Thread Number: 75438  /  Tag: Ranges, Stoves, Ovens
Clogged Kitchen Sink w/ Disposal
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Post# 992817   5/2/2018 at 03:54 by mark_wpduet (Lexington KY)        

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I have NEVER had my kitchen sink clog until yesterday or any plumbing problems. The drains run super fast. Anyway, I put some old romaine lettuce down the garbage disposal and it clogged the sink up. WHY? I don't know. I got the plunger and plunged for an hour. I got my rainbow vacuum trying to suck the clog out and NOTHING worked! So I went to youtube and watched a few videos. One said to use two plungers (I only had one),-- others talked about going under the sink to take apart the pipe to get clog out.

Then- FINALLY I came across a video a lady had made with a sink very similar to mine with an air gap. She said to put plastic around the airgap tightly with a rubber band and then plunge. I guess the air gap needs to be plugged up or plunging won't work. It literally took like 3 plunges to unstop the sink after I plugged the airgap up. I wish I had known this before I spent an hour plunging that was doing absolutely nothing.





Post# 992819 , Reply# 1   5/2/2018 at 04:50 by appnut (TX)        

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Been there, done that.  Mark, did you put the lettuce down quickly?  I've learned with lettuce to do it gradually with water full on.  It also means your disposal isn't grinding as well as it used to.  I've just learned with lettuce and onion peels to not put stuff like that down in huge amounts, just gradually feed the stuff in. 


Post# 992831 , Reply# 2   5/2/2018 at 06:55 by tolivac (greenville nc)        

Is the disposer old--if so it can pass the lettuce leaves between the shredders without shredding them.You may need a new unit.

Post# 992832 , Reply# 3   5/2/2018 at 07:01 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Clogged Kitchen Sink W/Disposer

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If you have a DW drain line attached to the disposer you should remove it and cap the opening before using a plunger, even if you don't have an air-gap like Mark has. On newer DWs there are little rubber check-valves either in the pump assembly or in the end of the drain hose attached to the pump that can easily be destroyed from the forces of using a plunger.

 

Bob has a good point Mark about your disposer in that it may not be grinding waste finely enough any longer. If it is a model that does not have all SS grind components and is over about 5 years old it may need replacing. Look inside the grind chamber with a flash light and if the floor of the grinding chamber is all brown and rusted then look at the gap around the perimeter of of the grinding disk if it is more than an 1/8" you need a new disposer.

 

John L.


Post# 992834 , Reply# 4   5/2/2018 at 07:12 by mark_wpduet (Lexington KY)        
Wait?

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my dishwasher drain IS connected to the disposer! I RARELY ever use the disposer other than just crumbs or little bits of food that fall of plates. I mostly throw all that stuff in the garbage. I just didn't think lettuce would be that big of a deal. This disposer is nearing 14 yrs old and it's a whirlpool or whoever makes them for whirlpool at that time. I'm not replacing it as long as it does not leak because that's how rarely I use it...I wish I had known a plunger could damage the seals in the dishwasher. I do know that I've run the dishwasher and didn't notice any problems. Hopefully, I didn't destroy anything. May I ask (if those seals are damaged, what exactly should I look for?) Thanks

Post# 992856 , Reply# 5   5/2/2018 at 10:18 by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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I used to have this same problem when we had a garbage disposal. I found out quickly on my own that I needed to wrap something around the air gap when plunging the drain, because dirty water would come out of the air gap. I would also plug the other sink drain too. After a few years of this, and this even happened with a new disposal, I said, screw it, I couldnít put much of anything down it anyway. So I decided to take out the disposal and go back to a regular drain for both sinks.

I looked up on You Tube how to do this myself, and for about $10.00 in new drain pipes and a regular drain and about 1 hr. of work it was done. I did this about 4 years ago and I havenít missed the disposal at all. I couldnít really use it anyway for much and I was raised without one, we had a septic tank, so it wasnít a big deal. And I sure am glad to not have to deal with a GD plunger when Iím in the midst of a holiday dinner preparation anymore! Iíve never regretted this decision.

