How does a garbage disposal work?

Did you know that you can get rid of food waste through your sink without clogging up your tubes and pipes? You probably knew that already, especially since a lot of people are familiar with garbage disposals. But for those of you who don’t know, we will discuss it anyway: how does a garbage disposal work?

How Does Garbage Disposals WorkGarbage disposals are handy devices that are attached to the underside of your sink. They’re used for grinding up food waste and turning them to tiny bits and pieces so they will fit right through your plumbing system.

There are many different kinds, and they are separated by how much power their motors are capable of using in order to turn those solid bits of food waste to mush. For example up to 2 horsepower: these are some of the most powerful disposals you’ll ever encounter if you decide to buy one in the store, and are more commonly used for commercial establishments. There are also weaker disposers that are used in regular households with regular food-shredding needs.

Now that we know what garbage disposal units are and what they are used for, it is time to figure out exactly how they work. Why? Because there are a lot of misconceptions about how the machines process food waste, and there are some who doubt their effectiveness in the first place.

On this guide we will discuss how does a garbage disposal work. This the mystery will be solved once and for all.

How does a garbage disposal work ?

How Do Garbage Disposals Work 2

Now the first and most common misconception about garbage disposals is that they use blades to get the job done. People think that powerful spinning blades are kept with the machine so that hard chunks of food will get torn up as soon as they go down the sink. In fact, even we thought this was true before we decided to study the inner workings of a disposer.

There are no blades within the units. This may surprise a few people and give rise to the question ‘what are the powerful motors for?’

Well, instead of spinning blades, these machines use impellers (also known as lugs) that are mounted on a spinning plate. Using centrifugal force, food waste particles are continuously forced against a stationary grind ring, thus tearing them apart. It is the grind ring that is in charge of breaking down the food. It nearly liquefies all the pieces depending on what kind of power the unit has. Weaker models could not handle hard chunks of food. This may possibly damage the internal workings of the garbage disposals.

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Depending on the model, a disposal may be continuous feed or batch feed. The first one lets you put in more food chunks while the machine runs, thereby letting you save time and effort. You simply need to switch it on and run the water. Meanwhile, batch feed disposals are more organized and systematic.

Either way, you will have to drive the food waste into the sink with the use of running water. The heavy flow pushes everything down into the grind ring, shredding the waste before releasing them into the drainpipe.


Discovering the way your appliances work can give you a more detailed knowledge about it. Next time something acts up, you will have an idea what caused it.

Now we know how does a garbage disposal work. We know that it is much safer, but only when it is switched off, and the splash guards are kept in place. Some units offer removable splash guards so you can easily clean the disposal when not in use.

Knowing is half the battle. Now the only thing you need to do is buy one that is powerful enough to suit your needs.

Choose the best garbage disposal for you.