Do Ice Cubes Sharpen Garbage Disposal Blades? (Explained)

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Many people believe that placing ice cubes in a garbage disposal sharpens the blades and helps to grind food faster. But is that true?

Garbage disposals get stuck when you put unwanted food waste. Ice cubes can help clear the blockage so the equipment can work in high performance. However, it does not sharpen the so-called blades.

Ice on brightblue background

Do garbage disposals actually have blades?

Garbage disposals do not have blades. The so-called blade is actually a grinding or shredder ring and you do not need to sharpen it. The disposal has a spinning ring that can break the food waste because of its speed and the force that it can handle. The ring is also thin and positioned at an angle that can push and move the food waste inside the container.

One perfect example of this is the blender. You probably own one and it has been sitting on your counter for years now. Have you ever sharpened it? I do not think so. But each time you use it, it still grinds. You do not sharpen your blender’s blades but it can break nuts.

Although a blender’s blade is sharp, it cannot liquefy solid food. It is the fast motion responsible for making the solid into a liquid. It is almost the same thing that happens in a garbage disposal.

Do ice cubes sharpen garbage disposal blades?

As I mentioned, garbage disposals do not have blades. Although garbage disposals do not have blades, However, you must clean them to maintain their top performance. In order to do it, you need ice cubes.

It can clean off the teeth giving the impression that you sharpen them. The ice cubes can dislodge the food scraps that are stuck in the grinding ring.

When cleaning the garbage disposal with ice, place a handful of ice cubes into the disposer. You must do it while the disposer is turned off. Then you turn on the cold water and run the disposal for a few minutes. If you want to make your disposer smell better, you can add slices of citrus fruits before turning on the machine.

Never use glass to keep the blades in good condition. Glass is a hard material that can dent the ring and may change the orientation of the rings.

Do garbage disposal blades get dull?

To set the record straight, garbage disposal has no blades. But why does it able to grind the food waste? It is because of the three components that work together.

These components use one principle that every garbage disposal of any brand follows. These components are run by a motor, which runs on electricity.

To understand exactly how it works, let me enumerate the three components responsible for the grinding. The components include impellers, spinning plates, and stationary grinding plates.

They work together to break the food particles. Due to their function, they give the impression that garbage disposal has blades.

When you turn on the machine, the spinning plate spins. It is where the impellers are mounted. The impellers push the food around inside the stationary grinding plate where it grinds the food waste.

Now that you understand how the garbage disposal works, let us dive into the reason why these components do not grind the food waste, which most people thought the blade getting dull.

When you notice that the garbage disposal is not grinding, the first thing you need to check is the impellers. The impellers must move freely so they can push the food waste to the grinding plate. You can use a spoon handle to push the impellers ensuring that they move around easily.

If the impellers do not move freely, the next thing you must do is to put hard food items into the garbage disposal. Then you run it with water. You can hear the noise but do not worry. It is normal to hear loud sounds while grinding when you use a hard material.

The purpose of this procedure is to reveal coins, screws, or any small objects that are stuck in the garbage disposal.

You may need to repeat if the impeller fails to grind the hard materials. However, if after a couple of attempts it continues to fail to grind the food waste, it is time for a service call.

Clogged garbage disposal is another way the so-called blades do not work or seems to be dull. You may have put food waste that the disposal cannot grind.

If you accidentally put food waste that clogs disposal, check the bottom of the disposal and insert the Allen wrench on the hole. Move the wrench in twisting motion so the flywheel can move.

If it does not solve the problem you need to press the reset button. You will know if you need to reset the garbage disposal when it overheats or it shuts down for no apparent reason.

To reset the garbage disposal, press the red button. Then run a cold stream of water and turn it on. It must solve the problem. If it doesn’t work, then you need a service call.

When the disposal does not work, you may think right away that the problem comes from the disposal. However, it is not the case all the time. Sometimes it is the blockage from the drainpipe. You will notice it when the water backs up into the sink.

To solve this problem, you must disassemble the pipe and clean it. You may find grease that hardens causing the clog. Do not use drain cleaner because it will be more difficult to clean.

Let me repeat myself again, a garbage disposal does not have blades. Instead, it has impellers, a spinning plate, and a grinding plate. They work together to grind the food waster. However, a blockage may cause it to stop working so you need to check the reasons for the blockage.

Garbage Disposal under the modern sink, waste chopper concept

Is there a way to sharpen garbage disposal blades?

With the information I have told you that garbage disposals do not have blades, it is useless to say that you can sharpen them. I think the better way to say it is there is a way to keep it working apart from using ice cubes for maintenance.

To keep your garbage disposal rings working, you must be mindful of the food waste you put inside. Similar to the blender, it does not work when there is no enough liquid. It stuck up that you need to scrap the food you are trying to blend.

It is the same operation that happens inside your garbage disposal. You need to run enough water so the ring can run smoother as the food waste comes inside.

You must also take note of the food items that can cause clogging of the garbage disposal. Even if a blade is sharp but gets stuck it would not work. There is a lot of food waste that you must not put inside such as fibrous materials, non-biodegradable material, fruit pits, bones, nuts, vegetable peels, food with starchy content, grease, and coffee grounds.

Another maintenance tip that you can use to keep your garbage disposal working is by combining baking soda and vinegar.

Let it set in the disposal hopper until it is done foaming. Make sure that the unit is turned off. Then rinse down the drain with hot running water.

Do not use caustic chemicals to clean your garbage disposal. The chemicals like bleach may backflow or fly out when you turn on the unit. It can cause harm to your eyes when it happens.


Garbage disposal is pricey as well as the installation fee. But it has a lot of benefits that help maintain your kitchen sink sanitize. It is convenient to use and it eliminates the chance of storing rotten food in your garbage bin.

So proper maintenance is important if you will own one. By following the tips you learn guarantees to keep your disposal work for years.