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9 Common Garbage Disposal Myths

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Since the first in-sink garbage disposal was introduced nearly a century ago by an architect named John W. Hammes, there have been many myths about how the machine should be used properly. These myths have since been passed down through several generations, and while they are largely untrue, many people still believe in them. This has resulted in many garbage disposal units ending up broken or damaged in some ways.

You may have heard these myths yourself. And much like many homeowners, you may even have believed in most of them. But the thing is, they are precisely what they are – just myths. Some would think these myths are harmless, but they’re not. They can actually affect how your garbage disposal unit works. In fact, some of the myths mentioned in this article are damaging.

Let’s bust these myths so we can properly use the machine once and for all.

Garbage Disposal Myths

Garbage disposals offer a convenient way of disposing of food waste, but how these appliances actually operate can prove to be a great puzzle to some people. This has become the basis of different myths surrounding garbage disposals. Below are some of the common ones.

1. Ice can sharpen the disposal blades.

A common suggestion when the garbage disposal has difficulty breaking down foodstuff is to throw in a few ice cubes. It is said that doing so will sharpen the blades of the machine, making it more efficient.

The typical garbage disposal, however, does not have sharp blades. The impellers that work on breaking down food leftovers look more like a cheese grater. Since this is the case, no blades need to be sharpened, and throwing in those ice cubes will be pointless. They might even be damaging, if not dangerous, to the machine.

2. All food types can be dumped down the disposal.

The general premise about using a hot or cold water garbage disposal is that it cannot handle anything that an ordinary man cannot chew. Thus, bones, corn cobs, potato peels, onion skins, gristle, and un-popped popcorn kernels should not find their way to your disposal unit, especially if they come in large quantities.

3. You can throw flour down the garbage disposal.

We all know flour will turn into dough when mixed with liquid. If you pour flour into a wet sink, what do you think will happen next? The gooey and sticky dough will most likely get stuck on the grinder, not to mention cause blockages within the pipe.

4. Use soap to clean your garbage disposal.

Some ingredients in soap, like talc, can be dangerous to a garbage disposal unit. Talc soap scum, in particular, can lead to a hard-to-clean residue that will accumulate over time. This can eventually result in sink blockages and decreased garbage disposal efficiency.

5. You don’t have to remove stickers from fruits and vegetables.

Admittedly, those little stickers on fruits and vegetables you bought from the supermarket are a pain to remove, especially if you’re in a hurry preparing a meal for your family. However, you really need to dispose of them properly (which should be in the trash bin) because if these stickers accidentally fall into your garbage disposals, they can get stuck in the blades and cause a jam.

6. Fiber-rich foods won’t harm your garbage disposal.

Although a few grains of oatmeal or corn will not cause immediate harm to your garbage disposal, the gunk can accumulate and cause serious problems over time. Additionally, high-fiber vegetables, such as broccoli, lettuce, and potato peels, can wrap around your disposal blades and make them less efficient. Fruit pits can also end up in the U-bend of your sink and cause a clog.

7. Garbage disposals can handle grease.

This is among the most common garbage disposal myths. Disposing grease, oil, or fat by dumping them down your home drains is a big no-no. These substances can cause blockages and hinder the disposal’s ability to grind food.

8. Run hot water when using the garbage disposal.

Although it may seem sensible, there is a reason running hot water when using the garbage disposal is not recommended. The machine is made up of many parts that are susceptible to heat. They can get damaged if exposed to hot water.

It is best to use cold water instead when the garbage disposal is running. Cold water can also help keep fats, oils, and grease from going down the drain, as cold water will keep them solid.

9. Garbage disposals are not eco-friendly.

The many benefits of garbage disposals can be seen mainly in their eco-friendly function. Although they use electricity and water, these appliances are friends of the environment because they prevent food leftovers from ending up in landfills. Spoiled food and other waste are decomposed in landfills, producing methane, a gas 20 times more harmful than carbon dioxide.

The purpose of garbage disposals is to grind food particles and send them to wastewater systems. In doing so, these appliances help reduce methane production and allow food waste to be re-purposed. This can be used as fertilizer or a component in producing biofuel that can sustain water treatment plants.

Key Takeaway

Many homeowners think that garbage disposals are all-powerful home appliances. They can take in practically anything you throw their way, and there won’t be any problem. This has got to be among the biggest garbage disposal myths and is often the cause of many unit breakdowns.

Garbage disposal units are not immune to damage. Just like other home items, they can malfunction when used carelessly. Believing in myths on how to use them can only make things worse. If you need help with the proper use of garbage disposals, it’s best to seek the help of professionals who can even give you some garbage disposal tips.

Are you having problems with your garbage disposal? Let Absolute Electrical Heating and Air lend a helping hand.

The benefits of garbage disposals are numerous because they are highly-efficient home appliances. However, they have several parts that are quite sensitive and can easily get damaged if not used correctly or if you put in things that should not be there. Absolute Electrical Heating and Air can help you understand your unit better.

Our Aurora plumbing specialists are always on hand to help with your garbage disposal unit problems and other plumbing issues. Call us today!


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