Every homeowner knows the convenience of having a garbage disposal in the kitchen sink, but have you ever wondered, “How long do garbage disposals last?” Like any appliance, its lifespan depends on various factors.

In this guide, Works Plumbing delves deep into the world of garbage disposals, shedding light on their longevity and maintenance. If you’re considering installing or replacing one, it’s essential to consult an experienced plumber in Daly City.

Garbage Disposal Lifespan: How Long Do They Last? 

Garbage disposals are durable, but they don’t last forever. So, how long do garbage disposals last?

On average, a well-maintained unit can serve you for about eight to 15 years. However, this duration can vary based on the brand, usage frequency, and how well it’s maintained. Regular maintenance and avoiding certain items can extend its lifespan.

Signs Your Garbage Disposal Is at the End of Its Life 

Recognizing the signs of a failing garbage disposal can save you from unexpected breakdowns and potential water damage. Here are some indicators to watch out for:

  • Unusual noises: If your disposal starts making strange sounds, there might be a foreign object stuck inside, or the blades could be damaged.
  • Frequent clogs: While occasional clogs can happen, if they become a regular occurrence, it’s a sign that your disposal’s efficiency is declining.
  • Persistent odor: A foul smell that doesn’t go away even after cleaning indicates trapped food waste, signaling a potential issue.
  • Leaks: Water pooling under your sink could be a result of cracked disposal or failing seals.
  • Inefficiency: If your disposal takes longer to grind or struggles with tasks it once handled with ease, it’s nearing the end of its life.

Tips To Maintain Your Garbage Disposal 

Proper care can significantly extend garbage disposal lifespans. Here are some maintenance tips:

Run Cold Water 

Always run cold water when using the disposal. It solidifies any grease, which helps the disposal chop it up before sending it to the trap.

Before turning on the disposal, let cold water run for a few seconds. Continue to run cold water for another 15 to 20 seconds after turning off the disposal. 

Clean Regularly 

Clean your disposal every week with a mixture of ice cubes and salt to remove any lingering debris. 

Once a week, fill the disposal with ice cubes and sprinkle a half cup of salt over the ice cubes. Turn on the disposal until the ice is crushed. The combination of ice and salt helps remove any lingering debris and sharpens the blades.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals 

Steer clear of chemical cleaners. Instead, opt for natural solutions like baking soda and vinegar. 

Pour half a cup of baking soda into the disposal. Follow it up with one cup of white vinegar. Let the mixture fizz for a few minutes, then rinse with hot water. This natural solution helps in cleaning and deodorizing the disposal.

Be Mindful of What You Dispose 

Avoid fibrous foods, bones, and non-food items, as they can damage the blades. Before using the disposal, remove any non-food items from the sink to prevent accidental damage.

Regularly Check for Leaks

Periodically, inspect the area under the disposal for any signs of moisture or drips. If you notice any wet spots, tighten the connections and seals. If the problem persists, consider consulting a professional.

Refresh With Citrus

After cleaning your disposal, drop a few citrus peels (like lemon or orange) into the unit. Run the disposal with cold water. The citrus not only helps in deodorizing but also leaves a pleasant, refreshing scent.

Why Do Garbage Disposals Wear Out? 

How long do garbage disposals last before wearing out?

Every appliance has its breaking point, and garbage disposals are no exception. Understanding what wears them out can help you take preventive measures. Here are some factors that can reduce the lifespan of your disposal.


Just like any other machine, a garbage disposal needs breaks. Constantly running your disposal, especially for extended periods, can cause the motor to overheat.

Additionally, feeding it large amounts of food, especially without adequate water, can strain the system. It’s better to gradually introduce food waste rather than overwhelming it all at once.

Foreign Objects 

Accidentally dropping items like utensils, jewelry, or other non-food materials can severely damage the blades, leading to a less efficient grind.

These foreign objects can also cause jams or even burn out the motor if not addressed promptly. Always check for any unwanted items before turning on the disposal.

