Do You Have to Run Water While Using the Garbage Disposal?

Chances are you already run water while operating your garbage disposal. But have you ever wondered if it really matters?

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There are no shortage of “homeowner habits” that dictate the way we interact with our homes. Some are founded on solid principles. Others we pick up without thinking them through. One example is the common practice of running water when you use your garbage disposal. It seems to make sense, but does it really make a difference?

In this instance, the answer is a definite yes!

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Why Does it Work?

Simple: Running water helps flush food particles through the garbage disposal, into the trap and down your waste pipes without gumming up the moving parts.

It’s like swallowing an aspirin with a mouthful of water. It’s not technically necessary, but it sure makes things go down easier!

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The Pasta Objection

Some sites on the Internet advise against running water while operating your disposal. That’s based on the theory that excess water causes items like pasta and rice to swell and create a clog. It’s true that water makes pasta expand. But that’s why you run the disposal with cold water. Cold water is slower to absorb, and waste items should flush down the pipes before this becomes an issue.

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The Exception

Of course, life is never quite that simple! The one exception to this rule is liquid grease or fat. Cold water can make these items congeal, and they will likely solidify in the trap or nearby, creating a potential bottleneck.

Instead, flush it through with a dose of hot water and a dash of dish soap. The heat and soap break up the grease, and will at least spread the congealed solid into a thinner layer in your pipes.

Now if you read that last sentence and are saying to yourself that anything that results in a “congealed solid” shouldn’t go into your pipes, you’re right! You’re far better off by dropping fat and grease straight into the trash.

So turn on the water before you hit the disposal switch, and be confident that you really are helping your home!

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