The Inner Workings of a Garbage Disposal

A garbage disposal is an essential kitchen appliance that cuts food waste into small bits, making it easier to manage household waste. To understand how a garbage disposal works, one must examine its components such as the insulated motor, shredder ring, and flywheel.

Insulated Motor Powering the System

The heart of any garbage disposal is its insulated motor, which provides power to grind up food particles. Typically ranging from 1/3 to 1 horsepower (HP), these motors are designed for efficient operation while reducing noise levels during use. The higher the HP rating, the more powerful and effective your garbage disposal will be at handling larger amounts of food waste.

Shredder Ring and Flywheel for Grinding Food Particles

Once powered on by flipping a switch or activating a safety cover in batch-feed models, the motor spins a flywheel with impellers attached. As food enters through your sink drain into this spinning chamber, it comes into contact with both impellers and shredder ring—sharp-edged metal components responsible for cutting down solid wastes into tiny pieces before being flushed away by water running through your pipes.

  • Flywheel: A flat disk-like component connected directly to the motor shaft that rotates at high speeds when activated; equipped with two or more impeller arms extending outward from its center point.
  • Impellers: Metal arms affixed onto flywheels that assist in the grinding process by forcefully pushing food particles against the shredder ring.
  • Shredder Ring: A stationary, serrated metal component surrounding the flywheel that works in tandem with impellers to break down solid wastes into small bits for easy disposal.

In addition to these primary components, garbage disposals also feature a built-in safety mechanism called an “overload protector” which prevents the motor from overheating or becoming damaged due to excessive use. This device automatically shuts off power if it senses too much strain on your appliance—ensuring long-lasting performance and protecting both you and your investment from potential harm.

Key Takeaway: 


A garbage disposal is a kitchen appliance that grinds food waste into small bits, making it easier to manage household waste. It consists of an insulated motor, shredder ring, and flywheel which work together to break down solid wastes into tiny pieces for easy disposal. The higher the horsepower rating of the motor, the more powerful and effective your garbage disposal will be at handling larger amounts of food waste.

Types of Garbage Disposals

When it comes to managing food waste in your kitchen, garbage disposals are an indispensable appliance. There are two main types of garbage disposals available on the market: continuous-feed and batch-feed models. Each type has its own unique features and benefits, making them suitable for different households and usage patterns.

Continuous-Feed Disposals for Uninterrupted Operation

Continuous-feed garbage disposals operate as long as their power switch remains on, allowing you to grind food waste continuously while running water down the drain. Homeowners often opt for continuous-feed disposals due to their convenience and ease of operation. To use continuous-feed disposal, simply turn on the power switch before adding food waste into the sink’s drain opening – no need to wait or load up large amounts of waste beforehand.

Batch-Feed Disposals for Controlled Usage

In contrast, batch-feed garbage disposals require users to load them with waste before activating their switch. These units come with a special stopper that acts as both a cover for the disposal opening and an activation mechanism when pushed down firmly onto the unit’s top surface. Batch-feed models offer greater safety measures since they only operate when covered; however, they may not be as convenient if you frequently have large volumes of food scraps needing immediate disposal.

  • Pros:
    • Better safety features compared to continuous feed models;
    • Ideal for households with children or pets;
    • Reduced risk of accidentally dropping utensils into the disposal.
  • Cons:
    • Less convenient for handling large amounts of food waste;
    • Requires manual loading and activation each time you use it.

Garbage disposals work by grinding food waste into small particles that can be easily flushed down the drain. The disposal unit is installed beneath the sink and connected to the drain and electrical systems. When you turn on the disposal, a motor inside the unit spins a flywheel that grinds the food waste against a stationary shredder ring. The resulting particles are then flushed down the drain with water.

It’s important to note that not all types of food waste can be disposed of in a garbage disposal. Hard items like bones, fruit pits, and eggshells can damage the disposal’s blades and should be thrown away in the trash. Additionally, fibrous foods like celery and corn husks can wrap around the blades and cause clogs. To keep your garbage disposal working properly, only dispose of soft food waste like fruit and vegetable scraps, pasta, and bread.

Now that you know how garbage disposals work, you can choose the type that best fits your household’s needs. Whether you opt for a continuous-feed or batch-feed model, a garbage disposal can make managing food waste in your kitchen a breeze.

