How Does a Garbage Disposal Work?

How does a garbage disposal work is a frequent question that many homeowners ask when enquiring about garbage disposal. Invented in 1927 by John Hammes, the garbage disposal is a device that uses electricity to run. It is installed in the kitchen under the kitchen sink between the trap and sink drain.

With this kitchen appliance, there is no need for you worrying about small pieces of food clogging your sink drain when you are cleaning and scrapping off different types of dishes. It is a desire for every homeowner to own and understand how a garbage disposal works. When you buy better and quality disposals, you enjoy their effectiveness during your dish cleaning operations.


How Does Garbage Disposal Work?

how does a garbage disposal work

The garbage disposal should first be mounted under the kitchen sink drain in your house. A standard and typical garbage disposal work by grinding up any food scraps too small particles drained with water.

The majority of garbage disposal uses an electric motor plugged into a 120-volt receptacle that is generally positioned on the sink cabinet. When the waste food enters a grinding chamber, it meets with the shredding blades that break down every scrap inside the garbage disposal.

Using an impeller arm and the plate to crushed food particles and the liquid are forced out, down the drain. With the help of the water drained by the dishwasher, the waste food can run through the garbage disposal removing all the waste food particles into the drainpipe that goes to the sewer.

Either you are using the continuous feed activated by a switch to run down the water or use the batch feed that requires you to turn a stopper to activate the garbage disposal. It is good to note that many manufacturers design most garbage disposals to fit the outlet that drains the wastewater from the sink. For safety, purposes ensure that you adhere to the safety distance required by your local safety codes.


Features of a Suitable Garbage Disposal For You

garbage disposal operation

When selecting suitable garbage disposal for your home, it is advisable to consider garbage disposal with the following features to guide and ease your decision.

  • Design 

From its inception in 1927, the design of garbage disposal has not changed much. The first design was made with plastic housing. This classic design was known to use two plates connected to its motor that could grind and brake down any food waste in the grinding chamber. The two plates use the help of a grinding ring to enable them to accomplish their task.

As more and more waste is crushed, it uses water to flush out the waste particles and the liquid through the small holes in the grinding ring. The spinning plate and the impellers assist in ensuring that the food granulated and forced out against the grinding ring. As a result of their textured surface, it becomes easy to break down any materials.


  • Feed Type 

The homeowner should know that disposal units in the market come with two basic types that follow: The batch feed and continuous feed.

1. Continuous feed 

For homeowners looking for the most common and easy-to-use garbage disposal, they should consider owning a continuous feed. This type of kitchen appliances comes with open mouth disposal that you can control with a switch. Concerning other kinds of garbage disposal, continuous feed is relatively cheap, affordable, and adds more convenience to the user with the on and off switch.

2. Batch feed 

Batch feed garbage disposal uses a stopper lid fitted on the mouth of the disposal before you activate the feed. All you need is to place all the food waste in the chamber, close it using the stopper lid, and enable the waste grinder.

As a result, it becomes easy to use the feed with one hand as the other fish around inside the unit. The batch feed is relatively expensive than continuous feed and is not readily available in all stores. Individuals who tend to drop their non-food waste then it is advisable they consider purchasing a batch feed disposal.


  • The Size of the Motor

Homeowners who want to equip their home with garbage disposal find it advisable for them to know that the smaller the motor, the less food waste it can grind.

Disposal motors are rated using their horsepower. They are five standard sizes of hose power you can consider buying 1H, ¾ HP, ½ HP and 1/3 HP. Individuals with a larger family should consider buying ¾ HP and 1 HP, which does not jam and clog easily, offering the user a smooth operation. Also, with a big motor, you will worry less about what goes in your waste disposal.


  • Grinding Chamber

It is in this chamber that all the actions are required to happen. The size of your Grinding chamber is directly related to the size of your motor.

Garbage disposal with the smaller engine will have the lower horsepower in the grinding chamber, and because of this, they will have less power to grind your waste food.

On the other hand, disposal with large grinding part has large motors with substantial horsepower that enable the grinding chamber to grind more waste food. Grinding parts are mostly made of stainless steel that is easy to clean.


  • Auto-Reverse 

This anti-jamming feature automatically allows you to reverse the motor rotation if something stuck and block the grinding chamber. As a result, you can dispose of sturdy materials without been worried about overloads that quickly shut down your disposal unit.


  • Noise 

It is not easy for you to decide which model suit your need using noise level as a parameter. Garbage disposers have no standard guidelines on their sound rating.

But nowadays, many manufacturers use solid construction to reduce their sound, and they add insulation material in the grinding chamber that aid in sound reduction.


Recommended Garbage Disposals On the Market



A garbage disposal unit should be a must-have house appliance for homeowners with large or small houses. With this machine, you can drain food scrap when washing your dishes in the kitchen sink into the drainage pipe without clogging your pipe. How does a garbage disposal work a query that many homeowners will inquire about before they buy garbage disposal? To work effectively, ensure that you do not put materials that will clog your disposal drainage.