Plumber Tips: Top Five Garbage Disposal Myths Debunked | San Antonio, TX

Plumber Tips: Top Five Garbage Disposal Myths Debunked | San Antonio, TX

Photo By JackValley at istock

Garbage disposals are one of the most useful appliances in the kitchen. Today, they are found in almost half of all American homes. It’s quite funny to think of how far the garbage disposal has come considering they were previously banned in some parts of the country. For example, New York City had banned the appliance until 1997.

Despite their popularity, a lot of homeowners don’t fully understand their garbage disposal. One of the most frequent calls plumbers receive is for garbage disposal repair. The more you know about this appliance, the less likely it is you’ll have to call the plumber for avoidable repairs. Keep reading to find out more about the top five garbage disposal myths you’ve probably believed all this time.

Myth One: You Need to Sharpen Your Garbage Disposal

If you ask the average person to describe what they think the inside of their garbage disposal looks like, they’ll likely describe spinning blades. As exciting as that image is, it’s not actually correct. Your garbage disposal is made of a system of small, shredding impellers that spin at high speed to grind up food waste. It’s similar to an automated cheese grater.

As people often think their garbage disposal has blades, they think they can sharpen their disposal’s blades by grinding up ice. We’re not sure who started this myth, but it’s not correct. Dumping ice down the grinder will only be a waste of water.

You can continue to put ice down your garbage disposal, but there are pros and cons to this process. On the one hand, ice can knock off scraps of food waste stuck on the blades. This can be good to ensure no scraps are trapped on the blade, creating a stench in your kitchen. On the other hand, putting extra items down your garbage disposal will only wear it out faster.

Most professionals will recommend that you skip the ice cubes down the garbage disposal.

Myth Two: Lemons Will Clean Your Garbage Disposal

If you ever notice a smell from your garbage disposal, you might find some articles online that encourage you to put lemon down there. Sure, lemon scent is quite strong and can cover up a bad smell for a little while. But, this is a very short-term solution as lemon isn’t a disinfectant.

Additionally, it might cause more problems than solutions as the citric acid from lemons can cause corrosion inside your metal pipes over time. And lastly, the lemon scent is likely only covering up a smell that should be alerting you to a severe issue with your plumbing.

As soon as you notice a stench from your garbage disposal, call a plumber.

Myth Three: You Should Always Run Hot Water While Using the Disposal

Running cold water while you use the garbage disposal is recommended as it can help flush any food particles down the drain. However, running hot water can cause problems. Hot water will keep oils and fats in their liquid form. As they easily flow down your drain as a liquid, they will revert to a solid as they cool deeper into the pipes. This will cause significant clogs that are also deep in the plumbing. And a clog that far down will always require a professional plumber’s help.

In a perfect world, you won’t be putting any oils, grease, or fats down the drain. However, if it’s going to happen, it should happen with cold water. The cool water will keep the fats in their solid form. As they’re ground up into tiny particles by the garbage disposal, they’re less likely to cause clogs.

Myth Four: You Can Put Any Food Waste Down the Disposal

Your garbage disposal is a powerful appliance. That being said, even the garbage disposal has limitations.

  • Food waste that is hard or starchy, such as chicken bones or fruit pits, can wear down or break your garbage disposal.


  • Fibrous items such as banana peels and celery can become entangled in the propellers and clog up the appliance.


  • Starchy items such as potato skins are often too thick for garbage disposals to break down efficiently.


  • Interestingly enough, many people don’t know that eggshells shouldn’t go down the disposal either. The membrane found inside the eggshells can get wrapped around the blades and cause damage.

If you’re unclear whether something can go down the disposal, it’s best to be safe and put it in the trash instead. Most calls to the plumber for garbage disposal repairs are from people not understanding that their disposal isn’t a second trash chute.

Myth Five: A Clear Drain Means Your Disposal Is Fine

Like most plumbing and appliances in the home, your garbage disposal should have frequent checkups and repairs. And, be prepared, it will eventually require replacement. Garbage disposals typically last 15 years.

And yet, most homeowners neglect their disposals and believe that if they don’t have a clog, their disposal must be fine. Unfortunately, a clog can be forming behind your disposal and building up to more significant plumbing issues.

It can be hard to tell when your garbage disposal is clogging, but when it does, it often causes a big problem. Avoid this predicament by scheduling an annual checkup with your plumber. They’ll take a look at all your pipes, including your garbage disposal, to spot problems early on.

bluefrog Plumbing: The Friendliest Plumbers in San Antonio, TX

If you’re looking for a plumber in San Antonio, TX, look no further. National plumbing chain bluefrog Plumbing + Drain has a franchise offering its residents prime plumbing services. bluefrog offers services in drain cleaning, water heaters, sewer and water line inspection, water softening, sump pumps, gas lines, and garbage disposals.

Our plumbers are licensed, insured, and certified. They’re also trained in providing the utmost customer service, so every customer feels happy with the completed work. We’re also available 24/7 and 365 days a week for emergency plumbing services.

Contact us today to have your garbage disposal inspected, repaired, or replaced.

Emergency Plumbing San Antonio, TX

Call Now!

bfpad Proactive Protection ProgramTM

Many of our customers are so happy with our service that they become a bfpad Proactive Protection Program™! Contact us to learn more.

  • Priority Service
  • Free Annual Plumbing Evaluation
  • 15% OFF Service