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Garbage Disposers and Hot Water

Routinely, while conducting inspections of the kitchen appliances and plumbing piping at the kitchen cabinet, our inspectors will run the garbage disposer and check the hot water control location (left) simultaneously.

A homeowner recently became very concerned when she observed one of our inspectors conducting this ritual. He politely asked if something was wrong and she replied, "I've always been told you never run hot water into your garbage disposal."

Well, while there is some merit to what she was alluding to, it deserves further explanation.

Here's the short list of when to use cold water or when not to use hot:

  • DO grind food waste with a strong flow of cold water. It will cause any grease or oils to solidify, making them 'choppable', able to be cut up before reaching the P-trap.
  • DON'T use hot water when grinding food waste. Hot water causes grease and oils to liquify and accumulate, causing drains to eventually clog.
  • It is OKAY to use hot water when cleaning the disposer. We have detailed previously about using equal parts of white vinegar and baking soda, then flushing with boiling water. Also, a sink full of hot water and dishwashing soap (free of food debris) released into an operating disposer is acceptable for cleaning.
  • There is no issue with running hot water into an operating disposer, if not grinding food wastes.

Want to know more? We've previously outlined items that do not belong in the disposer. Click here to learn more.

And, you may also read this article from a third party source that gives great advice on maintaining and operating your garbage disposer.

The ultimate goal of proper maintenance and operation is to extend the life of your garbage disposal, while preventing plumbing and drain mishaps.