Top 5 Garbage Disposal Misconceptions

Garbage disposals are a helpful tool to have in the kitchen, but there are a few common misconceptions about what can and cannot go down them. Knowing fact from fiction can save you from frustration and costly repairs down the road. Here are a few myths about garbage disposals that you shouldn’t follow:


Ice cubes can sharpen garbage disposal blades.

Contrary to popular belief, garbage disposals do not have blades, they have rotating impellers. The impellers work as teeth to grind up waste into small, almost liquid, particles. Those particles are then carried away by running water to your sewer system.

This is why hard materials such as ice, fruit pits, or bones should never be put down the garbage disposal. Eggshells are also commonly thought to help garbage disposals but instead can harm them. The thin membrane inside of the eggshells can get caught within the impellers of your disposal and cause it to malfunction. Staying away from items like these can help prolong the life of your garbage disposal.


You should run hot water when using the garbage disposal.

This myth is almost correct but missed the mark on one key element: your water should be running in order to help carry away food materials, but the temperature should be cold instead of hot.

It’s a good practice to always have cold water on when running your disposal system. Why cold? Cold water keeps waste in its most solid form, making it easier for the garbage disposal to break down foods and oils that could otherwise clog your drain. Cold water also minimizes the likeliness of any food getting stuck in your disposal, which can normally lead to unpleasant odors.


Putting coffee grounds down the garbage disposal keeps it fresh.

While coffee grounds don’t harm your garbage disposal, they can harm your pipes. Coffee grounds become almost sludge-like when combined with water. When you dump them down the drain, the sludge-like grounds can build up in your pipes and cause a clog in your home’s plumbing. If you are wanting a better way to keep your garbage disposal smelling clean, grind lemon or other citrus rinds to give it that fresh scent.


As long as its food, it can go down the garbage disposal

Generally, most waste that is food should have no issue going down a disposal. However, foods that are high in starch should never be put down the drain. Foods such as rice, pasta, potatoes, or cereal should be avoided because they can potentially clog your pipes.
Fibrous foods such as celery, corn stalks, and banana peels should also be avoided. These foods have individual fibers that can get caught in your garbage disposal and cause it to malfunction. Instead, dispose of these foods in your trash or compost.

Items that are safe to put down a garbage disposal include: citrus rinds, scraps of cooked meat, fruit scraps, and almost all vegetable scraps as long as they are not fibrous or starchy. Garbage disposals are designed to accommodate small food scraps, not a full-sized meal. Try cutting food into small chunks before sending them down the drain to prevent any clogs.


Garbage disposals are easy to install or replace

While the concept of a garbage disposal is fairly simple, their installation can be a bit tricky for the average do-it-yourself homeowner. Garbage disposals incorporate two elements that don’t normally mix – electricity and water. If not handled correctly, a simple installation can cause major issues. Additionally, the correct tools and a familiarity with your home’s plumbing are needed to make sure that the disposal is installed correctly.

When considering the cost of the materials, tools, and time invested, it may be more cost effective to hire a professional plumber to complete the installation for you. An experienced plumber, such as Avis Plumbing in Cape Coral, FL, has the tools and the know-how to correctly install or repair your home’s garbage disposal.


Avis Plumbing services all areas of southwest Florida, ranging from Captiva to Fort Myers to all Naples. Avis Plumbing offers same day service, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call us today at (239) 481-1511 or contact us online.

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