your drain may do more harm than good in the long run. The chemicals can cling to blades and fly out again at a later use. 
  • Bones, pebbles, or fruit pits. As a whole, you should not be putting things that you can not easily chew into the garbage disposal. Hard items like this can break and damage your blades. Shells of nuts and pieces of wood also fall into this category. 
  • Your hand. If there is a clog in your drain, never put your hand down to try to unclog it. The blades are a major safety hazard, possibly cutting your fingers open. Bacteria found in your drain should not be given any opportunity to enter a cut on your hand.

Cleaning And Caring For Your Garbage Disposal 

It’s important to know the best tips and tricks to clean and care for your garbage disposal so you are not left with dulled or broken blades, a clogged drain, or even just a bad-smelling odor. Follow these tips below to keep your disposal almost like new for as long as you can. 

Daily Cleaning

Generally speaking, you should be running your disposal daily under cold water to break up any remaining food or residue. Doing so will help blade longevity. Many people do not run their disposals for long enough, which can leave food particles on the blades and give the drain a bad odor. 

 Daily cleaning can help prevent any clogs from forming. However, sometimes accidents and other things happen that are out of your hands. If you find your drain is clogged and your DIY fixes are not helping, you can call a professional to help solve the issue. 

Weekly Cleaning

Once a week it is important to perform a more thorough cleaning. You can take a bottle brush and soap and scrub the inside of the disposal. If you find the odor is bothering you, you can grind small slices of citrus like lemon or limes down the blades with cool water to help with the smell.

Another useful trick to help clean your disposal is grinding ice with rock salt for around a minute total to help break down any remaining food and debris on the blades. This may make a terribly loud noise, but the ice will help beat around the salt. This will help in scraping food off the blades.


Properly taking care of your garbage disposal will reward you time and time again as it continues to offer its service in helping you in the kitchen. Taking the time to properly educate yourself on how to care for this important piece of your kitchen’s plumbing will be time well spent. 

For any further questions about garbage disposals or kitchen plumbing, call High Efficiency, LLC at (508) 825-3695