Tips for Garbage Disposal Maintenance

Orange in a garbage disposal

Your garbage disposal is an efficiently constructed machine and the workhorse of your kitchen.

Troubleshooting your disposal is not difficult but avoiding clogs and unnecessary kitchen drama is always more desirable than fixing a garbage disposal.

And the best way to avoid disposal repairs you bring on yourself is to avoid clog-producing usage and properly maintaining your disposal. It really could not be simpler.

Let's take a look at some tips on how to prevent clogs and maintain a clean, fresh smelling disposal without the use of harsh chemicals.

Avoid the Following to Prevent the Garbage Disposal Drain Clogs

There are a few things to avoid in using your sink and garbage disposal to help reduce the chances of clogs or slow draining waste lines.

  • Do not grind up potato peelings. They will form a starchy paste similar to mashed potatoes when ground up and will surely clog your drain.
  • Do not grind up banana peels. These are a similar problem to potato peels except they also add stringy fibers to the mix. Not good.
  • Do not put coffee grounds or eggshells into your disposal. They create very tiny granular waste that will stick to any sludge in the pipe and quickly create a clog.
  • Do not put ground glass in your disposal to ‘clean’ it. It will not sharpen the disposer’s cutting blades, it will not clean your drain pipes and will not easily drain. 

Do the Following to Maintain a Clean, Fresh Disposal

  • Avoid odors by also treating your disposal every month with a combination of a couple of handfuls of baking soda and a half cup of vinegar. Let that set in the disposal hopper with the unit turned off.
  • After it's done foaming, rinse it down the drain with hot running water.
  • Maintain your disposal by regularly grinding up pieces of lemon or orange peel and ice cubes.


Do not use bleach and water to clean your disposal. Bleach will harden grease in your drain lines and is very caustic. It will also kill the bacteria necessary in your septic holding tank making your septic system less effective.

Do the Following to Maintain a Clog-Free Disposal

  • Lots of water! The simplest way to avoid a clog is to make sure you flush the disposal with plenty of water when it is grinding up food waste and then for 30 seconds afterward. Then occasionally maintain your disposal by regularly grinding up pieces of lemon or orange peel and ice cubes.
  • Use dishwashing detergents that de-grease your dishes. Grease is the ‘glue’ that holds bacteria causing odors in your drain pipes and adds to the likelihood of the slow draining clogs you want to avoid.
  • Avoid grinding up potato peelings, banana peels, coffee grounds or eggshells as described above.

By following these simple tips you will help keep your garbage disposal trouble-free, sanitary and clean smelling.