Proper Maintenance Tips for Your Garbage Disposal

Regular cleaning and maintenance are crucial in ensuring your garbage disposal’s longevity and efficiency while keeping unpleasant odors at bay within your kitchen space. Learn about various methods such as running cold water during operation or utilizing specialized products designed specifically for removing buildup over time.

Cleaning Techniques to Prevent Malfunctions or Damage

To keep your garbage disposal working smoothly, follow these simple yet effective cleaning techniques:

  • Run cold water: Always run cold water when using the disposal to help solidify any grease or oils, making it easier for the unit to break them down. Continue running the water for a few seconds after turning off the device to flush out the remaining particles.
  • Clean with ice cubes and salt: Occasionally grind a handful of ice cubes mixed with coarse salt in your garbage disposal. This helps remove built-up debris on the shredder ring and flywheel without damaging them.
  • Avoid hard materials: Do not put non-food items like glass, metal, or plastic into your garbage disposal as they can cause damage to its components.
  • Freshen up with citrus peels: Grinding small amounts of lemon or orange peels can help eliminate foul odors from food waste lingering inside the appliance.

Products Designed to Remove Debris Buildup

In addition to regular cleaning practices, consider using specialized products that target stubborn debris buildup within your garbage disposal system. Some popular options include:

  1. Garbage disposal cleaners: These products come in the form of tablets or powders that foam up when added to water, effectively breaking down grime and buildup. Glisten Disposer Care is a popular choice among homeowners.
  2. Baking soda and vinegar: Pour half a cup of baking soda into your garbage disposal followed by one cup of white vinegar. Allow the mixture to sit for about 15 minutes before running cold water while operating the unit. This natural cleaning solution helps remove stubborn debris without causing harm to your appliance.

Maintaining your garbage disposal through regular cleaning and proper usage will not only prolong its lifespan but also ensure optimal performance in managing food waste within your kitchen space.

Key Takeaway: 


To keep your garbage disposal working efficiently, run cold water during operation and clean it regularly with ice cubes and salt. You can also use specialized products like garbage disposal cleaners or a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to remove stubborn debris buildup. Additionally, grinding citrus peels can help eliminate unpleasant odors from food waste in the appliance.

Choosing the Right Brand and Model

With a vast array of choices in the market, deciding on the ideal garbage disposal for your home can be daunting. One of the most reputable brands you can trust is Waste King. When deciding which garbage disposal to buy, it is important to take into account elements such as power, sound level, and warranty.

Evaluating Key Features Like Horsepower & Noise Levels

The performance and efficiency of garbage disposals are primarily determined by their motor’s horsepower (HP). Commonly available HP ratings include 1/3 HP, 1/2 HP, 3/4 HP, and 1 HP. A higher rating generally indicates better grinding capabilities. For instance:

  • 1/3-1/2 HP: Suitable for small households with light food waste generation.
  • 3/4-1 HP: Ideal for larger families or those who frequently cook at home.

Noise levels also play a significant role in user satisfaction. Look for models that come with sound insulation features such as insulated motors or anti-vibration mounting systems to minimize operational noise within your kitchen space.

Importance of Warranty Coverage

A comprehensive warranty coverage not only reflects a manufacturer’s confidence in its product but also provides peace of mind to homeowners regarding potential repair costs down the line. When comparing different models:

  1. Analyze their respective warranties’ duration – some may offer up to ten years while others might have limited coverage periods;
  2. Determine if any additional benefits are included such as in-home service or free replacement parts;
  3. Ensure that the warranty covers both the mechanical and electrical components of the garbage disposal unit.

In addition to these factors, you may also want to consider other features such as ease of installation, compatibility with your existing plumbing system, and whether a model is septic-tank friendly. By carefully evaluating all aspects related to performance, convenience, and reliability, you can make an informed decision on which garbage disposal best suits your needs.

Key Takeaway: 


When choosing a garbage disposal, it’s important to consider factors such as horsepower, noise level, and warranty coverage. Waste King is a reputable brand to trust but evaluating key features like motor power and sound insulation can help you make an informed decision on the best model for your needs.

How Does a Garbage Disposal Work?