Another plus is that I have more storage space under the sink without a garbage disposal.

Iíve included a photo if anyone is interested in doing this themselves. If you have a dishwasher you will need to get a drain tail piece with a ďteeĒ connection for the air gap hose. Itís really easy to do, and if you already donít use really use your GD much, or at all anyway, youíll be happy that you made this conversion.

I suppose if we were ever to put the house up for sale I might reinstall another GD if the realtor said it would make a difference to prospective buyers. But as long as we live here, I want the kitchen the way it suits me. Call me old fashioned, but this works best for me.

Eddie


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This post was last edited 05/02/2018 at 18:55
Post# 992861 , Reply# 6   5/2/2018 at 10:36 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        

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Hi Mark, your DW did not suffer any damage by using a plunger, This can only happen if the DWs drain hose is connected directly to the disposer, with an air-gap the air pressure just blows through the air-gap, although if you seal it off well enough the air pressure could still back up to the DWs CVs.

John L.


Post# 992864 , Reply# 7   5/2/2018 at 10:42 by IowaBear (Cedar Rapids, IA)        

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Sorry to hear of your problem but glad you fixed it yourself.  I also just use my disposer for leftover bits.  Had one clog years ago, that was enough of a headache that I just gave up on using it for serious disposal.  This is a 1956 house, there was no disposer until I put one in.  I still like having it though.


Post# 992874 , Reply# 8   5/2/2018 at 13:28 by thomasortega (Los Angeles - CA)        

I always put everything and a little bit more down the drain, never had a clog.

Now i have a BOL ISE Badger disposer. (that died a couple of days ago).

The landlord gave me a mesh trap and instructed me that absolutely nothing should fall in the disposer, not even a pea, because "he has the knowlegde as he works at DWP" and disposers are designed "only to drain the sink faster, as a pump, and like all pumps, food leftovers can destroy the disposer". LOL

Do I need to say I will replace the disposer myself and get a TOL ISE Evolution excell?


Post# 992886 , Reply# 9   5/2/2018 at 15:18 by kb0nes (Burnsville, MN)        

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I had to plunge the my double basin kitchen sink once. I sealed the line from the disposer to the air gap by pinching off the rubber hose with a clamp.

How to seal the 2nd basin was a bit of a conundrum for a bit. I used a folded over wet rag and a bowling ball in the end. One push did the trick after that!


Post# 992891 , Reply# 10   5/2/2018 at 15:46 by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

Plunging will, of course, only work if the clog is before the vent connection. If it's after that, you could plunge for days with no results, as all the air is forced out the vent. The same is true if there are other higher fixtures tied in before the clogged area.

When I was a kid, we had trouble with the kitchen sink drain becoming clogged on a regular basis. The lines were galvanized steel, and they are notorious for causing trouble. My mom soon learned not to put coffee grounds or potato peelings down the GD, as those would always result in a clog. Sometimes, the trap would clog, which could usually be fixed with the plunger. Usually it would clog on the long run across the basement ceiling, but occasionally would in the part past where the bathtub connected. Several times the tub was nearly full of dirty water, and once was within an inch of overflowing! After that, we had the plumber redo the lines, and rarely had any more trouble.


Post# 992934 , Reply# 11   5/3/2018 at 01:29 by mark_wpduet (Lexington KY)        
Well

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I've really never put much waste down the disposal over the years. Everywhere I've ever lived, you can look inside them and see all the rust. I guess I just thought that lettuce would be something super easy for it, but I didn't put the leaves down slowly - I just crammed them down really fast. What I usually do is just throw everything in the trash.. But still, you end up with small bits of food like when you're rinsing cans out for the recycle and those little bits of food that might get stuck in the disposal if you don't turn it on. From this point on, nothing is going down it other than that, which is no big deal because I'm used to not putting much of anything down it anyway.

I did read somewhere that putting a bunch of ice down in the disposal and turning water on and crushing the ice will keep it clean? I've done that a few times.


