Garbage Disposal FAQ

Common Questions About Garbage Disposers

What shouldn’t I put into my garbage disposal?

Never put any grease or fat into the disposer. They can cause a blocking further down in the plumbing system which can be very expensive to get rid of. Animal bones are best avoided. Powerful waste disposers may be able to handle smaller bones but in most cases bones cause jams. Stay on the safe side and don’t feed your disposal any bones. Pasta and rice are two potential trouble makers. In larger amounts, pasta and rice can turn into a thick paste that stops your disposer or creates a blocking in the plumbing system. Small amounts generally don’t create much of a problem but if you want to stay on the safe side, limit the amount of pasta and rice. Fibrous and starchy vegetables cause problems for most garbage disposals. They are very tough to grind. Never feed your garbage disposers a lot of fibrous vegetables, let it try a little and see how it goes.

Can I use hot water while the garbage disposal is running?
No, while the disposal is running, always use cold water. Hot water melts fat which will re-solidify later and could block the plumbing. You should always run cold water for at least 30 seconds after that the disposer has finished grinding the food waste. The waste has still a bit to go after it has left the grinding chamber.

Do ice cubes clean my garbage disposal?
Not everyone agrees but tossing a few ice cubes into the disposer once in a while helps to keep the grinding chamber clean. You can also try ice cubes of lemon juice or something similar to get rid of any odour. Note that contrary to popular belief, ice cubes don’t sharpen the disposer blades.

My garbage disposal smells. What should I do?
In theory, garbage disposers are self-cleaning. By running cold water while the waste disposer is working the grinding chamber is kept clean. But once in a while, garbage disposers start to smell. The best way of getting rid of the smell is to fill the sink with water and then run the disposal so that the whole grinding chamber is filled with water. You may want to repeat this process a few times and then finish off with tossing a couple of lemon peels into the disposal.

What is a septic tank?
If you live a city, you don’t need to worry about septic tanks. A septic tank is part of a small septic sewage system. The septic tank gets the waste water from the garbage disposal and disposes the water into a septic (or drainage) field. Solid waste sink to the bottom of the tank, knows as the sludge layer. At the top of the septic tank is the scum layer, which consists of oil and grease. The septic tank makes sure that both the sludge layer and the scum layer stay in the tank and does not reach the drain field. If the septic tank is not correctly sized, one or both of the layers grow too much and is pushed into the drain field.

Should I buy a Waste King or an InSinkErator garbage disposal?
It is impossible to give one answer that is right for everyone. But as a rule of thumb, if you want good value for your money, buy a Waste King waste disposer. If you don’t worry much about the cost but want the best garbage disposal, buy an InSinkErator Evolution garbage disposer. They are very good but significantly more expensive than the Waste King disposals.

If you are missing a question in this garbage disposal FAQ, please contact us.

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