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Garbage Disposal Best Practices

Where Housing and Residential Life provides garbage disposals, follow these best practices to keep it working in top condition. Report machine issues to the HRL Facilities Office. 

How to use a garbage disposal 

When used properly, a garbage disposal can make kitchen cleanup convenient. This four-step process helps make sure the food goes down the drain instead of collecting in the garbage  disposal and creating odor the kitchen.

4 Easy Steps

  1. Make sure there are not forks, spoons or other objects inside of the garbage disposal.
  2. Turn on cold water for 20 to 30 seconds before grinding food waste.
  3. Turn on the switch for the disposal located on the right side of the sink for 5 to 10 seconds to grind food waste.
  4. Turn on cold water for 20 to 30 seconds after grinding food waste.


What can go in a garbage disposal

There are limits to what standard garbage disposal can handle. The following is a list of food you can safely grind in the garbage disposal.

  • Cold Water
  • Dish Soap
  • Liquids and Soft Foods
  • Chopped Foods, If solid foods need to be disposed of, chop them into small pieces before placing them into the disposal.
  • Ice Cubes. Ice cubes can help to clean and sharpen disposal blades

What not to put in a garbage disposal

Putting the wrong thing down the garbage disposal can break the device and cost money in repairs. Dispose of the following food in the trash.


Fats, Oil and Grease (FOGs) 

FOGs must never be put down in the sink nor garbage disposal. To properly dispose of FOGs follow these steps:

1. Cool hot fats, cooking oil and grease.
2. Pour into a lidded can or disposable container.
3. Place in the trash.


Fibrous Foods

Celery, onion skins, potato peelings, broccoli, lettuce, artichokes and other vegetables must go in the trash.


Uncooked Pasta and Rice

Uncooked pasta and rice expand when it comes into contact with water. Place in trash.


Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds get caught in the disposal’s drain trap and may cause the drain to back up. Place in trash.

Bones, Eggshells, Fruit Pits

Hard items like these must be disposed of in the trash.




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