Should You Use Hot or Cold Water When Using the Garbage Disposal?

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Do not turn on the hot water if you have mistakenly poured oil down your drain.
Do not turn on the hot water if you have mistakenly poured oil down your drain. (Image: Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

If you have a clog in your garbage disposal, you may be wondering how you can loosen it. One of the main reasons a garbage disposal becomes clogged is that you have not allowed enough water to circulate through the drain. Turn on your faucet and let the water flow liberally as you grind food in the drain. Using cold or hot water is dependent on what kinds of food or items you are grinding.

Grease, Oils and Fats

Remember the acronym GOF, which stands for Grease, Oils and Fats. These are liquids that you should never pour down your garbage disposal drain. If you do mistakenly pour any of the GOF elements down your drain, do not turn on the hot water. Hot water can make these liquids coagulate and exacerbate a clog in your pipes somewhere down the line, which could lead to a sewage backup in your community.

Vegetable and Fruit Peels

If you are grinding nonfibrous vegetable and fruit peels, cold water will suffice. You should never grind fibrous vegetables, fruits and flower stems as well as any peel containing seeds. Banana peels, for example, are quite stringy and can create a clog. Combined with hot water, the fruit residue on the peel can create a lumpy clog.

Cleaning Pellets

If you have dropped a cleaning pellet down your drain, you most likely will need to use hot water. The hot water helps to dissolve and break down the cleaning pellet as you are grinding your disposal. Consult the pellet packaging for specific instructions.

Ice Cold Water

Every now and then place a few pieces of lemon rind and a few ice cubes into your garbage disposal. Turn on the cold water, and run your garbage disposal to create an ice cold, fresh citrus-smelling, natural cleaner for your disposal. Keep the water on for about 30 seconds after you turn off the disposal.

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