Harmful Misconceptions About Garbage Disposals

8 July 2015
 Categories: Home & Garden, Blog

A garbage disposal is literally one of the little miracles of modern kitchens, and many homeowners who are fond of this plumbing appliance can hardly imagine how their kitchens would work without it. The system is designed to remove food waste from your kitchen and send it into your wastewater system, thus preventing clogging of the drains.

Despite their widespread use, certain aspects of garbage disposals are shrouded in myth, and some misconceptions can actually lead to misuse and breakdown of these appliances. This article will look at 3 such fallacies and provide the truths behind them.

Your garbage disposal can handle all sorts of garbage

The term 'garbage disposal' is perhaps a little misleading, which makes people believe that the appliance can be used to dispose of all sorts of garbage. The truth is that a garbage disposal is designed to only chop down and flush organic foods, so putting in solid inorganic waste such as paper and plastic can actually cause it to break down.

Additionally, not all foods can be safely flushed down into a garbage disposal. While these appliances appear strong and sturdy, they are actually quite delicate, and could be damaged by certain solid foods. Hard foods such as coffee grinds, chicken bones and un-popped popcorn kernels can break up the grinding blades inside the appliance, causing extensive damage.

Soft foods such as potatoes and rice are also dangerous, as they can build up at the bottom of the pit and clog up the unit, preventing other foods from passing through. Cooking oil and greases should also be kept out of the garbage disposal, as they can harden along the drain pipes and cause serious clogging.

Running water helps dispel waste more smoothly

It seems logical that running water as you operate the garbage disposal would help solid waste flush down easier. However, the result is usually quite the opposite; you will probably waste a lot of water and still have to turn off the garbage disposal to remove food particles that are jamming the unit.

A better way around this is to fill the sink with water to about halfway, and then run the garbage disposal. This allows both food particles and water to flow smoothly down the unit, avoiding repeated clogging.

Lemons clean your garbage disposal

It is not uncommon for homeowners to use lemons to freshen up their kitchen and clean their garbage disposal. However, this is destructive, as the lemons contain citric acid that will over time corrode the metal components of the unit. The best way to clean the unit is to put in ice cubes while it is turned off.

If your garbage disposal does break down, contact a reliable plumbing company like Angeles Plumbing for assistance.