Garbage Disposal Cleaning Myths


Garbage disposals are a lifesaver. Despite the ease of use that comes with a garbage disposal, you still need to be aware of what you’re putting down there. Traditional drains need a strainer to prevent harmful debris from going down. Sometimes, though, things happen, and you’ll need to clean the disposal. So, what’s true and what’s not when it comes to cleaning tips? Let’s look at some garbage disposal cleaning myths. 


Myth #1: Egg Shells & Ice Sharpen Blades


One of the most common myths you’ll hear about garbage disposals is that eggshells and ice sharpen blades. First off, your garbage disposal doesn’t have blades. Instead of blades, the disposal has teeth. These teeth, also called impellers, work by grinding up food and debris.

The membrane on eggshells is often harmful to the impellers. The membrane can wrap around the base of each tooth. This puts unnecessary stress on the garbage disposal’s motor and can cause it to fail. Finally, the crushed up eggshells create a thick paste that clogs drain lines. The ice itself will not break anything, but you run the risk of damaging the impellers or hardware. Ice is a hard substance, and you don’t want to throw anything hard down your garbage disposal. This includes things like chicken bones!


Myth #2: Use Hot Water In Your Disposal


Some people say you should always run hot water down the disposal, but this isn’t true. Sure, if you’re just grinding up some cucumber debris, you can feel free to run the cold water. More often than not, though, we are washing dishes that have some oils and fats on them. It may sound like it makes sense to use hot water to dissolve grease and wash it down the drain, but you shouldn’t do that. When you dissolve grease in hot water, it travels through the plumbing, cools off farther down the line, and causes a sticky mess. This creates a place for small debris to build up and clog the pipe. If you can help it, you shouldn’t put any oils down the drain, but the best practice is to eliminate it as much as possible. Some amount of fats will make it down the drain sooner or later. 

So, to combat this problem, if you’re putting any grease down the drain, make sure to use cold water. As you’re running the disposal, let the water run. Allow the cold water to rinse out the disposal and drain lines for at least thirty seconds while you run the disposal the whole time. 


Myth # 3: Putting Vegetables Down The Drain Is Fine


There’s a common misconception that putting vegetables down the drain is fine since they’re natural and grind up in the disposal. This is false. Actually, you should avoid putting any amount of veggies down your garbage disposal. The majority of vegetables are fibrous and clog drains easily. Think about it. If you threw a stalk of celery down there and ground it up, you’d end up with a thick, stringy mess. Then, you flush it down the drain with some water, and it might make it down just fine.

Over time, these kinds of food items will create a debris dam. This clog makes it impossible for waste or water to pass through. If some grease accidentally made it down the drain after that celery, it would create a watertight seal that would worsen the clog. Try to put the least amount of food waste down the drain as possible because less is better in this case. 


Have A Problem?


Now you know about garbage disposal cleaning myths! You know what to look out for and what not to do. If you need any help with your garbage disposal or handling a clog, give us a call today! We’d love to help you with any of your plumbing needs!