Can You Put Drain Cleaner in a Garbage Disposal? | Detailed Guide
Casey Eversten
July 1, 2024
Drain Cleaner in a Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposal units are a modern convenience many houses rely on for effective garbage management. However, they can sometimes fill up or release unpleasant scents, prompting some to use drain cleaners to fix the problem. However, is this a safe and effective solution? This detailed guide will explore whether you can put drain cleaner in a garbage disposal and offer alternative methods for maintaining a clean and functional disposal system.

Understanding Garbage Disposals

How they Work

Garbage disposals are situated under kitchen sinks and are intended to scrap food waste into small pieces that may be readily passed through plumbing. They use a spinning plate and grinding lugs to break down garbage. When properly maintained, they help avoid kitchen smells and limit the quantity of food waste sent to waste.

Common Issues with Garbage Disposals

  • Clogs: Food particles may gather and clog the disposal or associated pipes.
  • Odors: Food residue can cause unpleasant odors.
  • Jams: Non-food material and sticky foods might clog the grinding process.
  • Leaks: Seals and connections may wear down over time, resulting in leaks.

Can You Put a Drain Cleaner in a Garbage Disposal?

The Risks of Using Chemical Drain Cleaners

While chemical drain cleaners may be a quick fix, they are not recommended for garbage disposals. Here’s why.

  • Burning Nature: Most drain cleaners contain strong chemicals that can destroy the metal parts of your garbage disposal and pipes, causing damage and leaking.
  • Health Hazards: These chemicals are toxic and can create serious health risks if inhaled or if they come into contact with skin.
  • Ineffectiveness: Chemical drain cleaners are only sometimes effective on the types of clogs typically found in garbage disposals, such as food waste.

Manufacturer Recommendations

Most garbage disposal manufacturers recommend against using chemical drain cleaners. Instead, they suggest routine cleaning and maintenance to ensure proper disposal.

Safe Alternatives to Drain Cleaners

Manual Cleaning

  • Turn Off the Power: Always disconnect the power before attempting any manual cleaning of garbage disposal.
  • Remove Visible Debris: Use tongs or pliers to remove large food particles or debris.
  • Clean the Splash Guard: The rubber splash guard can hold bacteria and food particles. Remove it and thoroughly cleanse it with soap and water.

Professional Maintenance

If your garbage disposal often clogs or jams, consider having it serviced professionally. Bin Blaster has a team of professional trash can cleaners who will ensure a healthier environment for your house.

Secure Maintenance Tips

Regular Use

Run the waste disposal regularly to avoid rust and corrosion. Even if you don’t have any food waste to grind, running it with water will help keep it in good shape.

Cold Water

Always run the disposal with cold water. It freezes grease and fats, making them more straightforward to ground and preventing blockages.

Small Batches

Don’t overburden the disposal. Feed food waste gradually and in small amounts to avoid jamming.

Avoid Certain Foods

Some foods are better discarded or composted than disposed of. This includes:

  • Sticky vegetables (e.g., celery, corn husks) 
  • Grease and oil 
  • Bones 
  • Coffee grounds 
  • Pasta and rice (they can expand and cause clogs)

Garbage Disposal Cleaning


Can you put chemical cleaners in a garbage disposal?

No, using a garbage disposal cleaner is not recommended. These chemicals can corrode metal parts and produce health risks.

What are some signs that my garbage disposal needs professional maintenance?

If your garbage disposal routinely jams, emits continual odors, or has lessened grinding efficiency, it’s time to call a professional for maintenance.

How to clean garbage disposal?

To clean a garbage disposal, run cold water, ice cubes, and coarse salt through it for a few minutes to loosen material and remove odors. But it is recommended to hire a professional trash can cleaning service for your cleaning needs.


While using chemical drain cleaners in your garbage disposal may seem like a quick fix, it can cause considerable harm and health dangers. Instead, use safer, more effective methods such as manual cleaning, homemade cleaning solutions, and routine maintenance. Following these recommendations and understanding how to care for your garbage disposal properly will allow you to keep it functioning smoothly and efficiently for many years.

For more tips and expert advice on maintaining your garbage disposal, visit our Bin Blasters blog.

Casey Eversten
July 1, 2024