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Reliance Plumbing Sewer & Drainage, Inc. Blog

Grinding Down Some Myths About Garbage Disposals

sink-drain-with-water-flowing-downIf you have a garbage disposal in Long Grove, IL, you probably don’t give much thought to it except when it fails to work. The kitchen sink disposal is a modern convenience people have gotten used to. And when anything becomes too familiar to people, it’s easy for misunderstandings to start to develop about it until they turn into full-blown myths.

The garbage disposal has several persistent myths swirling around it, and the internet has only increased their presence. We’re going to examine several of these myths today so you know more about your garbage disposal and how to better take care of it. 

Myth #1: Garbage disposals have blades

This is the top misunderstanding about garbage disposals. We’ll bet you’ve heard this piece of advice before: “You can sharpen the blades of your garbage disposal by running it with ice cubes inside.” This doesn’t work—because there are no blades! What rotates inside the disposal is an inner ring of blunt impellers and an outer grind ring. The impellers hurl food waste into the grind ring to chop the waste apart. Please don’t put ice cubes down the disposal: they’re too hard and may damage their parts. 

Myth #2: You can put any food waste into the disposal

We’re glad that this myth at least makes it clear you cannot put non-food waste into the disposal (i.e. no actual garbage goes into a garbage disposal). But it’s still a myth and one that can lead to serious problems for the disposal and the drain. 

There are several food items that should never go down the disposal: rice and pasta; stringy and fibrous foods; meat bones; fruit pits; unpopped popcorn kernels; coffee grounds. A good rule of thumb is that only food items you can chew with your teeth can safely go into the disposal. Also, don’t pour fats, oils, and grease into the disposal, as these liquids harden when they cool and can cause numerous problems.

Myth #3: You must run hot water down the disposal

This seems to make sense to people, as they think of hot water as breaking down food and grease better. However, there’s a problem with using hot water, which is that it will cause any fats, grease, and oils in the disposal to remain liquid and flow down the drain, where they will then harden and create clogs. Cold water turns fats, oils, and grease solid so the disposal can grind them down. (And again, try to keep them out of the disposal in the first place.)

Myths #4: You can clean your disposal with lemons

This is another piece of advice you’ll find on the internet. But there are problems with it. First, won’t actually do any cleaning. The lemons will make the disposal smell nicer if it’s giving off foul odors, but they don’t address the cause of the odors. That’s something that will require a more serious cleaning or repair from a professional plumber. Second, the citric acid from lemons can lead to corrosion. 

Do you have garbage disposal troubles? Call us for great solutions, 24/7. Reliance Plumbing Sewer & Drainage, Inc. serves the Northshore and Northwest Chicagoland.

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