Post# 992944 , Reply# 12   5/3/2018 at 07:56 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Cleaning A lightly Used Disposer

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Turn it on with NO water running and put down one or two trays worth of ice, let it grind for about one minute [ the ice may turn very brown ]THEN turn on COLD water and let it flush down the drain.

 

Note: when you start flushing with cold water the water may back up in the sink for a few moments but of coarse will clear quickly as the ice melts.

 

John L.


Post# 992946 , Reply# 13   5/3/2018 at 08:17 by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
Either run the disposal every day

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Or take it out.

They do not work well when ignored.

I'm glad you got it fixed, I doubt you damaged the dishwasher.

When you run the disposal, be sure to let water rinse it out thoroughly for at least a minute after it stops grinding and before you turn it off.


Post# 992947 , Reply# 14   5/3/2018 at 08:41 by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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all disposers are not created equal....and that poses a problem for some people

as most first encounters may be with a TOL double grind stainless machine....you can toss just about anything down there without blinking an eye....

BUT, then they may move to a new apartment, with a BOL disposer, and start tossing things down, jams and clogs happen, and they don't understand why?...

all they understand is "Well my last disposer handled everything with ease!"

just because one machine can shred a tree branch, doesn't mean they all can!


Post# 992970 , Reply# 15   5/3/2018 at 15:00 by mark_wpduet (Lexington KY)        
I really don't know

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but mine is probably very BOL. I just have never researched disposers before.

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Post# 992978 , Reply# 16   5/3/2018 at 15:56 by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

Mark, your disposer appears to be the Whirlpool version of the ISE Badger. The last disposer I had was one of these, and it didn't last very long or work nearly as well as the old ISE 77,which lasted over 20 years.

Post# 992985 , Reply# 17   5/3/2018 at 16:52 by appnut (TX)        

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Mark, my builder put in a basic ISE in 1984.  It lasted until late 1993. I hated it because it clogged numerous times.   I got a 1 HP continuous feed GE spring 1994.  I've largely been able to throw just about anything down it.  I hate food waste in my garbage and I wanted something that would handle just about anything.  It's extremely rare any type of food waste ends up in my trash.  I even grind up skin I take off chicken before I bake it.  It takes a while to grind up and once done, I give a few shots of Dawn liquid down the disposer while it runs. 


Post# 993004 , Reply# 18   5/3/2018 at 18:48 by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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The first garbage disposal I ever had was in the condo we bought new in 87í. It was builders grade, like everything else in the unit. I believe in was a Badger, probably only 1/4 hp. Well, shortly after we moved in I clogged the sink with potato peels. There was no You Tube or PC. I plunged amd plunged until I finally called RotoRooter and it cost $75 for him to snake it. I also learned not to put potato peels down the GD.

Then in our current home there was another Badger 1/4 hp. And it would clog too, even though I didnít put potato peels down it. We eat a lot of fresh vegetables and have a lot of peels and trimmings. Even though I was always careful to put the refuse in gradually, it would still clog periodically. I even bought my own snake to clear it. I replaced it with a 1/3hp Waste King, and for about 8 years this was pretty good, but then it started to clog once in a while too. The last straw was when I was cooking Easter dinner about 4 years ago and the damn sink clogged just as I was ready to get the last things finished. I had to stop and plunge the sink, always something appetizing for company to see, not!

The next day I checked out You Tube, went to Lowes, bought the new drain and tail piece and a longer pipe to go to the P trap, took out the GD, replaced the drain and attached the airgap hose to the tee in the new tailpiece, and now I have peace in my kitchen. And the kitchen sink hasnít clogged since!

We empty the garbage under the sink every day at least once, so odors arenít a problem. And I think itís quicker peel the vegs in the sink or on a plastic bag, throw them in the garbage and rinse the sink out. Anything that might smell goes into a produce plastic bag, grease or oil into a jar or can, then into the garbage. No running the water for a min or more to be sure that the GD is flushed enough. And to keep the smaller stuff from going down the drain I use SS strainers over each drain, and a rubber GD stopper when I want to fill the sink. To keep the strainers clean I just rap them over the garbage can and rinse.

