How Long Does A Garbage Disposal Usually Last?

Often, after a long session of cooking, we’re left with a large amount of vegetable scraps, bones and bits of meat fat to throw away. Tossing it into the garbage isn’t a bad idea, though after a few days, the leftover scraps start to become smellier and smellier. Even bits of fruit scraps don’t make it any better.

Thankfully, many houses across North America have now begun to include garbage disposals in their plumbing plans. Even if your house doesn’t already have one installed, it’s incredibly easy to get one and install it yourself. 

You can easily buy a garbage disposal unit and install it yourself with the help of resources available. With one simple machine, you can easily reduce the stench of garbage while also reducing the amount you throw out. However, before making a purchase, you should learn the answer to the question, “how long does a garbage disposal last?”.

To learn the answer to the questions, “how long does a garbage disposal normally last?” and “what can you put in a garbage disposal without wearing it down too much?”, read this article. If you need to service your existing garbage disposal or need servicing for anything else in your house, call Clover Contracting.

How long do garbage disposals last on average?

As with most appliances around your house, how well you maintain your garbage disposal can influence how long the machinery will last. With the proper care and upkeep, your garbage disposal should last at least a decade, if not even longer. 

In some cases, people have found that their garbage disposal has lasted as long as 15 years. Regular maintenance and careful disposal can help ensure that your garbage disposal doesn’t fail before it reaches its end.

What affects a garbage disposal’s lifespan?

Besides how often you clean the unit, there are a number of other factors you also need to consider about how long a garbage disposal can last for. 

What you put in the disposal unit

One of the many things you need to carefully consider is what it is that you put into a garbage disposal. Many models of modern disposal units don’t feature any blades, leaving the food to be broken down by running it against a grinder ring inside it. By putting harder food, grease and particularly fibrous foods inside it, the blades or rings inside begin to break down and the garbage disposal loses its efficiency. Instead, someone who puts only vegetable and fruit scraps in their disposal unit makes sure that theirs lasts far longer.

The overall quality of the garbage disposal

Another factor that influences the answer to the question, “how long does a garbage disposal last?” is  the unit’s age. Depending on how new the disposal unit’s model is, the higher the chances are that it’s going to last longer. 

With the proper care and maintenance put into it, the newer parts that’s put into the garbage disposal only face a smaller portion of wear and tear (unlike an older model with its less sturdy parts). 

To make sure that the parts can last even longer, try investing in a heavy duty garbage disposal unit. 

How often you use the unit

As it is with many different types of machines, more use often leads to more wear and tear to the unit’s parts. 

Even though the items that you put into the garbage disposal can definitely affect how long it lasts, the build up of natural damage from simply using it to even get rid of citrus peels can shorten the lifespan. If you want to make sure that the machine lasts for a long time, just tossing out or even composting food scraps can do just that.

What not to put in your disposal

There are a number of different things that many manufacturers and online sources say shouldn’t be put into a garbage disposal. 

Since the unit is attached to your home’s plumbing system, just below the sink’s drain, certain items like coffee grounds, uncooked pasta and rice shouldn’t be put into the unit. These items frequently absorb any water that goes down with or after it, clumping up before forming a clog that’s hard to clean further down the system. 

While putting a few grains or bits of them through the disposal is fine, always make sure to run the unit with cold water to ensure that no grains linger and absorb water.

In a similar way, one thing that can influence the answer to the question, “how long does a typical garbage disposal last?” is whether or not you put bones into the unit. 

Typically smaller bones, like a piece of chicken rib, can easily be ground down to be disposed of. Anything larger than that though needs to be thrown into the garbage instead. Instead of being ground up, larger bones just spin around in the garbage disposal and wear down the grinding mechanisms.

Here’s a simple list to help you know exactly what you can’t put into a garbage disposal:

  • Fibrous foods like onion peels and asparagus — These can often form a web of sorts that tangle up around the garbage disposal’s grinder.
  • Oil, grease and other kinds of fats — Though they tend to be liquidy for the most part, the moment some fats cool down a little, they start to congeal and form a gel-like substance. That substance can thicken further and form blockages.
  • Eggshells — Due to the fact that garbage disposals don’t actually have blades that require sharpening, putting eggshells into the unit actually causes more harm than good. The shells typically have membranes on the inside and much like more fibrous foods, the membrane can get wrapped around the grinder.


Knowing how long does a garbage disposal last can be one of the first steps in making sure that your home is inviting to everyone, your own family included. 

The disposal unit can last a long time if you know what kinds of materials you can put into it and what factors can influence the unit’s life span. 

In order to keep your garbage disposal lasting a long time and to keep it effectively grinding up waste food, it’s also important to keep it well maintained and get it regularly serviced by Clover Contracting. 

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