If you’re a homeowner in the Kansas City metropolitan area, you may be wondering how a garbage disposal works. At B&L Plumbing, we’re here to help you understand the basics of this essential kitchen appliance.

B&L Plumbing Services – Repairing & Replacing Your Garbage Disposal

At B&L Plumbing, we understand the importance of having a functional and efficient garbage disposal system in your home. Our team of skilled professionals is dedicated to providing top-notch repair and replacement services for homeowners in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Whether you’re dealing with a malfunctioning unit or looking to upgrade your current model, our experts are here to help.

Expert Repair & Replacement Services

Our technicians have extensive experience working with various brands and models of garbage disposals, ensuring that they can quickly diagnose any issues and provide effective solutions. We take pride in offering prompt service while maintaining high-quality workmanship throughout each project.

  • Diagnosis: Our team will thoroughly assess your garbage disposal’s condition, identifying any problems that may be affecting its performance.
  • Repair: If possible, we’ll fix the issue on-site using industry-standard techniques and tools designed specifically for garbage disposals.
  • Replacement: In cases where repairs aren’t feasible or cost-effective, our technicians will recommend suitable replacement options based on your needs and preferences.
  • New Installation: If you’re adding a new kitchen appliance or upgrading an existing one, trust us to handle all aspects related to installing your new garbage disposal efficiently and professionally.

Comprehensive Kitchen Plumbing Solutions

In addition to handling garbage disposal repairs or replacements, B&L Plumbing offers a wide range of other kitchen plumbing services as well. From fixing leaky faucets to installing new sinks, our team is equipped to handle all your plumbing needs. Some of the services we provide include:

  • Leaky faucet repair
  • Sink installation and replacement
  • Dishwasher installation and maintenance
  • Water line repairs or replacements for ice makers and refrigerators

We understand that dealing with kitchen plumbing issues can be frustrating, which is why we strive to make the process as seamless as possible for our clients. With B&L Plumbing by your side, you can rest assured knowing that your garbage disposal works efficiently along with other essential kitchen appliances.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment or learn more about how B&L Plumbing can help keep your home’s plumbing system in top shape.

Key Takeaway: 


B&L Plumbing provides repair and replacement services for garbage disposals in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Their skilled technicians can diagnose any issues, fix them on-site if possible, recommend suitable replacements or install new ones efficiently and professionally. They also offer a wide range of other kitchen plumbing services such as leaky faucet repair, sink installation, and dishwasher maintenance to keep your home’s plumbing system in top shape.

FAQs in Relation to How Does a Garbage Disposal Work

How does the garbage disposal work?

A garbage disposal grinds food waste into small particles using a spinning impeller plate and shredding ring. These particles are then mixed with water, forming a slurry that is easily flushed through your plumbing system. The motor powers the grinding process, ensuring efficient operation.

Where does the food go in a garbage disposal?

Food waste enters the garbage disposal through its mouth or opening located at the bottom of your sink. Once ground into tiny particles, they travel along with water through your home’s plumbing system and eventually reach either a septic tank or municipal sewer line for further processing.

How does water go through a garbage disposal?

Water flows into the garbage disposal from your faucet when you run it during operation. It mixes with ground-up food particles to create an easily flushable slurry that passes smoothly through pipes without causing clogs or blockages. Regularly running cold water helps maintain proper functioning.

What are the pros and cons of a garbage disposal?

Pros include reduced kitchen odors, fewer pests attracted by rotting food scraps, and convenience in disposing of organic waste. Cons involve potential clogs if not properly maintained, noise during operation, possible damage to fragile items like glassware accidentally dropped inside, and increased energy consumption.


Understanding how a garbage disposal works involves knowing its components and functions, the role of water inefficient operation, types available such as continuous-feed vs batch-feed disposals, proper maintenance practices for optimal performance, and selecting your ideal brand. If you’re a homeowner in the Kansas City metropolitan area and need installation or repair services for your garbage disposal, B&L Plumbing offers a comprehensive range of kitchen plumbing solutions.

If you want to learn more about how a garbage disposal works or need assistance with installation or repair services from professionals who can get the job done right the first time around, contact B&L Plumbing today by visiting our website at

Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced plumbers!