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Is It OK to Use Hot Water in Garbage Disposals?

Mama always told me “You better shop around.”

You’ve got to grind it out – cold.

No, seriously, Mama always told me “Don’t use hot water in a garbage disposal!”

Was Mama right?

At the risk of offending your sensibilities, Mama was only half right.

  • Grind food waste with cold water. Grease and oil solidify and more easily grind up before reaching your tiny P-trap.
  • Don’t grind food waste with hot water. Grease and oil liquefy, accumulate, and clog your drain (or your tiny P-trap).
You’ve got to clean it out – hot.

But yes, it’s OK to use hot water when you’re cleaning the disposal. Mix equal parts white vinegar and baking soda and flush with boiling water.  A sink full of hot water and dish-washing soap also are fine for cleaning the disposal.

Therefore, with apologies to Mama, you can run the hot water all day long if you’re not grinding.  Your energy bill might be a lot higher and you may even run out of water, but your garbage disposal would be fine.

Summary: Grind with cold, clean with hot.

Using cold water to grind helps to extend the life of your garbage disposal, while preventing plumbing and drain mishaps.