Dos and Don'ts of Using a Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals are a convenient and efficient way to dispose of food waste. However, improper use can lead to clogs, damage, and costly repairs. Here are some dos and don'ts to keep in mind when using your garbage disposal:


  • Use cold water: Always run cold water when using your garbage disposal. This helps solidify any grease or oil, making it easier to chop up and prevent clogs.
  • Cut food waste into small pieces: Chop up food waste into small pieces before putting it down the disposal. This reduces stress on the blades and prevents clogs.
  • Run water after use: Keep the water running for a few seconds after turning off the disposal. This flushes out any remaining debris and helps prevent clogs.
  • Use ice cubes: Drop a few ice cubes down the disposal to sharpen the blades and remove any buildup.
  • Clean regularly: Clean your disposal regularly with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. This helps remove any odors and buildup.


  • Put non-food items down the disposal: Never put non-food items down the disposal, such as plastic or metal. These can damage the blades and cause clogs.
  • Pour grease down the disposal: Avoid pouring grease or oil down the disposal. These can solidify and cause clogs.
  • Overload the disposal: Don't overload the disposal with too much food waste at once. This can cause stress on the blades and lead to clogs.
  • Use hot water: Avoid using hot water when running the disposal. Hot water can melt any grease or oil, leading to clogs.
  • Use harsh chemicals: Don't use harsh chemicals to clean your disposal. These can damage the blades and cause clogs.

What can go down a garbage disposal:

  • Soft food scraps: Soft foods like fruit peels, vegetable scraps, and cooked leftovers are generally safe to dispose of in a garbage disposal. Cut them into smaller pieces for easier grinding.

  • Small bones: Small, soft bones, such as fish bones, can be ground up by a garbage disposal. However, avoid putting large or hard bones that could damage the disposal blades.

  • Ice cubes: Running a few ice cubes through the disposal helps clean the blades and prevents odors.

  • Citrus peels: Citrus peels can freshen up the disposal and eliminate unpleasant odors.

  • Liquid waste: Small amounts of liquids like water, soups, or sauces can be safely disposed of using the garbage disposal.

What can't go down a garbage disposal:

  1. Grease and fats: Grease, oils, and fats solidify and can clog both the disposal and the drain pipes. Dispose of them in a separate container or allow them to solidify and then dispose of them in the trash.

  2. Fibrous or stringy foods: Foods like celery, corn husks, onion skins, and artichokes have fibrous strings that can wrap around the disposal blades, causing clogs.

  3. Hard objects: Avoid putting hard objects like shells, fruit pits, coffee grounds, or non-food items down the disposal. They can damage the blades and motor.

  4. Starchy foods: Foods like pasta, rice, and potato peels can expand and create clogs when exposed to water, causing blockages in the pipes.

  5. Non-food items: Never put non-food items like plastic, metal, glass, or paper down the disposal. They can damage the blades and cause serious issues.

Remember, it's always a good practice to run cold water before, during, and after using the garbage disposal to help flush the waste down the drain. By following these guidelines, you can maintain the functionality of your garbage disposal and avoid unnecessary plumbing problems.

Proper use and maintenance of your garbage disposal can prevent costly repairs and keep your plumbing system running smoothly. Remember to follow these dos and don'ts to keep your garbage disposal in top shape.

If you need any assistance with your garbage disposal, Resolved Home Services can help with installation, repairs, and maintenance.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment.