Frequently Asked Questions About Garbage Disposals

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What brand, size, or model of garbage disposal should I get?

Picking a garbage disposal can be confusing. One of the main things you should look at is the horsepower: 1/3, 1/2, 3/4 or 1 horsepower. Our recommendations are 3/4 horsepower for normal kitchen use and 1 horsepower for heavy kitchen use and small commercial use. We also recommend getting either Waste King or InSinkErator garbage disposals. These brands perform consistently well and have great warranty.

Do I have to run the water while using a garbage disposal?

Yes. Run a stream of cold water while operating a garbage disposal. Cold water will help solidify any oil particles to allow the disposer to break them down. Let it run for another 10 seconds after you turn off the disposer to wash away any remaining scraps.

What’s the difference between a batch feed and continuous feed garbage disposal?

See our explanation here.

What can I put in a garbage disposal?

Biodegradable food only. For a list of things you can and can not put into a garbage disposal, read this article to learn more.

My garbage disposal smells bad. How can I get rid of it?

An easy, natural way to keep your disposal smelling fresh is to grind orange, lemon, or lime rinds regularly. See our other tips for preventing and removing garbage disposal smell.

I dropped something in my garbage disposal. How do I get it out?

Don’t use your hands. Even if your garbage disposal is turned off, there could be something sharp in there, like a tin can lid that was dropped in there accidentally, that can cut your hand. Instead, try using a pair of tongs to retrieve the item.

Can I install a dishwasher without a garbage disposal?

Yes. Dishwashers usually have a built-in food disposer. But garbage disposals will work better. If you decide not to install a garbage disposal, make sure you scrape the dishes clean before running them in the dishwasher.

My garbage disposal is heavily rusted. How do I fix it?

Don’t. We recommend buying a new one, because it will likely cost you more to repair than to buy a new unit. Garbage disposals can become rusted due to non-use. To keep one functioning well, run the garbage disposal every once in a while.

My garbage disposal doesn’t turn on. What’s wrong?

Your start switch, wall switch, or motor may be defective. Call your manufacturer to diagnose the problem.