For most folks, their garbage disposal is something they use on a daily basis. Your garbage disposal does everything from grinding up food scraps from meal prep to those leftovers after the meal. Like most of the other appliances in your kitchen, your garbage disposal needs regular care and specific practices for it to run smoothly.
There are a few tips and tricks for keeping your garbage disposal in tip-top shape, including running water while using it. We’re here to explain this tip and whether or not it’s something you should implement into your daily practices, so continue reading to learn more!
In This Article
Why Do You Have To Run Cold Water In A Garbage Disposal?
It’s true – running water while you use your garbage disposal is essential. Whenever you grind up miscellaneous food scraps, you should always run water. More specifically, cold water.
If you run hot water when you grind food scraps, the tiny fatty bits that end up in the drain create a sticky mess. When enough of these fatty bits build up in the drain, they can block the drain completely, which is a nightmare.
So, if you use cold water, the fatty bits remain congealed and solid inside the disposal canister. While you shouldn’t pour oils and fats into your drain, a few drops here and there might sneak through. To ensure they don’t create a blockage in the drain, use cold water while you run the disposal.
Aside from that, running water helps lubricate the disposal as it grinds the food. Think of your blender – let’s say you toss in some frozen fruit, protein powder, and some greens. Without any liquid in there, the blender doesn’t get far. It starts blending but doesn’t create the smooth mixture you’re looking for. Add in a bit of water or milk, and tada, the blender can do its job.
While your garbage disposal doesn’t work exactly like the blender, since it doesn’t technically chop the food, it grinds it, the analogy works. So, by adding water to the mix, the disposal has an easier time doing what it needs to do.
How Long Should You Run Water After Using The Garbage Disposal?
Cold water is essential to keep things running smoothly when using your garbage disposal. You need to run the water throughout the entire duration the disposal is grinding the food.
After the disposal finishes grinding the food scraps, continue running the disposal and the water simultaneously for about 30 seconds. Then, shut off the garbage disposal and allow the water to run for an additional 10 to 15 seconds to flush the drain.
What Foods Can’t Go In The Garbage Disposal?
Garbage disposals are handy appliances, but you need to be careful how you use them. Although they can handle most food scraps, there are certain scraps that can wreck the disposal. Here are a few everyday items that shouldn’t go down the drain:
- Potato peels
- Fibrous fruits and veggies – banana peels, celery stalks, pumpkin innards, onion layers
- Coffee grounds
- Bread, pasta, and rice
- Shells, pits, and nuts
- Large bones – larger chicken bones, beef bones, etc.
- Fats, oils, and grease
If you send these items down the drain, there’s a great chance they’ll create an issue in your garbage disposal. Sometimes, they can create a clog bad enough that you’ll need a professional plumber to fix the problem.
So, steer clear of putting these items down your drain altogether.
Garbage Disposal Safe Items
Many food scraps you generate in your kitchen are safe to go down the garbage disposal. Here are a few items that are perfectly fine for the garbage disposal to handle:
- Most fruit and veggie scraps
- Small amounts of cooked meat
- Small bones, like fish bones or small chicken bones
Some scraps can even help freshen your garbage disposal. Citrus peels, for example, release lovely, freshening smells when they’re ground. The oils in the peels are released in the disposal, giving your garbage disposal a much better lingering smell.
Many folks will toss a few ice cubes in their disposal, along with a few citrus peels, to lightly clean the disposal. For added cleaning power, freeze vinegar in an ice cube tray and use it for disinfecting your garbage disposal.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Where Does The Garbage Disposal Water Go?
The water that drains into your garbage disposal drains into the same place as the rest of the wastewater you generate in your home. If you look under your sink, you’ll see the plumbing heading down from the disposal and back into the wall.
If you have a dishwasher, you’ll see a drain hookup connected to the same drain line. Additionally, if you have a double-bowl sink, the water from that sink drains into the same pipe.
Once the wastewater leaves your home, it’ll go to the local wastewater treatment plant. Or, if you have a septic tank, that’s where the wastewater goes.