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This Is Why You Shouldn't Try This Viral Garbage Disposal Hack, Experts Say

It may seem like it works in the video, but experts say it can break your appliance.

Cleaning your home can be a thankless task, so it's no surprise that so many of us are looking for ways to make it both quicker and easier. However, many of the so-called hacks that claim to help you cut your cleaning time down to next to nothing aren't exactly what they seem. Recently, TikTok user @ChefNancyG became an overnight sensation when her garbage disposal cleaning hack went viral, but experts say it may not yield the results you're expecting.

In the video, Nancy pours a large number of ice cubes into her clogged garbage disposal, mashing them down with the handle of a ladle, and turning the mechanism on. The garbage disposal initially regurgitates a grayish liquid, then clears.

While more than 100,000 people have liked the video, with many viewers commenting that they've done the same, trying this hack could actually harm your garbage disposal.

"With the amount of ice stuffed down the disposal in the video, homeowners can clog their drain line, which results in the black water backing up into the sink," explains Mark Dawson, COO of Benjamin Franklin Plumbing.

ice cubes in metal sink

Though many commenters on the TikTok claim that they also use ice to sharpen the blades in their garbage disposal, the appliance doesn't actually work that way.

"There are no blades," says Natalie Barrett, service quality supervisor at Nifty Cleaning Services. "Instead, there are impellers and a stationary grind ring," Barrett explains, noting that ice may help clean your disposal, but won't sharpen anything within it.

That doesn't mean ice cubes can't be part of your garbage disposal maintenance plan at all, though.

Dawson says that putting a small handful of ice cubes down your drain, followed by a few wedges of citrus fruit and some cool running water, can help clean out your disposal and rid it of any unpleasant smells. However, if you want to avoid a costly repair, read on to discover what experts say you should never put into your garbage disposal. And if you want to get your home spotless in a hurry, discover these 20 Genius Tricks That Will Cut Your Cleaning Time in Half.

Read the original article on Best Life

Oils and Fats

olive oil pouring into bowl

That leftover olive oil or grease from cooking should be cooled and placed in the trash can, but never poured down the drain.

"The garbage disposal can handle greasy liquids, but the rest of your plumbing won't," says Barrett. And if you want to avoid a major error, discover how This Cleaning Mistake Is Ruining Your Home.

Hot Water

water pouring into drain

While cold water can help solidify any grease or fats that have made their way into your pipes, making it easier for them to pass through, running hot water in your garbage disposal can cause serious problems.

"Hot water breaks down the oils and fats, which can coat your pipes and cause a clog," explains Dawson.


woman spooning flour into sieve

While flour may seem like it shouldn't be that hard to get down the drain, it can cause serious issues in your garbage disposal. This goes for flour-based foods, like bread and pasta, too.

"All these products absorb water and expand in a couple of hours," explains Stephany Smith, a member of the appliance repair team at Fantastic Services. Smith says that when these foods mix with other material in your garbage disposal, they're "likely to form a thick mixture resulting in major blockages that will likely need a plumber's help."


sink drain trap full of soap bubbles

Accidentally getting a bit of dish soap in your garbage disposal may not cause permanent harm, but making a habit of it could be the source of issues down the line.

"Talc, wax, and food residue mix with hard water minerals and leave a hard residue on your garbage disposal parts," says Smith. And if you're stocking your cleaning cabinet, snag these 20 Genius Products That Make Cleaning So Much Easier.

Fibrous Vegetables

potato peels and vegetable scraps

You may want to keep a compost container on your counter, because your garbage disposal can't handle all those dinner leftovers.

Smith explains that vegetables including broccoli, corn, potatoes, and lettuce can keep your garbage disposal motor from working effectively, noting that their fibrous strings "can wrap up or stick into the teeth grinding the scraps" within your disposal.

Produce Stickers

bananas and clementines in a bowl
1000 Words Photos / Shutterstock

Before you toss a piece of produce into your disposal, make sure you've removed any stickers first.

"These small items can stick inside the pipe walls and blades, preventing them from performing their main goal: food grinding and cutting," says Smith.


brown egg shells in glass bowl

While there's a longstanding rumor that eggshells can help sharpen or clean your garbage disposal, Smith says the opposite is true. She explains that eggshell membranes "quickly wrap around the shredder ring," thus preventing your disposal from grinding up anything else you toss in.

Glass or Metal

pile of broken glass in sink

Your garbage disposal is capable of a lot, but it's not a trash compactor—and that means you should never try to crush glass or metal in it.

"If glass or metal falls into the garbage disposal, don't turn it on," says Barrett. She explains that you should switch it off completely under the sink and remove the offending material before using it again. And for more great cleaning tips delivered to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more
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