Should You Wash Dishes on the Disposal Side?

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We all know that left-over food can lead to unpleasant odors and clogs in your drain. However, many people wonder if it’s ok to wash dishes on the disposal side.

If you are using a double bowl sink, you should use the side with the garbage disposal for rinsing and the other side for soaking and washing with soap. This will decrease the risk of smaller utensils falling into the disposal system.

What is the Correct Way to Set Up Your Sinks to Wash Dishes?

There are two types of sinks you will use in most homes for dishwashing. You have the all-purpose single bowl sink and the other is a double bowl sink. So, let’s talk about these two variations in more detail and see just how to use them effectively.

How to Set Up a Double Bowl Sink

As the name reveals, a standard double sink will have two equally sized bowls side-by-side. These tend to take up more space than their single compartment counterparts. But they offer more flexibility and a more organized way of cleaning dishes.

Normally, you divide the cleaning process and assign one particular task to each compartment. You plug the drain on one side and fill it up with water.

Then you add the cleaning soap or liquid to that water and create a nice, foamy mixture. This is the side where you let your dirty dishes sit and soak in the soapy water.

The other side stays water-free and the drain remains unplugged. After you give the dishes enough time to soak, you move them to this side and rinse them off with clean water. This gives you more maneuvering space and allows for better cleaning.

If you have a dedicated rack for dishes and glassware, place them next to the sink where you use them for rinsing. So, you can easily transfer the fresh dishes to the rack. This way you do need to store it in someplace where it may come into contact with dirt yet again.

Some people will forgo this divide and conquer setup. Instead, they will use one side to do all of the soakings, scrubbing, and rinsing. Then use the other side to store the cleaned dishes temporarily. This is common in homes that do not have a rack to put the dishes in right next to the sink.

Furthermore, if you want to thaw a frozen turkey or chicken, you can simply place them on one side of the sink. Preferably, this is the side without the garbage disposal. Then you use the unoccupied sink to wash anything from dishware to glassware.

How to Set Up a Single Bowl Sink

A single bowl sink does not give you so much flexibility as you only have one compartment to do the entire washing and rinsing. But they take up a lot less space. And you can use this space to set a dry rack and other products in a more convenient spot.

Once again, you start by filling the sink with water and adding in the soap. Remember to plug the sink or else all the water will go to waste.

Place the dishes into the water and let them soak. Try to put the dishes with the most amount of gunk at the bottom. This will give it more time to soak, which will loosen the oil and grease more.

Finally, you turn on the tap and give it a nice rinse, and put them into a dish rack. You can unplug the sink at this point. Or if the water level is not at risk of overflowing, you can do it at the end as well.

It is best not to thaw any frozen meat or other food products at the same time you want to clean dishes. Because the filth and germs may spread to the food and contaminate it. If you accidentally do this, make sure you thoroughly rinse the food before cooking it.

Otherwise, you may succumb to a totally avoidable case of stomach problems.

Should You Wash Dishes on the Disposal Side?

Now, if you have seen any modern kitchen sink, then you probably have also noticed the garbage disposal system accompanying them. It is a piece of technology that you attach to the base of your sink. So, any large food materials or leftovers get shredded, which makes them easier to dispose of.

Now, in most cases for most double bowl sinks, the garbage disposal will be attached to one side only. The other usually drains directly into the drainage systems via pipes, in conjunction with the disposal. This raises a common question – do you wash the dishes in the sink with the disposal hole or without it?

Well, you can use any side to clean your dirty dishes. That choice is ultimately up to you. But there is some practicality in using the disposal side for rinsing only.

You see, the opening for the garbage disposal is not big enough for plates or even the smaller bowls to pass through. But they are wide enough for silverware to enter such as spoons and forks.

So, if you soak all the dishware in the side with the disposal, you risk these smaller utensils getting stuck in there. If this does happen, it may damage your precious silverware. Or it may end up clogging the entire disposal system. Sometimes it can do both and to solve this problem you may have to call in a plumber.

And this is not limited to just utensils. People can drop their wedding ring or a small piece of jewelry if they are not careful.

Now, if you were using the disposal side for rinsing only, there is less chance of that happening. For one thing, rinsing takes less time and there is not too much movement of the fingers.

So, not washing your dishes on the disposal side is not the law or anything. Cleaning the dishes is a very personal task and so many people have their own ways of accomplishing this. But you do need to be careful even when doing something as innocuous as dishwashing.

Also, always use extra water to rinse the sink itself for any leftover food materials. The remaining detergent water should be enough to kill any residual bacteria and other germs.

How to Hand Wash Dishes in Double Sinks?

Double sinks are very convenient for people who prefer a bit more organization. If you have a smooth system in place, doing the dishes each night will feel like a breeze.

Of course, everyone has their own of way doing this. But here we discuss some techniques and tricks that may make your Thursday nights a bit easier.

Fill the side without any disposal with water and add in your cleaning soap of choice. If the meal was extra greasy or oily, you can put more in than normal. Ideally, you would be able to do this hot water instead of normal tap water. Hot water is more conducive to getting off the residues.

Scrape all the dishes and glassware for residual food materials into the side with the garbage disposal. Using a fork or a spoon will usually get the job done. Then gently drop the plates, utensils, and glasses into the soapy water. The bigger cooking pots should go in first as they will get more time to soak. This will save you some rinsing and scrubbing time.

After you soak them for an adequate time (at least 20-30 minutes), take them to the disposal side and rinse them with clean tap water. Then immediately transfer the dishes into a clean rack to dry. Finally, drain both sinks and turn the tap off.


In the end, washing dishes comes down to what suits you best. It depends on how much time and effort you are willing to give it and also the satisfactory level of cleanliness is for you. Hopefully, you gained some helpful insight by going through this article.