And Iím not needlessly wasting water. Besides, I always thought that the GD rubber drain gasket looked like the Black Hole of Calcutta! Theyíre hard to keep clean unless you take them out at least once a week and give them a good scrub.

Eddie



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This post was last edited 05/04/2018 at 04:31
Post# 993042 , Reply# 19   5/4/2018 at 06:32 by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
Mark,

do your self a favor and replace it with a better ISE 1/2 h.p with stainless steel grind chamber, and reversing motor.
Ours has lasted over 22 years, and still fine.
I learned that potato peels, onions, and large amounts of anything are not a disposers friend, or the drains.
Once I was at work, and we were leaving the next morning early on vacation.
My hubby cleaned out the fridge, and tried grinding green onions, and they clogged the drain elbow in the basement under the laundry sink. He called a plumber, thinking I wouldn't have time to get to it before we left. The guy wanted to charge $250, just to unscrew the drain elbow and clean it out. I got him down to $200. Took him 10 minutes tops. Large plumbing company too. he said he didn't set the prices.


Post# 993063 , Reply# 20   5/4/2018 at 10:20 by IowaBear (Cedar Rapids, IA)        

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Potato peels (and a lot of them as I remember) were the source of my clog as well.  I think we had used the garbage disposal for a couple of years without incident prior to that.

 

So I'm probably being paranoid not using now but my enclosed trash can in the garage is just steps from my sink.  It's not a problem to keep stinky things out of the kitchen.


Post# 993072 , Reply# 21   5/4/2018 at 12:24 by mark_wpduet (Lexington KY)        
I'm always

mark_wpduet's profile picture
putting some Dawn down my disposer with on and running to keep it clean even though I rarely use it. As for smells when throwing food in the trash, that's not a problem because what I do is throw whatever I'm throwing in the trash in some type of bag, whether it be ziplock or a produce bag and just twist it shut before tossing it. My friend told me she puts eggs shells, coffee grounds, everything down her disposer.

Anyway, I really don't want a new one. I heard they can develop leaks but until that happens I guess I'll be sure to replace it with a better one.


Post# 993140 , Reply# 22   5/5/2018 at 07:17 by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
Well sure,

when you need to replace it I meant to say.

Post# 993339 , Reply# 23   5/6/2018 at 22:42 by Helicaldrive (St. Louis)        
Happiest day of my life

Was the day I had the plumber take out my garbage disposal. Canít stand the things. They are unsanitary and they get smelly. The sewage backups they cause are a totally unnecessary pain. And they wreak havoc on your sewer line and the municipal sewers because so much fat and grease goes down the drain. NYC outlawed them for good reason.

Preventing smelly garbage and the mice it attracts is easy. Put a small garbage bag in a container the same way you line a wastebasket with a bag. Scrape food scraps into the bag. Close it. Store container and bag in the freezer until garbage day. Itís no more work than scraping food into the sink and cleaning up the mess that causes.



Post# 993340 , Reply# 24   5/6/2018 at 23:08 by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        
Helicaldrive

ea56's profile picture
at last a kindred spirit!

A garbage disposal is not a time saver in my experience, and a waste of water. My kitchen sink is much cleaner without one too.
Eddie


Post# 993360 , Reply# 25   5/7/2018 at 02:11 by cuffs054 (MONTICELLO, GA)        

Living in 100 yr old houses is not the place for a disposer! I don't have one here nor did I have one in the Manse, seem to be getting along OK.


Post# 993364 , Reply# 26   5/7/2018 at 05:25 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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When I was a kid, ours would clog the old metal pipes in the wall.  My mother and I would hold the sink stoppers in really tight and let the KDS17A go into drain cycle....worked EVERY time!  When I got older I replaced all those old rusty pipes with new PVC and added extra cleanout plugs.  Knock wood, it hasn't clogged since and it's been 25 years.  At that time I bought Mother a 1/2 hp ISE built model with stainless chamber and shredder.  Mine is a 3/4 ISE product with same stainless chamber and shredder.  I've had mine for 19 years and it's used pretty frequently.  But, I don't put extra grease down it.  Just what little bit that might be in the waste, which generally isn't much...especially while my doggie was alive because she got all the food scraps. 


