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Dos and Donts of Garbage Disposals

The Dos and Don'ts of Garbage Disposals

Garbage disposals … We know it’s something you use every day, but we also know they can be temperamental if not treated right. Since a new one can cost anywhere from $100 to $300, we thought we’d share some basic dos and don’ts to avoid clogged sinks and to ensure your garbage disposal is around for a while. You’ll notice that the “don’t” list is a bit longer!


  • Do run your garbage disposal regularly, you don’t want to overload it if it’s not necessary. This can also help beat rust and corrosion and keep all its parts moving.
  • Do run cold water from the faucet every single time you use your disposal. This keeps the food scraps moving and will solidify any grease that may build up and enables your garbage disposal to grind it up more easily.
  • Do cut or break up larger items into smaller, easier-to-manage pieces. This prevents the system from getting clogged.
  • Do let small chicken and fish bones, egg shells and small fruit pits get ground up in your disposer. They can create a scouring action that will clean the disposal’s walls.
  • Do make sure your splash guard isn’t damaged, pieces of food from your disposal could spray out of it. If it is damaged, you’ll want to replace it.


  • Don’t pour oil, fat or grease down your garbage disposal. It will eventually build up and cause problems.
  • Don’t turn it off until it’s done grinding whatever is in it.
  • Don’t turn off the water until you’ve turned off your disposer.
  • Don’t put any strong chemicals in your disposal like drain cleaners or bleach, they can damage the blades. You’re better off using a specialized disposal cleaner or deodorizer instead. 
  • Don’t overstuff your disposal. Keep food items small so you’re not overworking it.
  • Don’t put coffee grounds in the disposal. While they won’t damage the disposal, they have been known to clog up the drains and pipes.
  • Don’t put dry rice or pasta down the disposal. Know how they can expand when you cook them? Guess what, they’ll do the same thing in your disposal!
  • Don’t put corn husks or tons of potato peels in your disposer, they can both jam it up.

If you’ve come across these dos and don’ts after you already clogged up your garbage disposal, don’t worry. There are two easy ways to fix a garbage disposal:

  1. Press the reset bottom on the unit under the sink.
  2. Use a ¼ Allen wrench or special garbage disposer wrench on the bottom of the disposer (again, under the sink) , wiggle the shredding plate until it moves freely.

You can find additional advice on our Garbage Disposer Repair Help page on our website.

Repair Clinic has millions of appliance parts available for same-day shipping and we offer a 365 return policy guarantee. Call 800-269-2609 if you need help placing an order today.

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