How to Use a Garbage Disposal | Helpful Garbage Disposal Instructions & Directions

How To Use A Garbage Disposal

Using a garbage disposal involves the following steps – making sure no hard or metal items are stuck in the disposal blades, turning on the tap and running a steady stream of water, turning the garbage disposal on, and feeding the food scraps down the drain. Now you know how to use a garbage disposal.

Garbage disposals can be used to easily dispose of food scraps. Not only are they convenient but they also reduce the amount of waste you place in your garbage can.

If you would like to learn about how to work a garbage disposal, refer to our guide below. You’ll also learn more about safe garbage disposal use and some essential information everyone should know.

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1. Check For Clogs Or Stuck Objects

Always check for lodged items such as spoons, forks, and bones before turning the garbage disposal on. Running the garbage disposal with hard objects stuck in the blades could cause damage to the motor.

When checking for stuck items, be careful not to place your fingers close to the blades. If you do find something jammed in the blades, make sure the motor is disconnected from its power source before attempting to remove the object.

2. Run A Steady Stream Of Water Down The Sink

Before turning the garbage disposal on you must run a steady stream of water down the drain hole. Never run the garbage disposal dry as the water provides valuable lubrication for the blades and washes ground food waste down the drain.

3. Turn The Garbage Disposal On

The garbage disposal must be turned on before you place any food down the drain. If it doesn’t turn on, make sure the motor is connected to the power source. If it still doesn’t turn on, something may be broken and you should call an expert to help you troubleshoot the issue.

4. Feed Food Into The Garbage Disposal

Once the garbage disposal has been turned on and you have a constant stream of water running, you can gradually feed food waste down the drain hole. How much food you can feed at once will depending upon several factors, including:

  • Size of drain hole: The larger the drain hole the more food you'll be able to send down the drain hole at once.
  • Blade RPM: The higher the RPMs the more food a garbage disposal can handle at once. Most in-sink garbage disposals will have an RPM of 1725, although slower models do exist. If your garbage disposal has a lower RPM than 1725, don’t feed food too quickly as this can cause the blades to clog and jam.
  • Water flow: The more water you have flowing down the drain hole the more food you’ll be able to dispose of at once.

5. Turn Garbage Disposal Off

When all food waste has been disposed of, leave the garbage disposal and water running for 15 – 20 seconds. If you dispose of fatty foods like heavy oils or bacon fat, turn the water to hot and let it run for a few minutes. Once this is complete, the garbage disposal can be turned off.

use a garbage disposal

What Should I Know Before Using A Garbage Disposal

What is a garbage disposal? A garbage disposal is a home appliance that’s installed between the underside of the kitchen sink and the catch basin. The appliance has sharp grinder blades that shred food waste when turned on. Once shred, the food material is washed away down the drain.

When using a garbage disposal, you must be careful what kind of food you feed into it. Animal bones, shells from seafood, and most nuts should be avoided as they can damage the blades and cause the appliance to jam. When stuck, these items can also cause the motor to burn out.

Fibrous foods like stringy fruits and vegetables can also cause problems as they can wrap themselves around the blades causing them to jam. 

Hard seeds like those from mango or avocados can also cause serious problems for your garbage disposal. Never attempt to feed these into the grinder blades.

What Are The Stages Of Using A Garbage Disposal

Using a garbage disposal can be broken down into three main steps:

  1. Turning the garbage disposal on and running water down the drain hole
  2. Feeding food into the grinder blades while continuing to run water
  3. Running the garbage disposal and water for 15-20 seconds after the remainder of the food waste has been disposed of

Does The Garbage Disposal Type Affect The Usage Stages

No. The type of garbage disposal doesn’t affect the usage stages. That said, some of the best garbage disposals can process more food at once than budget or mid-level garbage disposal units.

Is Using A Garbage Disposal For Food Better Than Using A Trash Compactor

Yes. Using a garbage disposal for food is better than using a trash compactor. With a garbage disposal, all food waste is washed away down the kitchen sink drain. With a trash compactor, you still have to do something with the trash once it has been compacted, making it less convenient than a garbage disposal.

When it comes to the question of garbage disposal vs trash compactor for food, a garbage disposal unit is the clear winner. The only exception to this would be animal bones and tough seeds. In this situation, a trash compactor is the better choice.

Is Using A Garbage Disposal For Bottles Better Than Using A Recycling Bin?

No. Using a garbage disposal for bottles is not better than using a recycling bin. An in-sink garbage disposal should never be used for anything other than organic matter. Moreover, disposing of bottles and other plastics down the kitchen sink is very bad for the environment and should be avoided at all costs.

Is A Batch Feed Garbage Disposal Better Than A Continuous Feed Garbage Disposal

No. A batch feed garbage disposal isn’t better than a continuous feed garbage disposal. Continuous feed garbage disposals allow you to add food waste while the unit is running.

Batch feed systems work similarly to continuous feed systems except they are turned on only when a special cover is placed over the drain hole. Although this system is safer it’s less efficient and can take longer to dispose of the same amount of food.

When it comes to the types of garbage disposal units you’ll find in the kitchen, the continuous feed version is the most common.

How To Use A Garbage Disposal For Other Uses Besides Blending Food

The uses of garbage disposal units are limited to grinding and disposing of food scraps and waste. That said, some people have come up with a few interesting uses which we will cover below.

How To Use A Garbage Disposal As An Animal Feed

A garbage disposal cannot be used as an animal feed.

How To Use A Garbage Disposal As A Vermicomposting?

To use a garbage disposal for vermicomposting you must construct a housing unit that will hold the garbage disposal. You must also enture the garbage disposal has a power source it can be plugged into.

Once this is done, you can feed food scraps into the grinder blades the same way you would in your kitchen sink. Instead of the ground food waste being washed down the kitchen sink, you can collect it in a bucket or container.

When collected, you can then add the ground food waste to your vermicomposting pile or container, where it will be broken down by earthworms.

It’s important to understand that this is not a recommended use of a garbage disposal and can be dangerous.

How To Use A Garbage Disposal As A Compost Heap

To use a garbage disposal as a compost heap, install the garbage disposal somewhere where it can be safely run. Doing this will involve creating some kind of housing unit that will keep the garbage disposal upright. You should also attach some kind of funnel to the top of the disposal unit to make it safer and easier to use.

When this is done, the garbage disposal can be turned on and food scraps can be fed into the funnel. All processed food waste can then be collected in a bucket or container and added to your garbage compost heap.

It’s important to understand that this is not a recommended use of a garbage disposal and can be dangerous.

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