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Ken Neyer Plumbing, Inc. Blog

Facts About Garbage Disposals You May Not Know

tapwater-into-metal-basinWe’d like you to meet your garbage disposal.

You might already think you know your garbage disposal since you use it every day, or close to it. Kitchen sink disposals are standard in almost all modern kitchens, and it’s often difficult to imagine what food clean-up after meals would be like without a disposal to take away extra food waste. Without a working disposal, you’d spend plenty of extra time scraping food into a composting bucket.

But the reason we want you to meet your garbage disposal in this post is so you can find out a few important facts about it. These bits of knowledge will help you keep the disposal in good shape.

A garbage disposal grinds food, not chops it

One of the biggest misunderstandings people have about disposals is that they use “blades” to chop down the food. But there are no sharp objects rotating inside the disposal. What people think are blades are actually blunt impellers. As the impellers rotate, they hurl food against a grind ring around the edge of the hopper, where it’s ground to go down the drain easily with the water.

(This doesn’t mean it’s safe to put your hand down the disposal! The fast-rotating impellers and other moving parts can still cause serious injury. If you want to dislodge something from the hopper or spin the impeller wheels when they’re stuck, use the end of the handle of a broom or mop.)

The name “garbage disposal” is misleading

Plumbers wish garbage disposals were called anything else. Why? Because they aren’t designed to handle garbage, only a range of food waste. Anything that you would toss into an actual garbage can, such as plastic, aluminum, paper wrappings, cigarette butts, etc., shouldn’t go in the disposal. Hard objects like this can damage moving components.

Not all food items can go into a garbage disposal

Certain types of food shouldn’t be put into a disposal. Any hard food waste item that you can’t chew with your teeth (fruit pits, unpopped popcorn kernels, meat bones), stringy, fibrous foods (onions, asparagus), and food that absorbs water and swells (pasta, rice) should be put in the trash. All cooking oils, lard, grease, and fats should be poured out into a separate container since they can clog up the disposal when they cool down.

Vinegar and baking soda can deodorize a disposal

If you have a garbage disposal that smells too much of food waste, one way to take care of the problem is to pour a solution of baking soda and white vinegar into the hopper, then run water down it. If this doesn’t take care of the odors, call for repair technicians to look into what might be wrong.

Ice cubes aren’t an effective way to improve disposal performance

You may have heard this bit of advice: pour ice cubes down the hopper and run the disposal to sharpen its blades. As we pointed out above, there aren’t any sharp blades in the disposal. The cubes might end up causing damage to the components because of their hardness.

If you ever need garbage disposal repair in Cincinnati, OH, reach out to our plumbing any time of the day or night.

Ken Neyer Plumbing, Inc. has served Greater Cincinnati and the surrounding Tri State area Since 1972. Schedule service 24/7!

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