Learn how to prevent expensive garbage disposal repairs and drain clogs by knowing what to do and what not to do. Learn the dos and don’ts of garbage disposal care and maintenance.

Garbage Disposal Dos and Don’ts


  • Run the cold water before you turn on the disposal.
  • Continue running the cold water while grinding food. This hardens any excess fats and oils so they can pass through the drain line.
  • Keep the water running for around 10-15 seconds after turning the disposal off. This helps clear the disposal and drain line. You can also add a little dish soap to the running water.
  • Occasionally grind some ice and small lemon/lime wedges to help clean, sharpen, and deodorize your disposal.
  • Refer to your garbage disposal owner’s manual or search for it online. Follow instructions carefully.
  • Consider having your drain line and disposal inspected every year as part of your recommended annual plumbing inspection. Ask you plumber for tips on maintaining your garbage disposal.
  • TURN OFF THE POWER AT THE SOURCE if you ever need to work on or remove something from the unit. This means getting under the sink and unplugging the unit from the wall.


  • Don’t pour fats, oils, or grease (FOG) down any of your drains, including your garbage disposal. Not only can this clog your pipes and lead to raw sewage overflows, but FOG also causes expensive and environmental problems for city sewer systems. Instead, collect FOG in a container and toss it away with the trash. Also, check if there are any recycling centers in your area that collect cooking oils.
  • Don’t use hot water when running your garbage disposal. Hot water liquefies excess oil, raising the risk of a clog.
  • Don’t fill the garbage disposal. Always grind mall amounts of food at a time. If you have a lot of scraps, feed them slowly into the grinder while cold water is running.
  • Don’t use caustic chemical drain cleaners. If you do need a drain cleaner, we recommend going with Bio-Clean or contacting your local plumber.

Never grind any of the following items:

  • Inorganic material (glass, plastic, paper, etc.)
  • Fats, oils, and grease (FOG)
  • Stringy and starchy vegetables (celery, corn husks, potatoes, etc.)
  • Expanding foods (rice, pasta, etc.)
  • Hard stuff (large bones, pits, seeds, etc.)
  • Excess amounts of anything (feed items in slowly)
  • Coffee grounds (it will eventually cause a clog)

Since garbage disposals vary in age, power, size, and more, always refer to your specific unit’s owner’s manual for what you should and should not grind.
If you want to replace your old disposal unit with a quiet, powerful, and efficient unit, contact the experts at OnTime Service. We’d love to answer all your questions about garbage disposal maintenance, repair, or replacement.


Contact OnTime Service online or at (205) 872-1944 to schedule your next appointment with a trained and certified technician. As always, we will troubleshoot the problem and give you straightforward pricing options before any work begins.

Follow us on social media for more useful tips and tricks: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.