Are You Supposed to Run Water With the Garbage Disposal?

Cucumber shavings being flushed down garbage disposal with cold water.

It’s easy to get distracted when spending time in the kitchen. Between preparing meals and washing dishes, you might simply switch on the garbage disposal without a second thought, hoping that it takes care of the food scraps that you dumped into it. But are you using your disposal correctly?

When you take a few extra steps to ensure that you are using this device properly, you can help your disposal work more smoothly. Of course, you may hear people giving you contrary advice. For example, should you run water when using the garbage disposal? One of your neighbors may say it’s no big deal, while another swears it’s necessary.

We’re here to get to the bottom of this debate once and for all. Let’s discuss whether or not you are supposed to run water with the garbage disposal.

Should You Run Water When Using the Garbage Disposal?

Imagine this. You’ve recently finished scraping off your dinner plates and have dumped the leftover food scraps into the sink. You stand with your hand over the garbage disposal switch, wondering if water will help or hurt the grinding process. Are you supposed to run water with the garbage disposal?

The answer to this question is an absolute “yes.” Without a doubt, you should run water when using the garbage disposal. Taking the extra time to run water makes sense when you truly think about it. This constant flow of water will help flush the food particles out of the disposal and down the drain. Doing this can help ensure that no food waste is left clinging to the inside of your disposal or drain line. The last thing you want is a smelly blockage on your hands.

Can you run a garbage disposal without water? All-in-all, you certainly don’t have to run water if you’re in a pinch. However, it’s worth noting that water will help everything drain much more smoothly and efficiently. This can ensure that your disposal lasts for a long time to come.

Using Cold Vs. Hot Water

Although you should run water when using the garbage disposal, it’s important to make sure that you are keeping the temperature of the water in mind. You should always run cold water. This cold temperature will help make sure that everything is properly ground up and quickly disposed of.

Whatever you do, don’t run hot water. While hot water will help soften any grease that has found its way into the disposal, this can cause the grease to solidify further down inside the pipes. As you can imagine, this can cause an incredibly frustrating clog.

How Long Should You Run the Garbage Disposal?

You most likely won’t want to run the disposal for more than 30 seconds. This amount of time — or even less — is usually enough to grind up whatever food waste is present.

Since you are supposed to run water with the garbage disposal, there is a specific sequence you can try to follow. It’s typically a good idea to run some water in the sink before carefully dumping in your food scraps. After you’ve dumped in the scraps, run the disposal for about 15 seconds (or a little longer, if need be) until everything is ground up. You can repeat this process until the waste has been successfully disposed of.

What Foods Should Not Go in the Garbage Disposal?

There are many types of food waste you should keep out of your disposal. You’ll want to steer clear of grease, bones, coffee grounds, rice, and fibrous items such as celery and banana peels.

Instead of dumping these items down the disposal, simply dispose of them in the trash. If you have pans that are covered in grease, it’s typically a good idea to scrape off the grease with a paper towel or collect it in a disposable jar.

How to Maintain Your Garbage Disposal

Of course, knowing that you should run water when using the garbage disposal is only the beginning. There are other small maintenance tasks you can perform to ensure that everything is functioning properly. Many local drain cleaning companies will stress the importance of taking care of your disposal.

Pouring ice cubes into the disposal can be a great way to guarantee that all of the food particles have been crushed up and flushed away. While grinding up pieces of ice won’t necessarily sharpen the blades, it will help push the food waste into the drain.

Are you tired of having a smelly disposal? Consider cutting up lemons or limes and grinding them up. The clean citrus smell of these fruits can work wonders for foul odors.

Keep Your Disposal Running Smoothly With Tempo Air

Are you supposed to run water with the garbage disposal? If you ask a professional plumber this question, they will certainly tell you “yes.” However, even keeping this simple maintenance task in mind isn’t always enough to keep your kitchen drain clear and running smoothly.
If you’re dealing with a clogged drain, don’t hesitate to reach out to Tempo Air. Our Irving, TX plumbing experts use cutting-edge equipment and industry-leading techniques to remove even the most stubborn clogs.

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