A woman is chopping vegetables on a cutting board in the kitchen.

What Is a Garbage Disposal Used For and How to Properly Utilize It

Are you tired of your kitchen trash can overflowing with food scraps, making it a pain to clean and creating an unpleasant odor? The solution could lie in using a garbage disposal unit.

This handy device not only simplifies cleaning up after meals but also plays an essential role in managing kitchen waste effectively. Stick around as we explore the purpose behind this nifty tool and share tips on maximizing its benefits while avoiding common pitfalls.

Key Takeaways

  • A garbage disposal is a kitchen tool that grinds up food waste into small pieces, which can be easily flushed down the sink and into the plumbing pipes.
  • To properly utilize a garbage disposal, run it regularly to prevent rust and keep the parts lubricated.
  • Use cold water when operating the garbage disposal to prevent clogs and keep the motor cool.
  • Cut large items into smaller pieces before putting them in the disposal to avoid clogs.
  • Avoid putting grease, fibrous foods like celery or onion skins, expandable foods like pasta or rice, and non-biodegradable items like plastic or glass in your garbage disposal.

What Is a Garbage Disposal?

A garbage disposal is a kitchen tool used to grind food scraps into small pieces, which can then be easily flushed down the sink and into the plumbing pipes.

Definition and purpose

A garbage disposal is a tool in your kitchen. You find it under the sink. This tool breaks down food waste into tiny bits. These little pieces can safely travel through plumbing pipes.

So, why use this device? It helps you clear food scraps from dishes easily. Plus, it reduces the mess left in your trash can and controls bad smells too! Using a disposal unit also cuts down on how much waste ends up at landfills.

In short, think of it as a helpful cleanup buddy after meals!

How it works

A garbage disposal is a kitchen tool that grinds up food waste so it can be easily disposed of. Here’s how it works:

  • Food scraps are placed into the garbage disposal.
  • The garbage disposal has sharp blades that spin rapidly, chopping the food into small pieces.
  • As the food is chopped, it gets flushed down the plumbing pipes with water.
  • The food waste then goes to a wastewater treatment plant instead of ending up in landfills.
  • At the wastewater treatment plant, the food waste is treated and turned into useful resources.

Proper Utilization of a Garbage Disposal

To properly utilize a garbage disposal, it is important to run the disposal regularly, use cold water, cut large items into smaller pieces, and grind bones and pits.

Run the disposal regularly

To keep your garbage disposal in good working condition, it’s important to run it regularly. This helps prevent rust and keeps the moving parts lubricated. Ideally, you should run the disposal at least every few days or biweekly if you don’t use it frequently.

Simply turn on the cold water and switch on the disposal as you feed small food scraps into it. Running the disposal regularly will help keep your kitchen clean and odor-free while also preventing any potential clogs or jams.

Use cold water

Using cold water when running your garbage disposal is an important step in proper utilization. Cold water helps solidify any grease or fat present in the disposal, preventing it from sticking to the blades or clogging your pipes.

It also helps keep the motor cool and prevents overheating. Remember, always use cold water when operating your garbage disposal to ensure smooth operation and avoid any potential issues with clogs or damage.

Cut large items into smaller pieces

To properly utilize a garbage disposal, it’s important to cut large items into smaller pieces before putting them down the sink. This helps prevent clogs and makes it easier for the disposal to grind up the food waste.

For example, if you have leftover fruits or vegetables, you can chop them into smaller chunks before rinsing them away. Similarly, when disposing of meat or poultry bones, break them into smaller pieces first.

By doing this simple step, you can help ensure that your garbage disposal works efficiently and avoids any unnecessary problems in your plumbing pipes.

Grind bones and pits

To properly utilize a garbage disposal, you can grind bones and pits from fruits like peaches or cherries. The powerful blades of the disposal are designed to break down these hard items into smaller pieces.

However, it’s important to remember that only small amounts should be added at a time to avoid overloading the system. By grinding bones and pits, you can reduce waste and prevent them from ending up in landfills.

Just make sure to always use caution when operating your garbage disposal.

Things to Avoid Putting in a Garbage Disposal

Avoid putting grease, oil, and fat, fibrous foods like celery or onion skins, expandable foods such as pasta or rice, and non-biodegradable items like plastic or glass in your garbage disposal.

