How Long Does a Garbage Disposal Last?

A garbage disposal is a must-have device in the kitchen, making your work more convenient and less stressful. However, you should always keep in mind that garbage disposals need to be taken care of too. Maintenance is needed for them to function well for a long time. To give you more knowledge about it, here’s what we’ve found out about their life expectancy and other information that might interest you.

According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, garbage disposals have a life expectancy of about 12 years. If good practices are followed, the garbage disposal might last longer than the expected lifespan. The calculated life expectancy of garbage disposal should only be used as a guide, and you should not rely on it as a guarantee or warranty.

While your garbage disposal is still functioning well, take good care of it. Learn how to use it properly to avoid the garbage disposal malfunctioning. Furthermore, we have elaborated on your question in case you still have other things that you might want to know more about your garbage disposal. Keep on reading!

Man installing garbage disposal in home, How Long Does a Garbage Disposal Last?

What are the signs of a failing garbage disposal?

Man installing garbage disposal in home.

Garbage disposal is necessary, especially if you often cook a lot of meals for your family on a daily basis and you need to quickly get rid of every bit of waste in a very convenient way. But you need to remember that garbage disposal has its limits.

If you observe some of these things on your garbage disposal, immediately call your local plumber to fix it as soon as possible.

Hearing Unusual Noises 

These unusual noises that you observe in the garbage disposal might result in a serious matter. Turn off the power to your disposal prior to having a close look! Check anything down the drain immediately that may be blocking the unit; it might be a utensil or food waste that can’t be easily ground up.

If you find something down there, remove it and try to use the garbage disposal again. However, if you can’t find anything, it’s time to call for professional help, or you might want to replace your garbage disposal.

Foul Smell

If the garbage disposal has been installed for a very long time, you might want to replace it already or seek help from your local plumber because what causes the foul smell might be particles of old food and waste that were stuck in the unit.

Occasionally using a freshener in the disposal could eliminate foul smells before they are out of hand.

Check out Glisten on Amazon.

Frequent Need to Reset

If you find yourself frequently pressing the reset button, it might indicate a serious problem with your garbage disposal. Resetting it means you need professional help because it might malfunction anytime soon. The reset button should only be pressed a few times, infrequently, so you need to observe how many times you press it.

Leaking Water

Like what was mentioned, garbage disposal has its limits. It might have developed cracks or even sprang a leak. When leaking from your garbage disposal happens, inspect all pipes and drain lines, but if it can’t be easily repaired, you might want to consider replacing it with a new one.

Does Not Turn On

If your garbage disposal won’t turn on, immediately check the connected circuit if it has blown. If it won’t work at all, you'll need to call for professional help. Make an appointment for a garbage disposal inspection if the electrical system seems to be functioning properly because it might be a sign of a failing motor, or it might have blown out entirely.


When using a garbage disposal, only put small amounts of food waste and other objects down the drain to prevent it from clogging. Observe how it functions, and if you notice that even if you only put small amounts of food waste in it and it still clogs, it's a sign of malfunctioning your device.

These clogs could also indicate that you need a garbage disposal with a higher capacity model.

How can you prolong the life of your garbage disposal?

Closeup of a plumber using a wrench to tighten a fitting beneath a kitchen sink. Only the man's hand and arm are visible. Horizontal format.

To keep your garbage disposal running smoothly in the next few years, make it a habit to check on it. Follow these tips that might help you prolong the life of your garbage disposal.

Avoid Clogs

It is true that garbage disposals are made to grind waste, but you should always keep in mind the objects that you need to avoid putting down the drain. Here are some of the things to avoid putting down your drain:

  • large bones of animals,
  • coffee grounds,
  • grease,
  • oil,
  • onions,
  • celery,
  • eggshells,
  • rice,
  • potatoes,
  • pasta,
  • and seafood shells.

Reduce Waste Produced

Garbage disposal close up

Garbage disposals need a helping hand too. When you have large amounts of food waste that need to be put down in your garbage disposal, break them into small amounts so they can be ground up smoothly down the drain.

Run Cold Water While Disposing

Cold water is a big help in avoiding clogging your garbage disposal. You can also prevent grease or oil that you put down the drain from solidifying.

Properly Clean

Always pour plenty of drops of dishwashing liquid down the drain with cold water after using it. This will help you prevent an awful smell and help keep your garbage disposal clean.

When your garbage disposal begins to smell, try to grind citrusy fruits to freshen the smell of your unit naturally. Ice cubes can also help you maintain your unit. Grinding ice cubes once a month can sharpen the blades of the unit and remove waste that is stuck on your disposal’s walls.

Read: "What To Put Down A Garbage Disposal To Clean It [5 Suggestions]"

Is it safe to use drain cleaners in my garbage disposal?

Garbage Disposal under the modern sink, waste chopper concept

No, although drain cleaners help you by breaking apart any food waste and other objects that are clogged in the drain, drain cleaners aren’t safe to use for your garbage disposal. Drain cleaners have strong chemicals in them that can eventually break the pipes down there if used frequently.

How do you reset a garbage disposal?

Pressing the reset button on your garbage disposal a few times isn’t a bad thing. Sometimes, clogging and overloading the garbage disposal is normal. The garbage disposal turns off automatically when it gets clogged, overheats, or when there’s something wrong with the motor. The only solution to fix it is to simply reset it so that it will work properly again.

Make sure the garbage disposal is turned off at all times. Press the reset button, and if it does not stay in, wait for ten minutes and try again.

To test if the disposal is operating, locate the red button below, press it back in, and run it again. You should also inspect the electrical panel to see if the breaker needs to be flipped back on. Your garbage may need to be fixed or replaced if it doesn’t work and you have been frequently pressing the reset button.

Types of Garbage Disposals

Plumber is installing a new garbage disposal in a kitchen cabinet.

Continuous Feed Garbage Disposals

The only thing you need to do to use this is to flip a switch to grind up food waste, and it has continuous feed disposal. This type of garbage disposal is the most popular among them. This is a good option because it is always ready to work.

Septic Feed Garbage Disposals 

This type of garbage disposal works with a septic system. It mechanically tears down food waste with the help of microorganisms.

Batch Feed Garbage Disposals

If you have children at home, this type of garbage disposal is the best option. A lid is required for batch feed disposal, which keeps them safe. The unit will only work with the cover securely tightened.

Are garbage disposals environment-friendly?

Man installing garbage disposal in home, How Long Does a Garbage Disposal Last?

Yes, they are environment-friendly. There’s no need to use plastic bags when you have a garbage dispenser. People install a garbage disposal in their kitchen in order to properly dispose of waste.

Keep your garbage disposal in good working order, while it lasts!

Garbage disposal saves time in the most possible ways because the process is very simple. We want our garbage disposals to last, so we take good care of them. Be aware of all the things that you should and shouldn’t do with your garbage disposals, in that way you’ll be able to increase or exceed the life expectancy of your garbage disposal.

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