MR Direct Blog

Join The Conversation

Remember how, as a kid, you were in awe of your mom actually scooping up that grossness in the bottom of the sink and throwing it out - with her bare hands?! Well, if you're a little squeamish, and have decided to get a garbage disposal instead, there are a few things to consider before you buy.

Check with authorities if you live in a small community. There may be limited water treatment capabilities with restrictions on disposal use. Otherwise, choose between the two styles of garbage disposals: continuous and batch feed.

Continuous feed functions exactly as it sounds. With the unit turned on and water running, you can continue pushing food scraps into the void as long as you like. This is the most popular disposal. It's usually hard wired and operated by flipping a switch on the wall.

Batch feed is designed for safety. It holds only a limited amount of scraps and won't operate without its lid in place. This cap prevents fingers from entering and debris from flying out. Overall, its smaller capacity, and typically larger price tag, are small trade-offs for the safety provided; especially if you have children. Batch styles usually plug into a standard wall outlet.

There is a third type, sometimes referred to as a disposer, rather than a disposal, designed for septic tank owners. It uses special biological formulas to break down the waste.

Now, are you a cruiser or a muscle-car type? It matters. Your choice of disposal can grind gently along like a casual drive in the country, or it can put the pedal to the metal under that drain.

Models with modest speeds of 1/3 and 1/2 horsepower are less expensive. They're considered light-duty, and can jam easier. If your disposal use is only occasional, and you don't mind it removing only soft scraps, I recommend getting a 1/2 hp unit.

If you expect heavy use, for the few extra dollars, I would rev things up with a 3/4 or 1 hp unit. It'll have less chance of jamming, and pulverize dense debris faster and finer so pipes don't clog.

Rust? Avoid it with stainless steel blades. Noise? Yeah, disposals inherently make noise; but ironically, the ones with more power and torque are the quietest. Jams? They're inevitable too. A model with auto-reverse blades sometimes helps.

Quick tips: Disposals come in various sizes. Measure to make sure your choice will fit. Disposals are heavy. Old or fragile plumbing may need to be updated. Disposals vibrate. If you have a very thin sink the vibration may be a nuisance. Consider a higher-gauge sink upgrade.

Your disposal can't handle everything! There are a few commonsense rules ya just gotta follow. Always run water when operating; cold water, 'cause it tends to solidify softer stuff for better grinding. Feed scraps slowly to avoid jams, and only food products- even paper can clog the works. Avoid grease; it'll stick in the disposal and to the pipes below. Avoid fibrous foods like celery or corn husks which can wrap around blades and tie up the motor. Starchy foods like rice, potatoes, and even coffee grounds, can form a paste that sticks to pipes instead of being flushed through.

Finally, clean your disposal every few weeks. Try feeding it ice cubes! Their hardness is enough to perform a scouring action in the chamber. Harsh chemicals like bleach should be avoided; but mild soaps, vinegar with baking soda, and over-the-counter disposal care-packets, all clean well. To freshen things up, throw in a few pieces of citrus.