How Does a Garbage Disposal Work? A Comprehensive Guide

Nov 12, 2023 | Garbage Disposal

Let’s answer the question: How Does a Garbage Disposal Work?

If you are considering installing a garbage disposal in your kitchen or looking to upgrade your current one, you might be wondering how exactly they work, and what benefits they offer. A garbage disposal is an electrically-powered device that sits under your kitchen sink and mechanically grinds wasted food into particles small enough to pass through your plumbing system.

In this post, we’ll explain exactly how a garbage disposal works and the different types available on the market.

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How Does a Garbage Disposal Work?

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Garbage disposals work by grinding up wasted food into small particles that can be safely transported through your sink drain. When you turn on the disposal, a motor engages a spinning plate that uses centrifugal force to push food waste against a stationary grinding chamber.

Several people assume a garbage disposal consists of sharp blades that break down food but this isn’t the case. The grinding chamber contains blunt metal teeth that work to break down the food chunks into tiny particles, which are then flushed away with water into your homes waste line.

Garbage Disposal Options

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There are two main types of garbage disposals: continuous feed and batch feed. Continuous feed disposals are the most common and are designed to be turned on and off with a switch located on the wall or countertop.

Batch feed disposals, on the other hand, require you to load the food waste into the unit and turn it on manually using a built-in switch.

Should I Install a Garbage Disposal in my Kitchen?

There are several advantages to installing a garbage disposal in your kitchen. First and foremost, a garbage disposal reduces the amount of food waste that ends up in landfills, which helps to reduce the environmental impact of your household.

Garbage Disposals can Reduce Your Garbage Bag Usage

Additionally, garbage disposals can help to reduce the number of garbage bags that your household produces, which can save you money and reduce your carbon footprint. Finally, these kitchen appliances can help to keep your kitchen smelling fresh and clean, as they remove food waste from your home before it has a chance to rot and produce odors.

Key Factors to Consider

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When choosing a garbage disposal, there are several factors to consider. First and foremost, you’ll want to choose a model that is powerful enough to handle the amount of food waste that your household produces.

Garbage disposals are rated in horsepower, with more powerful units being able to handle tougher food waste like bones and fruit pits. Additionally, you’ll want to choose a model that is easy to install and maintain, and that has a good track record of reliability and durability.

Garbage Disposal Options

One of the most popular and well-regarded brands of garbage disposals is InSinkErator, which has been making quality disposals for over 75 years. InSinkErator offers a wide range of models to suit any budget and household need, from compact units designed for small spaces to industrial-strength models for commercial use. Their disposals are known for their reliability and durability, and they offer some of the best warranties in the industry.

Consider These Brands for Your Garbage Disposal Unit

Moen is another popular brand, known for their sleek design and powerful motors. They offer a variety of models with varying horsepower to fit different household needs. The brand is recognized for its commitment to quality and excellent customer service, making it a favored choice among consumers.

Another competitor in the market is Waste King, which is known for its high-speed options and affordability. Their garbage disposals come with long-term warranties and they’re appreciated for their easy-to-install design.

Why you Should Run Your Garbage Disposal Regularly

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Running your garbage disposal on a regular basis is important for maintaining a clean and healthy kitchen. Not only does it help prevent nasty odors from arising, but it also aids in breaking down food waste. When organic matter is not properly disposed of, it can attract pests and cause damage to your plumbing system over time.

By running your garbage disposal with cold water, you can easily dispose of food scraps and prevent future problems. Plus, it’s an eco-friendly alternative to throwing food waste in the trash. So go ahead and give your garbage disposal a spin the next time you clean up after a meal – your kitchen (and your pipes) will thank you!

How to Repair a Clogged Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals are a lifesaver in the kitchen when they work properly. But when your garbage disposal gets clogged, it can be a headache to deal with. Before you call a professional plumber, try unclogging your garbage disposal yourself with these simple steps.

First, turn off the power to the disposal. Then, use a flashlight to see what’s blocking the disposal and clear out any debris with tongs or pliers. Next, use a plunger or an allen wrench to manually turn the disposal to break up any remaining clogs. If all else fails, a mixture of baking soda and vinegar can help break down and remove any stubborn buildup. With a little patience and know-how, you can have your garbage disposal up and running smoothly in no time.

Can any Food Waste go in my Garbage Disposal?

If you’re like many people, you may have wondered whether it’s okay to dispose of food waste in your garbage disposal. Although it’s a convenient way to get rid of leftovers and other food scraps, there are some things to keep in mind. While many types of food waste are safe for your disposal, there are certain items that should never be put down the drain.

For example, fibrous foods like celery and artichokes can get tangled in the disposal’s blades. To avoid any problems, it’s best to stick to soft foods like fruits and vegetables, and to avoid putting any bones or eggshells down the disposal. By being mindful of what you’re putting in your garbage disposal, you can help ensure it stays in good working order for years to come.

Don’t Pour Down Grease, oil, or fat

Have you ever been tempted to dump leftover grease, oil, or fat down your garbage disposal? We get it, it seems like an easy way to get rid of unwanted liquids. However, this quick fix can actually cause some major issues down the line.

Pouring grease, oil, or fat down a garbage disposal can lead to blockages in your plumbing system, as the oils can solidify and cling to the pipes. You’ll end up with clogged drains and potentially costly repairs.

Instead, pour used oils and grease into a container and throw it in the trash. Plus, this environmentally-friendly disposal method can also save you money in the long run. So next time you’re tempted to pour grease down the drain, remember the consequences and opt for a more responsible disposal method.

Don’t use Bleach or Drain Cleaners

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Have you ever thought about using bleach or drain cleaners in your garbage disposal to help keep it clean and working properly? Well, here’s a friendly piece of advice – don’t do it! While these products may seem like a good solution to eliminate odors and keep your disposal running smoothly, they can actually cause more harm than good.

Bleach can corrode metal parts and lead to leaks, while drain cleaners can damage the blades and other components. Instead, opt for natural cleaners like baking soda and vinegar, or simply use hot water and dish soap to keep your disposal clean and odor-free. Your garbage disposal (and wallet) will thank you in the long run!


In summary, a garbage disposal is an essential kitchen appliance that can help to reduce food waste, save you money, and keep your home smelling fresh and clean. When choosing a garbage disposal, it’s important to consider factors like power, ease of installation and maintenance, and reliability.

By choosing the right garbage disposal for your home, you can enjoy years of trouble-free service and the peace of mind of knowing that you’re doing your part to reduce waste and protect the environment.

Need Help With Your Broken Garbage Disposal?

Is your garbage disposal constantly clogging or making unusual noises that you can’t seem to fix? Don’t let the frustration take over your life! Let the experts at Maryland Sewer and Plumbing Service assist you. Our expert team is equipped to handle any garbage disposal issue you may face.

From simple repairs to new installation, we’re ready to get your kitchen back in working order. With years of experience and a commitment to top-notch service, we’re the trustworthy choice for all your plumbing needs. You can count on us to get the job done efficiently and effectively, leaving you with one less thing to worry about. Book your service online for a hassle-free solution!


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