Do You Need Garbage Disposal for Dishwasher? (Solved!)

Is a Garbage Disposal Needed For Dishwasher

A good dishwasher makes the task of cleaning dirty dishes in your kitchen quick and hassle-free.

However, When using this essential appliance to clean your dirty dishes, it’s important to make sure that all food waste and debris are disposed of properly in order to avoid any clogging or drainage issues.

Garbage disposal is an optional appliance that’s often attached to a dishwasher to collect food waste while cleaning and efficiently help with drainage of the dishwasher. But do you need garbage disposal for the dishwasher?

In this article, we’re going to explain all you need to know about whether or not you need garbage disposal for your dishwasher and how to ensure your dishwasher drains properly

Do You Need Garbage Disposal for the Dishwasher?

You do not need garbage disposal for the dishwasher and we’re going to explain why this appliance is not necessary.

Why a Garbage Disposal for Dishwasher is Not Necessary

1- There Are Other Ways to Discharge Water from the Dishwasher Drain

One of the major functions garbage disposal performs when attached to the dishwasher is to help discharge water, as the drain pipe from the dishwasher is connected to the side of the garbage disposal.

However, there are other means of bypassing this with particular pipping attachments and so garbage disposal is not necessary for your dishwasher to work.

2- You Can Pre-rinse Dishes to Remove Food Waste

A garbage disposal can be a good attachment to help remove any large food pieces and debris that make up the trailer of your dishwasher, it is not necessary as you can pre-rinse the dishes before placing them in the dishwasher.

This will ensure you remove all large food particles that could clog the drainage in the absence of garbage disposal.

6 Steps to Installing a Dishwasher without a Garbage Disposal

Trying to install a dishwasher without garbage disposal can seem like a very daunting task however this process can be easily accomplished with the use of a few piping attachments that will ensure your dishwasher works without the garbage disposal attached. Our guide below will help you through the process.

Just follow the steps ahead:

Step 1: Insert an air gap into the sink through the air gap hole at the top corner and secure the ends to sink using a wrench and nut.

Step 2: Pull the dishwasher drain hose through the opening in the cabinet and connect it to the smaller leg of the air gap pipe. Be sure to secure the hose to the air gap with a hose clamp.

Step 3: Use a to wrench remove the sink drain pipe at the bottom of the sink. Then attach a Y-branch tailpiece to the sink’s drain and tighten it with a wrench

Step 4: Measure and cut a new tubing pipe. Then, attach one end of the tubing to the second angled leg of the air gap and connect the other end to the Y-branch tailpiece.

Make sure to secure both ends of the tubing with a hose clamp. This will connect the air gap to the sink drain.

Step 5: Run the dishwasher on a full cycle and check the air gap and all piping connections for any signs of leakage.

Step 6: Finally, reattach the cover plate of the dishwasher using the screwdriver.

What Can You Use Other than Garbage Disposal for the Dishwasher?

While a garbage disposal is certainly helpful in removing leftover food pieces and making sure your dishwasher doesn’t get clogged.

It isn’t the only option available for getting rid of your food waste while using the dishwasher.

Here are some other alternatives to garbage disposal:

1- Composting

If you don’t have access to garbage disposal, this is a great way to ensure no food waste gets into your dishwasher.

Scrape off all excess foods from your dishes and make a compost heap in your backyard. This will help turn all the food scraps into rich and fertile compost for your garden.

2- Dishwasher Filter

This is a type of food catcher that will help to trap and collect any food debris that may be left on your dishes while you run the dishwasher cycle.

While most dishwasher comes with a filter attached at the bottom, if your’s doesn’t it is best to get one.

Why Did My Garbage Disposal and Dishwasher Stop Working?

A faulty dishwasher and garbage disposal can make the process of trying to clean your dishes very unpleasant and tiring.

If your garbage disposal and dishwasher stopped working, there are two main reasons why this could be happening

1- An electrical Outlet Issue

In most homes, the dishwasher and the garbage disposal share the same electrical circuit.

So, while running both of these appliances, the circuit breaker could trip and cause the outlet to stop working which will mean that your garbage disposal and dishwasher stopped working at the same time.