Read on to learn more about proper utilization of a garbage disposal and how to avoid potential issues.

Grease, oil, and fat

Grease, oil, and fat should never be put down a garbage disposal. These substances can solidify and clog both the disposal unit and the plumbing pipes. Instead, it is best to let grease cool down and then dispose of it in a separate container or in the trash can.

This will help prevent costly plumbing repairs and keep your garbage disposal running smoothly for years to come.

Fibrous foods

Fibrous foods, such as celery, potato peels, and corn husks, can cause problems if they are put into a garbage disposal. These types of foods have long fibers that can get tangled up in the disposal’s blades and cause it to jam or clog.

To avoid this issue, it is best to throw fibrous foods into the regular trash instead of putting them down the sink. This will help prevent damage to your garbage disposal and keep things running smoothly in your kitchen.

Expandable foods

Expandable foods, such as rice, pasta, and oats, should be avoided when using a garbage disposal. These foods have the ability to absorb water and expand, which can lead to clogs in your plumbing pipes.

When these expandable foods are put down the disposal, they can form a sticky mass that blocks the flow of water. This can cause backups and potentially damage your kitchen sink disposal unit.

To prevent this from happening, it’s best to dispose of these types of food scraps in a trash can or compost bin instead.

Non-biodegradable items

It is important to know which items should never be put down a garbage disposal because they are non-biodegradable. Non-biodegradable means that these materials do not break down naturally over time.

Putting non-biodegradable items in the garbage disposal can cause clogs and damage the system. Some examples of non-biodegradable items to avoid putting in the garbage disposal include plastic, metal, glass, and paper products.

These items should be disposed of in the regular trash instead.

Maintenance and Cleaning Tips

To keep your garbage disposal working properly, there are a few maintenance and cleaning tips you should follow.

Using borax

To keep your garbage disposal clean and fresh, you can use borax. Borax is a natural cleaning agent that can help remove food residue and eliminate odors in your disposal. Simply sprinkle some borax into the disposal, let it sit for a few minutes, and then rinse it out with cold water.

This will help prevent the buildup of bacteria and keep your garbage disposal smelling fresh.

Borax is also effective in removing clogs in your garbage disposal. If you notice that your disposal is not draining properly, you can pour a mixture of borax and hot water down the drain.

Let it sit for about 15 minutes, then run cold water to flush out any remaining debris.

Vinegar ice cubes

To keep your garbage disposal smelling fresh and clean, you can try using vinegar ice cubes. Here’s how to make and use them:

  1. Fill an ice cube tray with white vinegar.
  2. Freeze the vinegar – filled ice cube tray until the cubes are solid.
  3. Once frozen, remove the vinegar ice cubes from the tray and store them in a freezer bag or container.
  4. Every few weeks, drop a couple of vinegar ice cubes down the disposal.
  5. Turn on the garbage disposal and let it grind up the vinegar ice cubes.
  6. The acidity of the vinegar will help clean and deodorize the disposal, eliminating any lingering odors.


In conclusion, a garbage disposal is a useful kitchen tool for grinding and disposing of food waste. By using it properly, like running it regularly and cutting up large items into smaller pieces, you can prevent clogs and keep your plumbing in good condition.

Remember to avoid putting grease, fibrous foods, and non-biodegradable items down the disposal. With proper care and maintenance, your garbage disposal can last for many years.


1. What is a garbage disposal used for?

A garbage disposal is used for kitchen waste management. It grinds food waste into small pieces making it easy to dispose of.

2. How do I properly use my garbage disposal system?

Proper use of a garbage disposal involves disposing of small food scraps and preventing clogged pipes by avoiding certain items like fruit pits or corn cobs.

3. Can using a garbage disposal help in minimizing odors in my trash cans?

Yes, when you grind your food waste using proper garbage disposal techniques, this can cut down on smells from old food sitting in your trash cans.

4. Are there any disadvantages to using a garbage disposal for waste disposal?

While handy, some downsides may occur if not properly used such as damage that requires plumbers’ help to fix things up.

5. Is it okay to put all types of foods in the garbage disposals?

No, large or hard items like fruit pits or corn cobs may harm your system; so you should apply proper techniques for safe food waste disposal.

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