Yes, you can usually run your garbage disposal while the dishwasher is running. Even though your dishwasher and your garbage disposal share the same drain line, you can run them both at the same time. That is, assuming both the garbage disposal and dishwasher were installed properly and neither has a clog. Here are a few things to consider about running them at the same time.
Our advice, that it is okay to run the garbage disposal when the dishwasher is running and even draining, assumes that both have been installed correctly. The garbage disposal should not drain through the dishwasher instead the dishwasher should drain through the garbage disposal.
If you or your plumber made the mistake of running the garbage disposal drain through the dishwasher, that means everything you drain through the disposal enters the dishwasher. The obvious problem is that this dirties the dishes in the dishwasher. And, when the dishwasher is running, using the garbage disposal can interfere with the cleaning cycles of the dishwasher.
It is not sanitary to have your plumbing set up this way. So, if you run your garbage disposal and notice that the food ends up in the dishwasher, you should reach out to a plumber to adjust these appliances and make the dishwasher drain through the garbage disposal instead.
Otherwise, Run the Garbage Disposal
So long as both were installed properly and are currently functioning, then you can run the garbage disposal even while the dishwasher is draining. It may take a bit longer for your food to wash down while the dishwasher is draining, but that’s not harmful. In fact, you should always follow up use of your garbage disposal with a few cups of water to clear it out. So, if your dishwasher is draining just after you have used your disposal, that can be helpful.
What About the Circuit?
Both the dishwasher and the garbage disposal use electricity to run. Sometimes they will be set up on the same electrical circuit, and sometimes they will not. If they are on the same circuit, using them at the same time could cause your breaker to flip. That’s only if they are overloading the circuit by demanding more electricity than it has the capacity for.
Still, this is an installation and an electrical problem, not an inherent problem of running the two appliances at the same time. Your plumber can make adjustments so that the two run on different circuits. Or, you may need an electrician to resolve an underlying problem with the circuit or how your home is wired.
There are some other possible issues you could run into by running the garbage disposal and the dishwasher at the same time, but they signal that something is wrong with one or the other. For example, if sometimes food from the disposal ends up on your dishes, the barrier between the two may be open when it shouldn’t.
A plumber can help you address these issues.