How to Use A Garbage Disposal (Proper Instructions)

The whole process of cleaning the waste immediately after dinner is exciting. Your kitchen remains clean, and fresh thanks to the small gadget under the sink called the garbage disposal.

Unfortunately, although the garbage disposal serves us endlessly, we mishandle it.

How to Use the Garbage Disposal

We don’t follow the instructions on what we should drop in it and not. Using the disposal wrong jeopardizes its operations, unfortunately. But it also shortens its lifespan.

Today we will show you how to use it, and hopefully, you have been using yours right.

But first,

What Is A Garbage Disposal?

It’s a tiny electric gadget that fits under the sink. You use it to grind the food waste into small pieces or paste-like liquid before letting it down the drains and into the sewage. It comes in two types the batch feed type and the continuous feed.

However, continuous feeding is more prevalent in families because it takes care of the massive amounts of waste.

Garbage Disposal

Also, the garbage disposal connects to the dishwashers. It makes it easy to clear the solids from the dishwasher as well and prevents clogs in the drainage.

Basics of Using Garbage Disposal

Running the Water First

Running the Water

Using the garbage disposal is easy, but when you ignore the basics, you may damage it sooner. When you want to use it do the following:

Always and forever begin by running cold water into the disposal. Only then can you start the disposer after you have run enough water in.

You will continue to run the water during operation and then even a few seconds after the disposal finishes grinding.

This leads us to the question:

Why should I use cold water and not hot water?

Naturally, on the dos and don’ts list, we categorize fats and oils among the don’ts. But the food waste contains some form of oils and fats. That’s to say that if you use the hot water, it will melt the food down and stick and solidify on the walls of the drainage pipes and disposer.

When the waste solidifies, it forms build-ups and clogs on the different inner parts of the disposal unit. Coldwater, on the other hand, works to drain down the food waste in its solid form to the sewer.

Doesnt the disposal unit use a lot of water?

Well, contrary to most beliefs, it appears that a properly used garbage disposal only uses a gallon of water per person. So, if you live where there’s no water problem, you will be okay.

The essence of running the water constantly

The garbage disposal works hand in hand with the house plumbing. Thus, you need water to aid in the flushing down of the waste into the sewer system. If you don’t use enough water, then you will form clogs soon.

With a proper force of water, though, you will send the water down the drain pipes. Also washing the disposer after grinding will keep the food residue from getting stuck on the disks. This means minor clogs and build-ups.

Washing the disposer, thus, makes it easy to keep the disposal unit clean and smell fresh. Water is vital in the grinding process. It makes it easy to grind the bones and food particles to liquid form quicker.

The water you run will also prevent the shredder blades and impellers from overheating. It, therefore, operates at an ideal temperature making it more effective. If you make the mistake of stopping the water as the food waste is grinding, clogging is inevitable.

Turn the Disposal Unit On

Once you run the water in for about 30 seconds, you should turn the garbage disposal first. Never put the waste in before it’s on.

Turn the Disposal Unit On

Put in The Waste but Dont Overfill It

Put in The Waste

After you turn it on, start feeding your waste into the garbage disposal. But you should never put in a lot of garbage at a go. In fact, the drain strainer is your guide. It should never be more than the drain strainer.

If you want to dispose of a lot of waste, take your time to put in just a little bit of the trash at a time. If you overfill the disposal unit, it will be inoperable, and it can also lead to a jam that will force you to remove the waste again.

Jamming the disposal can be expensive. So, keep it safe by only using a little bit of waste at a time. Also, make sure you grind the food waste entirely before you switch it off. You should never leave the trash in the hopper. Such actions will cause clogs and blockages.

Switch Off When It Finishes Grinding the Waste

You will know that it has finished grinding the waste by the change of the sound so you can switch the appliance off. Next, let the water run in the disposer for a few seconds to wash off the waste thoroughly.

In summary, it should take you only a few seconds to grind the wastefully. However, sometimes it may take just a little longer if you have a lot of waste or harder waste.

Things to Put in The Waste

Yes, you can put in the food waste but not all food waste. Only use the biodegradable in the unit. I use this statement to crack the code of waste not to put in it, do not put the trash that you can’t chew in the disposer. It acts as a chewing machine too.

You can dispose of meat if you can chew it. But get rid of the hard bones because that will damage the blades.

· Fruits and veggies

These are often soft so they can grind almost every grain. However, you shouldn’t put the pits and celery in the disposer units.

Dont Put the Following Food Waste

  • Hard bones

Hard bones will cause clogs and stop the disposal unit from the efficient operation. Some bones will even damage the blades no wonder it makes that squeaky sound.

  • Coffee beans and coffee grinds

This one is easy to dispose of, but sadly it does stick on the pipes and form build-ups in the end. Quite believing that it deodorizes the disposer.

  • Eggshells

We have heard that you can dispose of the hard shells but only if it’s not a lot. The eggshell membrane will cover the blades leading to clogs. In the end, it will cause malfunction.

  • Potato peeling

Well, you should not put the potato peelings in the garbage disposal. The starch that you have in the skin forms a paste that sticks on the blades and coats the walls.

  • No rice and pasta

If you can do away with this in another method like compost, it will be better than throwing it in the garbage disposal. Pasta and rice expand when the water is in contact with them. It then gets stuck in the unit, causing clogs.

  • Fibrous food

Keep any form of fibrous food from disposal. They may include celery, husks of corn banana peels, and more. It will tangle in the teeth and cause more damage to the blades.

  • Non-food

Never put anything that is not food in the disposer. No utensils, dirt, sponges, or scorching pads in the disposal.