The outlet you often plug these appliances into is also usually under the sink area and if your store many things under your sink, the plugs of your garbage disposal and dishwasher could easily get knocked off or pushed out of the outlet which causes both appliances not to access the power needed to start.

2- Your Garbage Disposal Is Faulty

A leaking or clogged garbage disposal could stop it from working and since your dishwasher is hooked up to the garbage disposal, food accumulation from improper drainage could affect your dishwasher and cause it to also stop working.

Can a Clogged Garbage Disposal Cause Dishwasher Not to Drain?

Yes, a clogged garbage disposal can prevent your dishwasher from draining.

The drain hose from the dishwasher empties into the garbage disposal.

So, If your garbage disposal is clogged, unground food and debris will ultimately settle in the drain pipe and will prevent your dishwasher from draining properly and often leaves stagnant water at the bottom unit.

How to Unclog Dishwasher and Garbage Disposal?

A clogged dishwasher and garbage disposal can cause stagnant smelly water to back up in your dishwasher.

Thankfully, you can unclog both appliances without having to spend a large chunk of money.

We’re going to explain the best way to unclog your dishwasher and garbage disposal with a few methods

Method 1

This method is best for unclogging your garbage disposal, as that could be the main reason why your water is backing up into your dishwasher and causing it to clog.

So, it is essential to try this method first in order to ensure that your garbage disposal is working properly and isn’t the culprit.

Just follow the steps below and your garbage disposal will be back to normal

Step 1: Turn off the electrical circuit breaker that controls the garbage disposal and unplug the disposer.

Step 2: Insert a ¼ Allen wrench into the small hole under the garbage disposal unit and rotate it to manually turn the motor shaft of the disposal blades.

Step 3: Make a natural cleaner by pouring ¼ of vinegar into the garbage disposal. Then pour ½ cup of vinegar into the baking soda.

This will create a fizzy foamy cleaner that will help unclog and clean off any food waste that may be stuck in the disposer without being too harsh on the plastic of the material

Step 4: Use a plunger to fully cover the drain then add enough water to cover the plunger and plunge to remove and loosen any additional hard residues that may be clogging the garbage disposer.

Do this until the water flows.

Step 5: Pour hot water down the drain to rinse off any more residues

Step 6: Ensuring your garbage disposal is unplugged, locate the reset button at the bottom of the disposer and press it back in if it’s sticking out.

Step 7: Finally, turn on the circuit breaker, plug in your garbage disposer, and turn it on to see if water and food remnants can now be processed properly.

Your garbage disposal should be back in fighting shape.

Method 2

After ensuring your garbage disposal is unclogged, if your dishwasher is still clogged, then you’re going to want to unclog the dishwasher.

This method is a well-rounded way to unclog your dishwasher and make sure it’s working properly.

The following steps will get you through this process:

Step 1: If there’s any standing water inside the dishwasher, use a plastic cup to scoop out the water. Place absorbent towels at the bottom of the dishwasher to remove and drain off any excess liquid

Step 2: Use pliers to loosen and remove the bolts holding the dishwasher drain hose.

Step 3: Check for any clogs in the drain hose and clean them off with a rag. Insert the rag deeper into the hose to ensure you are removing any clogged up dirt that may be stuck inside the hose.

Step 4: Pour some water down the hose and drain it into a bowl or bucket. This will fully rinse the hose and make sure there is no dirt in it.

Step 5: Reconnect the dishwasher drain hose and tighten it with the attached bolts.

Step 6: Open the dishwasher and check the base below the bottom rack. The drain basket will be attached there.

Remove the cover and use your hands to remove any food and dirt debris that may be stuck in the drain basket. Then return the cover

Step 7: Run the dishwasher cycle. Your dishwasher and garbage disposal should be draining properly and in their best condition after this.


The garbage disposal is a great attachment to have with your dishwasher, however with this article you now know that it is not a necessity. Your dishwasher will still work fine without one.

But if you ever have a clogged dishwasher and garbage disposal system that isn’t draining properly, we have also ensured you know just how to tackle the problem before you rush to shell out your money to a plumber.

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