How to sharpen garbage disposal blades?

Garbage disposals do NOT have blades.

Yes, that’s right.

Then what do they cut all those food wastes with?

Garbage disposal units are more grinders than cutters. These machines have a stationery shredder ring and mostly two swiveling impellers fixed on a rotating turntable. When the disposal unit is running these impellers throw the food wastes at the shredder ring which breaks them down.

But for this to work efficiently it is important that the shredder ring is clean and sharp.

Adding greasy food wastes into the disposal unit will make these shredder rings blunt because these substances tend to stick between those teeth.

How to sharpen garbage disposal blades?

There are a few ways to sharpen garbage disposal blades

Basically you are not sharpening the blades but cleaning them. Here is how you can do that;

1. Using ice cubes

Using ice cubes is the easiest method of sharpening your garbage disposal blades. For this, all you have to do is keep the disposal running, without any food wastes in it, and add a handful of ice cubes. Let it run for a few minutes. The ice cubes here works as an abrasive cleaner and removes any food residues that are sticking to the shredder teeth.

Using of ice cubes is the most recommended method by experts for cleaning your disposal blades.

2. Using hot water and soap

This is actually a very effective method for cleaning disposal blades but it is seldom mentioned in blogs and other online sources. I don’t know why.

The goal here is to fill the disposal with soapy water so it removes all the grease sticking to the impellers and the shredder ring. 

What you can do here is; fill your sink to the maximum with some hot, soapy water. The water should be soapy but do not use any chemicals that can damage the garbage disposal. Once you filled the sink, pull its plug and let the disposal fill. Immediately switch ON the disposal unit before all the soapy water drains out. 

Then run some cold water and keep the unit running for a few more minutes so all the soap in the disposal is washed out.

What you should NOT try

1. Using glass to clean the disposal

Some experts argue that you can use small pieces of glass to sharpen disposal blades. I agree that glasses are kind of like ice cubes here since they provide enough abrasive action to remove food wastes. So, in theory, broken glass pieces in small quantities may work. But in practice, people don’t know how small ‘small’ is, so you may end up adding more than that optimum quantity of glass, or maybe you will add bigger pieces than what you should. In short, you are more likely to end up jamming the disposal than cleaning it.

Also ice melts but glass don’t.

2. Adding egg shells

There are also some people who argue that eggshells in small quantities help to clean disposal units. But again, no one says how much is ‘small’. It is true that 2 or 3 eggshells cannot clog a disposal unit (tried and tested) but to be frank they are not as effective as ice cubes. Also, they are less likely to melt away, and you may end up with more problems than you had.

Charles John

A few years back I bought a garbage disposal for the first time in my life. And the buying experience wasn't good. There were lots of models in the market, and I was not sure about which one to buy. They all looked the same to me. So once I went through the experience I started this blog to randomly write things about garbage disposals. Then I got really interested in the subject and started to write comparisons of very similar garbage disposals with each other. A lot of my readers find them very useful in making the right buying choice. I hope it helps you too.

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