Lack of Maintenance 

Neglecting regular cleaning and maintenance can lead to clogs and inefficiencies. A garbage disposal isn’t a “set it and forget it” appliance. Regular cleaning prevents food particles and grease from building up, which can lead to unpleasant odors and clogs.

Neglecting maintenance can also result in dull blades, making the disposal work harder and wear out faster. Regular checks and minor clean-ups can significantly improve its efficiency and lifespan.


Like all appliances, disposals have a natural lifespan and will wear out over time. Even with the best care, the blades can dull, and parts can wear out.

Over time, even if you’ve been diligent about maintenance, the efficiency of the unit can decrease, leading to longer grind times and potential jams. Recognizing when it’s time to replace rather than repair is crucial to ensure your kitchen sink operates smoothly.

Professional Garbage Disposal Installation Matters 

Installing garbage disposal is not just about connecting a few wires and pipes. It’s a meticulous process that, when done correctly, ensures the longevity and efficiency of the unit. Here’s why professional installation is paramount:

  • Expertise and knowledge: A professional plumber has the training and experience to handle different models of garbage disposals. They understand the intricacies of each type and can install them according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Safety: Working with electrical and plumbing systems can be hazardous. Professionals use the right tools and safety gear to prevent accidents, ensuring that the installation is safe for both them and your home.
  • Efficiency: A correctly installed garbage disposal will run more smoothly, reducing the risk of jams and clogs. This means fewer interruptions and a longer lifespan for the unit.
  • Time-saving: While DIY might seem like a cost-saving option, it can be time-consuming, especially without the right tools or knowledge. A professional can do the job quickly and correctly the first time.
  • Warranty preservation: Many garbage disposal warranties require professional installation. Doing it yourself or hiring someone unqualified might void the warranty, leaving you without coverage for future issues.
  • Post-installation support: Should any issues arise after installation, a professional plumber often provides support or services to address them. This can be invaluable, especially for those unfamiliar with garbage disposal troubleshooting.
  • Advice and recommendations: A plumber can provide insights into the best garbage disposal models for your needs and offer tips for maintenance and efficient use.

A well-installed garbage disposal by a professional ensures peace of mind. Plus, if you plan on selling your home, certified home inspectors will check whether you had a professional install your garbage disposal.

Repairing or Replacing Your Garbage Disposal 

Deciding between repairing and replacing your garbage disposal can be challenging. If you find yourself frequently pressing the reset button or dealing with recurring issues, it’s essential to evaluate the overall health of your unit. While some minor hiccups can be addressed with a quick fix, certain telltale signs might indicate it’s time for a replacement:

  • Age of the unit: How long do garbage disposals last? Most garbage disposals last between eight to 15 years. If yours is nearing or has surpassed this range, it might be more cost-effective to replace rather than repair.
  • Frequent clogging: If your disposal often clogs despite proper use and care, its efficiency might be decreasing.
  • Persistent odors: Bad smells that persist even after thorough cleaning can indicate trapped food particles or a failing motor.
  • Excessive noise: Unusual or loud noises might suggest internal damage or a malfunctioning motor.
  • Repeated resets: Constantly needing to reset your disposal is a sign of underlying issues that might be more serious than they appear.
  • Water leaks: If you notice water leaks originating from the disposal, it might have cracks or other structural issues.
  • Inefficient grinding: If the disposal takes longer to grind or leaves larger food particles, the blades might be dull or damaged.

A professional inspection by a plumber can provide clarity on the state of your disposal. They can assess the unit, determine the cause of the issues, and advise whether a repair or replacement is the best course of action.

Remember, sometimes investing in a new unit can save you more in the long run, both in terms of efficiency and avoiding future repair costs.

Need Garbage Disposal Repair or Installation? Call Works Plumbing

Understanding the answer to “How long do garbage disposals last?” and how to maintain them can save you time, money, and hassle. At Works Plumbing, we believe in empowering our customers with knowledge.

If you ever face garbage disposal issues, we’re here to help. For all your plumbing needs in Daly City, CA, call our Works Plumbing team at (650) 610-2830.

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