Informational Guide

Do You Need A Garbage Disposal With A Dishwasher?

Do you need a garbage disposal with a dishwasher, or are they built-in? We answer all your questions in this Plumbing Lab guide.

by Ian Haynes

Most people consider garbage disposals and dishwashers to be two essential kitchen items. They save you time, energy, and are better for the planet. However, do they come together?  

Many people wonder, "do you need a garbage disposal with a dishwasher?" Make sure to read more to find out! 

Most modern dishwashers will come with a built-in garbage disposal or filtration system.

However, these disposal units are very small, so they need to have powerful motors to make up for their size. 

They also are great for removing food from the dishes and properly disposing of it. 

It’s a nice feature to have since you won’t have to worry about cleaning the food bits out of the dishwasher on your own.

When they’re connected, you can save a lot of time. 

garbage disposal and dishwasher setup

Benefits Of Having A Dishwasher With A Garbage Disposal

Dedicated Plumbing  

Dedicated plumbing only requires one connection to your plumbing, and you can use it whenever you need to after it's installed. Portable models connect to the faucet, which can be cumbersome and gets in the way. 

Integration With Kitchen Cabinetry  

You also won't need to move these units around- you can set it up in one place and let it stay there. Usually, people have a dishwasher hooked up under the counter next to their sink, often sharing the same plumbing as a sink's garbage disposal. This looks nice and keeps the dishwasher out of the way. 

Quiet Operation  

Also, these types of dishwashers produce less noise, especially when placed in the cabinet. You won't have to listen to anything annoying when you go with this option- unlike with portable dishwashers or standard garbage disposals. If you want a quiet operation, choose a model with both. 

Adequate Place Settings and Specialized Cycles  

Finally, you get specialized cycles, allowing you to deal with plenty of dishes at one time. You can choose heavy duty cleaning, rapid cleaning, slow cleaning, and even options for glass. You won’t have to worry about anything breaking, as long as you choose the correct option. 

plumber fixing a dishwasher

Drawbacks Of Having A Dishwasher With A Garbage Disposal 

However, it’s also worth noting that there are some drawbacks to using a combined dishwasher and garbage disposal.  

Takes Up Valuable Space  

For anyone with a smaller kitchen, you might feel cramped with this type of appliance in the room. These units often go into your cabinets, taking up more of your precious storage space. It would also be a hassle to take with you when you need to move out. 

Plumbing and Electrical Work Is Required  

Finally, this unit will need to be connected to your kitchen’s plumbing and the electrical system. You’ll need to have a professional handle the installation for you to ensure that everything is done safely and right. If you require professional assistance, fill out the form below for a free quote in your local area!

Do You Need A Garbage Disposal With A Dishwasher In Your Kitchen?

Most of the time, a combined unit is the best option. You won’t have to handle any messes or clogs on your own. Clogged drains in a dishwasher are awful to deal with. However, all of the best garbage disposal systems can take care of that for you. 

This is generally the most convenient option for families. You’re sure to appreciate not having to deal with clogs or food residue in your unit. 

However, some people buy them separately to save money. If you’re planning on using a portable dishwasher unit, you also would need to have a separate garbage disposal in the kitchen. This often still costs less than buying the full-sized model and having a professional install it for you. 

Overall, you don’t really need these items together- but it makes life a lot easier when you do have them! The dishwasher runs smoother, and you won't have to worry at all about clogs. 

dishwasher drain with a garbage disposal connected

Can You Connect A Garbage Disposal To Your Dishwasher? (How To Guide)  

If you've already bought the appliances separately, you can connect the two of them. Once you've installed the garbage disposal, you can move on to the following steps. 

Start by unplugging the garbage disposal from the outlet. You want to make sure it’s off. If there’s no outlet connection that you can reach, shut down the unit at your breaker. 

Use a screwdriver to remove the hose nozzle, which should be above the drainpipe port. Then, connect the threaded stem of the disposal to the hole at the back of the sink. Your unit should come with an appropriately sized rubber washer and screw that you need to connect to this part. 

Finally, connect the end of the disposal hose to the unit and use the included clamps. You’ll have to cut the hose down to the proper size. If this process doesn’t sound like something you want to do, make sure that you ask a pro to install it for you instead. 

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Can you run a garbage disposal and the dishwasher at the same time?  

You should be able to do this unless the system is broken or not installed properly. You shouldn’t run into any issues with your new model. 

Can you use a dishwasher with a broken garbage disposal?  

You can still run the dishwasher, but you might have to deal with clogs if the food isn't rinsed off the dishes properly.  

Does a dishwasher need to drain into garbage disposal?  

It doesn’t, unless you want it to for convenience. You can skip this as long as you follow regulations. 

Can a clogged-up garbage disposal cause a dishwasher to leak out water?  

Yes, a clog in the disposal unit can cause the dishwasher to not drain- leading to water in the bottom of your appliance. 


Overall, you technically don’t need both a garbage disposal and a dishwasher together, although it’s much better for the sake of convenience. It can help you get your dishes done faster and produce less food waste in the long run.

Ian Haynes is an expert writer who has successfully deployed over 500 plumbing pages and other related content. He has an excellent understanding of home plumbing issues and translates his experiences via Plumbing Lab so readers can have a better understanding of common household problems. Outside of his work, Ian likes exploring Brooklyn with his Labrador.