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The Hood Magazine

Operating Your Garbage Disposal: Tips to Avoid Troubles

Mar 24, 2016 11:00AM ● By Hood Magazine
By Handy Man Home Remodeling Center

*Information provided by InSinkErator

Many think a garbage disposal works like a blender, with spinning blades chopping and breaking down the waste. In reality, there are NO blades involved. Instead, impellers (or lugs) mounted on a spinning plate continuously force food waste particles against a stationary grind ring. The grind ring breaks down the food waste into very fine particles - virtually liquefying them. After they are ground, the running water flushes the particles through the grind ring and out of the disposer and into your wastewater pipe.


Operating Your Disposal

  • Run your disposal along with a moderate flow of cold water. Continue to run cold water for a few seconds after grinding is complete.
  • Avoid using hot water when grinding food waste because hot water will melt grease particles and then as the water travels down the pipes in your home it will cool and cause a blockage far from the sink. It is OK to drain hot water into the disposer between grinding periods.
  • Never pour grease or fat into your disposal or drain.


  • Use a disposal cleaner to relieve odors caused by build-up, or grind citrus fruit peels to freshen up the drain area.
  • Disposals may also be cleaned with Disposer Care®. This product is available in major home centers, hardware and grocery stores.

Food waste disposals can be an environmentally responsible alternative to transporting food waste to landfills and they can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. At capable waste-water treatment plants, food waste can be recycled to produce methane that can be used as a renewable source of power for the plant. 

It’s also important to check what brand of disposal you have and do your research to understand what capacity your disposal can handle. Some disposals are not built to handle fibrous materials such as celery and corn husks. Some disposals are also not equipped to handle hard materials like bones and fruit pits.