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Garbage Disposal Tips

How a Garbage Disposal Works


The garbage disposal uses a spinning impeller blade to force debris into the blades along the side. As it spins, it grinds the debris through the blades into particles that can easily be flushed through the drain. The disposer relies on lots of water to turn the food bits into a slurry that can be easy flushed through the drain.


WARNING! Please read our saftey information before attempting any testing, maintenance or repairs.


Before beginning work on the garbage disposal, unplug it or shut off the power at the fuse box or curcit breakerpanel to avoid unexpected operation or an electrical shock hazard.


The garbage disposer is not good at grinding fibrous foods like banana peels, celery, artichokes and corn husks. Fibrous foods do not grind into particles so much as strings, which tend to jam the disposer and clog the drain.


The disposal is mounted directly under the sink. The water from the sink runs through it to the "P" trap. The "P" trap's purpose is to hold a plug of water between the sink and sewer line under your home. Without the plug of water, sewer gas could flow through the sewer line and into your home.


If you have a double sink, the second sink's drain usually bypasses the garbage disposal and connects directly to the drain line just before the "P" trap.



If you have a dishwasher, typically the drain line from the appliance connects to an upside-down "Y" connector. The "Y" connector connects to an air gap above the sink. The air gap is vital to prevent a suction from occurring which could draw sewage into the dishwasher. If siphoning occurs, air is pulled in through the air gap rather than water from the waste line.


Ordinarily water runs from the dishwasher to the "Y" connector and into the disposer above the blade so that debris from the dishwasher can be ground if necessary.


Garbage disposals are great for getting rid of unwanted leftovers, expired food, and discarded peels. But we often take our disposal for granted—until it becomes clogged or stop working altogether

.    Follow these five simple tips to extend the life of your garbage disposal and prevent clogs and jams:

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Garbage DisposalTips



  • Do run cold water while grinding waste

  • Do grind lemon or orange peels to eliminate odors

  • Do let water and disposer run for several seconds after grinding is complete

  • Do grind ice to clean the blades and impeller




  • Don't reach into the disposer with your hand, use tongs and only when the unit is unplugged

  • Don't grind fibrous foods like corn husks,artichokes, banana peels or celery

  • Don't operate the disposer without running water

  • Don't use hot water for grinding, it melts fats which later may clog the drain.

  • Don't grind coffee grounds, they aren't a problem for the dipsoser but they build up in the pipes.

Run Disposal Regularly

Run your garbage disposal on a regular basis. Even if you don’t have anything to grind up, turn on the water and run the disposal every few days to move the parts around. Otherwise, the disposal can freeze up, rust, or corrode; and any leftover food inside can harden, leading to odors and clogs. 

Regularly running your garbage disposal is similar to exercising your body to keep it in top shape.


Use Cold Water

Run cold water—not hot—when using your garbage disposal. Hot water works great for cleaning most things, but not your garbage disposal.

Hot water can melts the food your disposal is trying to grind up, allowing the waste to cling to the sides.

Cold water, on the other hand, hardens food, making it easier for the garbage disposal to grind it up and push it out the drain pipe.

Run Disposal Longer

After your garbage disposal has finished grinding up the waste, keep it and the water running for a minute. This ensures that all the food has been flushed out the drain pipe to prevent clogs. 

You can also run cold water and a little dish soap down the drain after you’ve finished grinding up the waste. This will help clean out the disposal and make sure nothing remains behind or is clinging to the sides. 

Cut Waste into Small Pieces

Your garbage disposal is only so big, and its blades and motor are only so powerful, so don’t expect miracles if you feed it large chunks of meat or fruit.

Go easy, cut waste into smaller chunks, and only put in a few pieces at a time. Otherwise, you can overwork the disposal and clog or jam it—or worse, break it altogether.


Grind Citrus Fruit

Soap and cold water will go a long way toward keeping your garbage disposal clean; but once in a while, toss the peel from an orange, lemon, or lime in your disposal.

The peel will help clear excess waste in the disposal and eliminate any unpleasant odors.

What Not to Put in a Garbage Disposal

    Some foods don’t grind up easily, so avoid putting the following items in your garbage disposal:


  • Grease or oil can solidify inside a garbage disposal and cause clogs in the drain pipe.

  • Potato peels contain starch which can cling to the sides of the disposal, making it difficult to flush out into the drain pipe.

  • Glass, plastic, metal, or paper can jam or dull the blades of a garbage disposal.

  • Big bones, seeds, or pits can also dull the blades, jam the disposal, or become lodged in the drain pipe.

  • Expandable foods, such as uncooked pasta and rice, also contain starch which can cling to the disposal. In addition, water can cause them to expand in the disposal and cause a clog.

  • Avoid putting shells from any type of shellfish as well. 


    Following theses tips can keep your disposal clean and fully functional. If you do run into problems with your garbage disposal, turn the power off at the circuit breaker before attempting to remove a clog or jam, or call a qualified plumber to handle the repairs for you.

We offer garbage disposal repair in the following cities:

Encinitas, Cardiff by the Sea,Carlsbad, Solana Beach, 

Oceanside, Camp Pendleton,

 San Elijo Hills, Del Mar,
Rancho Santa Fe,

 Vista, Carmel Valley, San Marcos, Valley Center, Escondido, UTC, La Jolla,  Poway, Fallbrook, Leucadia

5/5 Stars on Yelp

Michelle T.    February 2, 2015

Right now my Kitchenaid stove top is clicking incessantly. The exhaust fan which comes out of the counter unit is also non-functional. My fridge is making noise also. I'm calling Pablo! The last time I had a problem, it was my washing machine. Pablo came and washed it out with muriatic acid, told me how to use it from now on and told me it would last 20 years if I took care of it. No problems since he was here and we continue to use his regimen for washing dishes (throw vinegar in with every load. Use the individually wrapped tablets for soap. Sorry, I can't think of the brand name right now). I am a repeat customer

North County Appliance Repair assumes no risk or responsibility in the provision of any and all information and warnings in this web site. All information is provided as-is. User assumes all risk. If you do not understand or do not accept these terms, please do not use this site or its services.

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