Post# 993366 , Reply# 27   5/7/2018 at 05:58 by cuffs054 (MONTICELLO, GA)        

Oh yes, all the plumbing needs to get changed in these houses (my plumber is on retainer!) but the real issue is with the antiquated sewer system. Just not worth the hassle.


Post# 993375 , Reply# 28   5/7/2018 at 07:24 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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We were pretty lucky, in 1992 my home town installed an entirely new sewer system with all PVC pipes throughout the city.  Prior to that everyone had septic tanks.


Post# 993431 , Reply# 29   5/7/2018 at 16:30 by mark_wpduet (Lexington KY)        
NYC

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bans garbage disposals? That's interesting. I had no clue. As I think about it, all those huge buildings that people live in, the plumbing nightmares that could cause..

I forgot to mention one interesting thing I discovered YEARS ago under my kitchen sink. There was a small dripping intermittent leak. I couldn't figure out why it was leaking until I was messing around down there and realized that the rings that unscrew/screw that connect the pipes together were actually LOOSE and I'm wondering if it was caused by the vibration of the garbage disposal? I check them occasionally to make sure they're tight. When I first discovered them I couldn't believe how freaking loose they were.


Post# 993433 , Reply# 30   5/7/2018 at 16:38 by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        
Mark,

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Iím pretty sure you are correct in your guess that the vibration of the GD has loosened the fittings of your drain pipes, because the same thing used to happen to my pipes too before I took out the GD. Since removing the GD I have never had to retighten these connections again.

If you really donít use your GD much serioulsy consider just taking it out like I did. You wonít miss the GD or regret getting rid of it.
Eddie


Post# 993461 , Reply# 31   5/7/2018 at 20:15 by lotsosudz (Sacramento, CA)        
Said it before, and i'll say it again

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If you have a decent disposal, put ice cubes, small chicken bones, egg shells, and small pieces of broken glass in, and you will have a disposal that will take anything. When we moved into this house we inherited an ancient Kenmore unit. It was dull and could not cut butter. I started my usual borage, of the above mentioned items, and 14 years later it is sharp, and quick. It was so bad initially, that our frugal land owner thought it should be replaced. I told him to hold off, and let me have a go of it. Like I said, its now omnivorous.
Hugs,
David


Post# 993473 , Reply# 32   5/8/2018 at 00:28 by tolivac (greenville nc)        

NEVER,NEVER put glass in a disposer!!!!The unit can be damaged,the glass could get thrown out and up at you,and shredded glass does not "float" and could cause nasty clogs in the plumbing.The other items mentioned are fine-yes a disposer fed a "soft" diet will get its shredder elements covered in slime reducing their effectiveness.If the disposer is still under a warrantee the glass -"foreign object" by the disposer maker will void the units warrantee.

Post# 993484 , Reply# 33   5/8/2018 at 06:24 by mark_wpduet (Lexington KY)        
So ice

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will not only clean it, but will sharpen it too???



Post# 993571 , Reply# 34   5/9/2018 at 00:55 by tolivac (greenville nc)        

The ice CLEANS the disposer-it is "sharpened" by the ice removing slime and grime from the shredders.For REALLY bad disposers use a little scouring powder with the ice cubes.

Post# 993752 , Reply# 35   5/10/2018 at 11:39 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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I bought a toilet brush at walmart several years ago that will fit through the opening and down into the disposal.  Sprinkle some Comet or Ajax powder on it, stick it in and scrub it around with hot water running.  When I pull it out it inverts the rubber baffles and scrubs them too. 