Important Things to Remember

Clean the garbage disposal

There are many ways to clean the garbage disposal; thus, you have no excuse to clean it up. Although naturally, the disposer cleans itself, you may need to thoroughly clean it occasionally. Otherwise, the food waste will often coat the blades leading to clogs.

You can clean it daily after use using the simple cold water and dish soap and then give it a powerful clean every after a fortnight.

Ice cubes

The best cleaning method is by using the ice cubes occasionally. It always gets rid of the gunk. Also, there are claims that it sharpens the blades. Let’s say I love it because it reaches even the hardest to reach parts.


Yes, you aren’t supposed to grind the bones, but the small bones that you can chew like the fish bones are not bad. The bones might even help you get rid of the food waste that’s stuck and lingering on.

Always cut the waste into smaller pieces

It’s not right that you put the west in the massive form as that makes it hard for the blades to work on them. It takes longer to grind large pieces of waste, and they may even lead to jams.

Remember it’s still a machine, and it will reach its limit if you overwork it. For those large veggie pieces, cut them down to smaller pieces to help the disposal grind it better and faster.

The garbage disposal shouldnt smell

There’s no excuse for the disposer’s odor as there are methods you can employ. The lemon rinds, lemon, and vinegar are just a few ingredients that will help you get rid of the smell. If you notice that the smell won’t go away still, give it a thorough clean.

But prevention is better than cure; therefore, you should always practice methods to get rid of the smell earlier. Use the citrus rinds occasionally, or the ice cubes will give it a thorough clean stopping the odor.

Use it regularly

If you keep the disposer without using it for so long, it will start to jam and break down. If you don’t want it to rust and corrode and thus deteriorate sooner remember to run it often.

Remove the foreign materials from the disposal

Sometimes you might have the utensils fall into the disposal unit accidentally. Running the garbage disposal with the utensil in it is calling for damages. Thankfully you can use the tongs to remove it.

Switch it off

Remember to handle the disposer only when you have switched it off. It can start running while you are cleaning or removing a clog in it. Thus, keep it on switch-off mode. It’s much safer that way, especially when you have babies in the house.

Garbage Disposal Maintenance

If you want to use it for a long time, you will have to maintain it and care for it.

Keep it free of constant clogs

The only way to maintain and keep it lasting longer is by keeping it free of clogs. Note that if you have the disposer, it will at some point clog. But that doesn’t mean you can’t avoid the regular clogs.

However, the best way to get rid of clogs is by preventing the clogs altogether. This you will do by frequently cleaning the disposer. Also, you should run the water through the time you are grinding and after you finish grinding.

When the disposal is clogged or jammed, you can just reset it using the button below it to revive it. The reset button comes in handy when the disposal unit suddenly shuts off.

Take care of the jam

Whenever you notice there’s a jam, you should take care of it and start it again. This will help to stop any further damage to the disposal. Sometimes a simple resetting of the button can help with unjamming.

Deodorize it

When you notice that it has a constant lousy odor, you should remove its parts to clean it and even its drain lines. This will help to get rid of any possible build-up or clogs. It’s quite easy to deodorize it. The primary method is to use lime or lemon.

If the smell persists, you should know that you need to cater to the deep cleansing.

Some of The Myths

There are several myths about garbage disposal. We would like to clarify to allow you to believe in the right things. For you to will increase your lifespan, there are things you will have to know only as myths while others you will have to believe.

It has blades

I’m one of those who have for a long time thought that the garbage disposal has blades. Well, this is because of the noise it makes during grinding. For most people, the belief is that it has a razor-like sharp blade, but it doesn’t.

It instead has the sharp teeth that it uses to break down the waste. The teeth are also called impellers. The way it works to break down your food waste is by spinning rapidly.

This beats the logic of using the ice to sharpen the blades that it doesn’t have. The only thing that happens is that the ice melts or the best it can do is try to clean it.

You should run hot water when grinding and for cleaning

Hot water makes it easy to clean very many appliances. It can clean the disposal. But the problem is that it liquefies the fats making parts of them stick to the drain pipes and garbage disposal walls then it solidifies.

Remember that you shouldn’t put the fats in the disposal. Also, when grinding the waste, you shouldn’t use hot water.

Coldwater has various functions in the disposer. Some of the features include cooling the shredders and motors. Hot water can’t do that.

Lemon will clean the disposal

For a long, we have believed in this even though it’s not true. What’s true is that it makes the disposer smell fresh for a short while. But cleaning it won’t work. The only way to use it for cleaning is if you have it in the company of other ingredients.

Though the lemon has a citrus, it’s not that strong to give the disposal unit a power clean. I would instead use vinegar if needed.

Garbage disposal is bad for the environment

The truth is that this is one of the best options for the environment we have.  Most of the water treatment plant systems we have today are high. They can handle almost anything from the disposer. If your local city is making use of the bi-product, then the disposal is effective.

Also, when you use the disposal, it’s much more energy-efficient than you throwing the waste into the landfills.

For the water treatment plant, the city makes use of the methane gas produced to make energy. In the landfills, however, the gas you release the gas into the environment.

Tips to Remember

Its operation

When using the garbage disposal, there’s a set method on how to operate it. They follow a set sequence that if you don’t comply, can damage it. Don’t follow your sequence, instead, follow the series on the disposer’s manual.

Using it for non-foods

We have said in many articles that you should never use garbage disposal for nonfood items. I still have to stress it, though. Don’t do it or else you shorten the lifespan.

Wait for a little before you call for service

You may want to call the plumber or electrician for even something small. It will cost you a lot of money, yet it may be something you can correct yourself. Always troubleshoot the disposal and find out if you can alter the malfunction before you call for help.



You may think that you are cleaning the disposer right, but you may not be. This you will know if the odor lingers on. Try to clean every part and especially the rubber gaskets, which are often the reason for the bad smell.