Appliance

Garbage Disposers

Garbage disposals were named by smart people in very good marketing departments. Disposals are not meant for disposing of garbage and they most certainly cannot be used for ALL garbage. More accurately they should be called “kitchen drain grinders,” since their real purpose is to deal with insignificant amounts of escaped waste-food that might otherwise clog up the kitchen drain.

image showing a vintage ad for garbage disposals
Vintage ad for disposals

To-Do

  • Always use plenty of cold water when running the disposal.
  • Do not pour grease down the drain or the disposal.
  • Never reach into the disposer-ever!
  • Find your appliance’s owner’s manual and place it in a secure location for instructions on your specific appliance. If you have lost the manual or want a second copy, you can usually find them on line.

Maintenance

  • 1x per week: Pull the rubber mouth guard out of the disposer and either clean it manually or place in the dishwasher.
  • 4x per year: Disposers need a good cleaning now and then as food can get stuck on the internal mechanism and smell bad. Drop some lemon slices into the disposer along with some old ice cubes while it’s running, along with a box of baking soda.
  • 1x per year: Also, check for rust and inspect the fittings under the sink to make sure everything is tight and leak free. Plan to replace every 5-8 years.

Good marketing made disposals a success

Disposals are by far one of the handiest but most misused tools in the kitchen. The result of this has been both a burden and windfall to professional plumbers through the clogging of drains and the ruination of septic systems. As mentioned already, disposals were originally invented to grind up the inadvertent food materials that accidentally managed to get themselves through the kitchen sink strainer and down the drain.

Before disposals, any food down the sink would almost certainly have caused a clogged plumbing drain. This would be an event sure to ruin a nicely planned evening meal. Disposers made it possible, with just the flip a switch, to grind up any pesky escaped carrots, potato peels or whatever and flush these finely ground particles away with no trouble at all. A homeowner would no longer need to call a plumber or stock gallons of liquid drain cleaner in order to save the day.

Grind up your problems

Image of a commercial garbage disposer with 10 horsepower
Garbage disposal

The marketing departments of these manufacturers quickly seized on this idea and made it sound as if anything could be conveniently stuffed in, ground up and flushed down the drain.

Ever-gullible American consumers thought this was a true miracle and embraced the idea with zest. Soon folks (like my dad) were experimenting stuffing entire turkey carcasses, whole lemons and all kinds of things down the sink that were never intended to go there. Yikes!  

I have learned first hand, the hard way that no matter how powerful the disposer, artichoke leaves and asparagus stalks are tougher!

Rather than re-educate the poor consumer about the true purpose of the machine, manufacturers responded by upping the grinding capacity and power, then raising the price!

Today the average heavy duty residential disposer has a full 1-hp and will cost around $300. If that sounds wimpy, there is for the “real” men out there, an ultra-heavy-duty In-SinkErator SS-1000-12 disposer with Ten horsepower for just under $7K. Good grief!

Summary and warning

Be careful to only run small amounts of biodegradable material through your disposer, especially if you are on a septic system. Do not ever stick your hands down the throat of this appliance.


Help me to help you

Thank you for taking time to use this free website. I hope you find the junk-free information here fun and useful? Please send me your comments and feedback.

Writing and maintaining the information in this manual is a lot of hard work. By sharing these pages with your friends, you help me to continue the effort.  You can easily share these pages to all your favorite social media sites via the shortcut buttons on the sidebar. You can also simply email the page link to your friends. Please share often.

The very best way to help me happens when you use the embedded links to buy things. Using a link is easy and free, yet it provides a great source of support for this site. The vendors I’ve chosen to link to have proven to be trustworthy and are the very best resources available. That is why I recommend them personally.

HomePreservationManual.com is the place to visit if you want information on

  • maintaining your home
  • how to improve air quality
  • ways to improve the real value of your home
  • what are the best housekeeping services
  • the problems with handymen services
  • how to plan and execute home renovation and home improvement projects
  • tips for spring cleaning; tidying up a messy house
  • and generally how to be a better homeowner.

Make sure you download your monthly maintenance checklist for this month.

Linking to this site

Do you want to link to anything on this site? Please do! Go right ahead. I appreciate it and am honored to be considered as a resource on your website. Always feel free to link to anything you find helpful. Of course, please never copy anything (everything is copyrighted and registered), but link away and thanks!

Thank you!

Copyright and permission to use information.

If you have questions or just want to say hi, please send me a note. If you are looking for help performing the work described and you are in the San Francisco area, go to HPS Palo Alto Inc.and request a free evaluation.

As a reminder, it is unlawful to make copies including cut and paste or especially in the form of making printouts for reuse. If you wish to make a print for personal use, I will happily grant you one-time permission if you will kindly send me a request in writing.

Thanks again!


Help me to help you

Thank you for taking time to use this free website. I hope you find the junk-free information here fun and useful? Please send me your comments and feedback.

Writing and maintaining the information in this manual is a lot of hard work. By sharing these pages with your friends, you help me to continue the effort.  You can easily share these pages to all your favorite social media sites via the shortcut buttons on the sidebar. You can also simply email the page link to your friends. Please share often.

The very best way to help me happens when you use the embedded links to buy things. Using a link is easy and free, yet it provides a great source of support for this site. The vendors I've chosen to link to have proven to be trustworthy and are the very best resources available. That is why I recommend them personally.

HomePreservationManual.com is the place to visit if you want information on

  • maintaining your home
  • how to improve air quality
  • ways to improve the real value of your home
  • what are the best housekeeping services
  • the problems with handymen services
  • how to plan and execute home renovation and home improvement projects
  • tips for spring cleaning; tidying up a messy house
  • and generally how to be a better homeowner.

Make sure you download your monthly maintenance checklist for this month.

Linking to this site

Do you want to link to anything on this site? Please do! Go right ahead. I appreciate it and am honored to be considered as a resource on your website. Always feel free to link to anything you find helpful. Of course, please never copy anything (everything is copyrighted and registered), but link away and thanks!

Thank you!

Copyright and permission to use information.

If you have questions or just want to say hi, please send me a note. If you are looking for help performing the work described and you are in the San Francisco area, go to HPS Palo Alto Inc.and request a free evaluation.

As a reminder, it is unlawful to make copies including cut and paste or especially in the form of making printouts for reuse. If you wish to make a print for personal use, I will happily grant you one-time permission if you will kindly send me a request in writing.

Thanks again!

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