All You Need to Know About Disposal: Essential Guide

Last Updated on July 6, 2023 by Pro Handyman Editorial Team

Comprehensive Guide to Understanding and Managing Your Garbage Disposal

Invented by John Hammes in 1927, the garbage disposal has evolved into an indispensable kitchen appliance. Its function and design have remained predominantly constant over time, but its usage has increased, making it a standard requirement in modern kitchens. This guide will help you efficiently choose, install, maintain, and troubleshoot your garbage disposal unit.

The Functional Anatomy of a Garbage Disposal

A garbage disposal unit is fixed to the underside of a sink. Its primary role is to collect solid food waste in a grinding chamber and shred it into minuscule bits. On turning the disposal on, a rotating disc, also known as an impeller plate, moves rapidly, propelling the food waste against the grinding chamber’s outer wall. This process grinds the food into tiny particles that are washed away through the chamber wall holes.

Contrary to popular belief, the unit does not contain sharp blades. Instead, it features two blunt metal “teeth,” impellers, on the impeller plate.

Functional Anatomy of a Garbage Disposal

The Right and Wrong Ways to Use Your Garbage Disposal

It’s crucial to distinguish between your garbage disposal and your trash can. They may be designed to handle different kinds of waste. To avoid clogs and jams, you should know what foods should be discarded in the trash rather than disposed of. For instance, fibrous food scraps, potato peels, oils and grease, pits, or other complex objects should not go into the disposal.

Overcoming Common Garbage Disposal Problems

Garbage disposal problems are commonly related to jams. These jams are often easy to fix, but neglecting them and continuously restarting the unit can damage the motor. Regular inspection and maintenance can save you from costly service calls or an unwarranted replacement of your disposal unit.

Preventing Clogs in Your Garbage Disposal

Clogs usually result from the disposal of improper foods like grease, potato peels, or hard-to-grind foods. They may occur in the disposal unit itself or the drainpipe downstream of the disposal. The best approach to prevent clogs is to discard problematic waste in the trash instead. Furthermore, cleanliness is key to efficient operation.

Selecting the Perfect Garbage Disposal Unit for Your Needs

Choosing a new garbage disposal can be as simple or detailed as you prefer. You can easily opt for a standard model from your local appliance store that adequately meets your needs. However, if you’re intrigued by the latest features like stainless steel grinding chambers or extra insulation for sound reduction, you can conduct thorough research to find the model that ticks all your boxes.

Installation Guide: Fitting Your New Garbage Disposal

Installing a garbage disposal is straightforward but requires basic plumbing and electrical wiring skills. With some DIY knowledge, most homeowners can fit a new unit in a few hours.

The Process of Garbage Disposal Removal

There are instances when you may need to remove your garbage disposal, such as replacing a sink or a failed unit. With many disposal models, you can quickly release the motor unit from the sink assembly and set it aside. This will simplify the remaining disassembly and removal process.

Process of Garbage Disposal

Shopping for Garbage Disposals: Where to Begin

Many garbage disposal units are available on the market, catering to various needs and preferences. To ensure that you make an informed decision, research different models, their features, and customer reviews. Peer-reviewed studies and reliable sources can provide crucial information to assist your shopping journey. Choose one that aligns with your usage patterns, budget, and specific kitchen setup.

The Complete Guide to Understanding and Utilizing Garbage Disposals

Every modern kitchen houses an unsung hero, tirelessly pulverizing and disposing of your food waste – the humble yet invaluable garbage disposal unit. Conceived in 1927 by John Hammes, this appliance has become indispensable for households globally. This comprehensive guide provides detailed insights about garbage disposals, from the mechanics of their operation to selecting the perfect model, installation procedures, troubleshooting, and maintenance.

The Mechanics of Garbage Disposals

Garbage disposals are compact yet powerful units typically mounted beneath the sink, designed to process solid food waste efficiently. A fundamental understanding of their function can help you maximize their lifespan and maintain their efficiency.

The impeller plate rotates at high speed upon switching on the disposal, forcefully pushing the food waste against the grinding chamber’s exterior wall. The grinding chamber has two blunt impellers or “teeth” that pulverize the food waste into minuscule particles. Water then flushes these particles through the chamber wall holes, ensuring your sink remains clean.

Remember, the garbage disposal is not designed for all types of waste, such as fibrous food scraps, potato peels, grease, oil, pits, and other complex substances, which could lead to jams and potential damage.

How to Avoid and Address Common Garbage Disposal Problems

Understanding and avoiding common garbage disposal problems can save you hundreds of dollars on unnecessary service calls or premature replacement of the unit.

Most issues stem from jams caused by improper disposal of certain foods and objects. It’s vital to remember that attempting to restart jammed disposal repeatedly can result in motor burnout.

Clogs often occur when problematic food scraps are processed through the disposal or appear in the downstream drainpipe. The most effective way to prevent clogs is to refrain from discarding such items in the disposal and, instead, dispose of them in the trash.

Selecting Your Ideal Garbage Disposal Unit

Choosing a new garbage disposal can be a straightforward or meticulous process, depending on your requirements.

You could opt for a standard model from your local home center or appliance store, which will likely meet your basic needs. Alternatively, you could research the advanced features available on some models, such as stainless steel grinding chambers for enhanced durability or extra insulation for noise reduction.

Garbage Disposal Unit

Garbage Disposal Installation and Removal

Garbage disposal installation is typically a straightforward process but does necessitate basic plumbing and electrical wiring skills. Most individuals with basic handyman skills can complete the installation within a few hours.

If you ever need to replace your sink or malfunctioning garbage disposal, removal of the disposal will be necessary. Several disposal models allow you to swiftly detach the motor unit from the sink assembly, simplifying the remainder of the disassembly and removal process.


A garbage disposal services is an integral component of a modern kitchen. Understanding this appliance’s working, usage, maintenance, and troubleshooting methods can ensure a long and efficient service life. Whether you’re selecting a new unit, installing one, or handling common problems, this guide should be your comprehensive manual for garbage disposal.