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6 Garbage Disposal Myths Debunked

Your garbage disposal is one of your most important kitchen appliances. In fact, nothing does the daily grind quite like it. But there are a lot of myths swirling around out there about disposals and how they work. Here’s what information to believe — and what myths to toss.

Father and daughter marveling at their sinkCourtesy InSinkerator

Myth #1: Only Run a Disposal for Short Spurts

You may think that once your food scraps are out of sight, you can power your disposal down. But it still has work to do. Keep the disposal running for 30 seconds after the food waste sounds like it’s done grinding. If you don’t, you could end up with unnecessary smells coming from the sink. Also, once you turn the disposal off, continue to let the water run for 15 seconds to flush away any lingering remains. Just make sure the water is cold; it keeps any grease or oil in solid form to run more smoothly down the drain line.

Garbage DisposalCourtesy InSinkerator

Myth #2: Disposals Aren’t Good for the Septic System

While it’s been said that septic systems are for water, not waste, that’s not entirely true. Numerous studies indicate that homes with a garbage disposal don’t see a tangible increase in septic system volume nor are more frequent pump-outs needed. Also, remember, those food scraps that you’re sending down the hatch are largely made of water, so they degrade pretty quickly. InSinkErator has even taken the step to specially design a SepticAssist disposal system that injects patented enzymes into the grind chamber with each use to start breaking down fats, proteins and starches before they reach the septic tank.

Man cutting veggies and putting some down the garbage disposalCourtesy InSinkerator

Myth #3: Many Food Items Simply Won’t Grind Down

Well, that depends on your disposal. With more horsepower comes more grind torque, so even items like meat, bones, dairy, and fibrous fruits and veggies are fair game. With lower horsepower (1/3 or ½), stick with everyday food scraps. Check with your manufacturer’s recommendations before use.

Money is thrown away in the sink. This photo concept illustrates the financial condition of a business that is failing or going bankrupt so that it only wastes money without results.Eko SP/Shutterstock

Myth #4: Garbage Disposals Waste Water and Energy

Even the most eco-conscious can’t argue with the math: On average, the energy used to run a garbage disposal comes out to less than $.60 a year. And water use averages out to about a gallon a day. To put it that in perspective, toilets typically use more than a gallon of water each time they are flushed.

ice tube on hand on a kitchen sinkEd Pal/Shutterstock

Myth #5: Ice Cubes Will Sharpen the Blades

In fact, garbage disposals don’t even have blades; instead, they have lugs on a spinning plate that force food against a grinding ring – think cheese grater. So while you’re putting ice cubes in your disposal has some merit (experts say cubes may remove leftover food bits on the lugs), they don’t sharpen the lugs.

Stainless kitchen sink with food waste disposal in modern homemariakray/Shutterstock

Myth #6: Hot Water is the Way to Go

We all love a hot shower. But garbage disposals don’t. That‘s especially if any grease is lingering on your food. Hot water makes it easier for fats, oils and greases to slip down your drain, potentially causing a clog further downstream in your plumbing.