Post# 993800 , Reply# 36   5/10/2018 at 16:34 by lotsosudz (Sacramento, CA)        
Just for general info

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Glass beads are what the pros's use to sharpen them. Yes I would use extreme caution, and cover the opening with a cover that allowed water to flow by. Ice is probably safer for newbies. The rest of the regimen that I mentioned, really does work. And easy to do as well.

Post# 993901 , Reply# 37   5/11/2018 at 18:48 by Ultralux88 (Denver)        

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I put everything down the disposal, if itís food waste it goes in there, peels, bones, rinds, cores, and even bones. I even put the leafy green pineapple top down it with the rest of the rind. Coffee filter with all the grounds in it? Absolutely! I have a Waste Maid 3/4 HP disposal, before that there was a 1/3HP badger that lasted 13 years and then leaked all over early this year. I put in a 1/2HP one that really left me wanting... the flywheel was starting to rust on the surface and it couldnít grind up an apple core, I was heavily dissatisfied and thoroughly disgusted. Iíve always thought it disgusting to throw food in the trash, as it stinks, so now no food is allowed near the trash can, and I havenít smelled that familiar food in the trash can stench since!

Post# 994595 , Reply# 38   5/19/2018 at 02:46 by tolivac (greenville nc)        

Again,I WOULD NOT put glass down ANY disposer-the shredded glass can cause future clogs.DON'T DO IT!!!!!!Also the glass can wear the shredders rather than "sharpening" them.

Post# 994958 , Reply# 39   5/22/2018 at 17:02 by Ultralux88 (Denver)        

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Glass to me is not food, so it doesnít go down the disposal, besides, thereís nothing to sharpen, itís all full from the factory... If you need/want to knock all the crud out of it, just drop bones down it!

Post# 994964 , Reply# 40   5/22/2018 at 20:03 by thomasortega (Los Angeles - CA)        

I agree with Ultralux

I do the same. I just avoid soft diets, but... I have soft leftovers too, so guess where they go.

Of course, I try to feed my disposer with a very balanced diet and after i use if for a considerable amount of food or every few days I fill the disposer with detergent (pencil-thick water flow, a squirt of detergent then close the tap) until the foam overflows on both drains. I let it run for 1 minute, then i rinse both sinks with the disposer on.

Turn off the disposer, fill the sink with water and use the disposer as my landlords says "only to drain the sink faster".

A few days ago I thought my crappy Badger disposer died, I was even thinking it would be the chance to get a decent disposer, but then it suddenly decided to come back to life.


Today I'm making chicken wings for dinner, intentionally to have tons of bones to clean it.

I can't imagine my life without a disposer.

Well actually i can, i lived 6 months at Extended Stay America in Dallas and it was a NIGHTMARE without a disposer or a dishwasher.


Post# 995017 , Reply# 41   5/23/2018 at 13:57 by Ultralux88 (Denver)        
Here's a better idea than glass! LOL

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Post# 995229 , Reply# 42   5/26/2018 at 01:38 by tolivac (greenville nc)        

I use chicken bones or ice cubes.When I buy beef just buy it already trimmed of bones.Takes a BEEFY home unit to shred bones.Large commercial disposers were talking about 3-15Hp class-no problem!Those will grind ANYTHING thrown in them.But the plumbing system may not like it.

Post# 995826 , Reply# 43   5/31/2018 at 16:28 by Ultralux88 (Denver)        

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This 3/4 HP unit, as you see, will easily shred bones, even if they don't fit completely down in the grind chamber. Just the other day I disposed of a ham bone down the thing, it is a bit noisy, but it took care of it quickly!

Not that I'd do this regularly, but I find the idea of being able to drop one of those paper Chinese food containers, contents and all, down a commercial disposer and having it all disappear to be very intriguing...


Post# 995870 , Reply# 44   6/1/2018 at 03:56 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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My 3/4hp ISE made Kenmore spit a bone back at me once so I just don't do that anymore.  But it will do it.  I used to stick chicken bones down it all the time but they tend to make it smell more.  I posted above about how I clean mine with Comet or bleach.





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