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So I Ask - Is It Possible To Break Disposal Blades?

So I ask - is it possible to break disposal blades?  Let's hear an answer!

Disposal blades are called "impeller blades."

They are designed in different shapes to attempt to cut and chop debris in the disposal.

The smaller it is chopped, the easier garbage is to wash away.  The larger the motor (builder size 1/3 horsepower - my disposal 3/4 horsepower) the better the chop, slice and dice.

However, no blade-o, no chop-o.  That's perfect Spanish.

So, turning on this disposal it sounded funny.

It's important to listen to the sounds of appliances as they operate, and as you use or maintain them!

That way you will know when things just don't seem right.

I listen to lots of disposals!

Turning this one on it did not have that clinking, grind sound I am so familiar with.

It sounded more like a jet engine, with a high-spinning whir, but none of the familiar clinking of the blades turning in an empty disposal.

And looking inside I could see why.

It was an old disposal and seriously rusty.

AND THE BLADES WERE GONE!

I don't know that I've ever seen that, and I have peeked into lots and lots of disposals!

Here are some DON'TS when operating disposals.

DON'T put this into your disposal:

  • Large items - if you have large food chunks you should cut them up a bit or put them in the trash can
  • Hard items, like bones.  You mean chicken wings don't sharpen the disposal impeller blades?  NO!
  • Grease
  • Coffee grinds
  • Starchy stuff, which will further swell and can clog the pipes
  • Stringy vegetables like celery and rhubarb
  • Fruit and vegetable skins (except citrus)
  • Bleach, which will ruin the seals and can splatter back into your face
  • Upopped popcorn kernels!
  • Common sense things, like coins, metal screws, plastic bottle caps, plastic cooking wrap or sandwich bags (I've seen all this!)
  • Rags, paper towels or paper
  • Your hand - UNLESS YOU ARE CERTAIN THE UNIT CANNOT COME ON!

Is it possible to sharpen the disposal impeller blades?

YES!

With ice.  Lots of ice.  And do it a couple of times a month.  Run cold water at the same time as the unit is grinding up the ice.

Grinding this ice will do something more.  Ice will harden any greasy deposits inside the unit and that will help to wash them away.

Is it possible to clean the disposal and get rid of odors?

YES!

Grinding lemon and other citrus peels will help a lot!  And their oils linger to help eliminate smells.  But don't put in large amounts at one time - they can and will clog the drain line!

Also, baking soda and white vinegar - 5 tablespoons of each.  Let it bubble up and sit for a while, preferably overnight.

Also, Borax and water.  Again, 5 tablespoons of each, letting it also do its magic and sit overnight.

I assure you that home inspector' disposals smell just as bad as yours.  This home inspector sharpens and then deodoraizes his disposal monthly.  He also has a big one - 3/4 horsepower, purchased on sale for less than $100 and he never looked back.

My Recommendation:  be smart!  Be careful what you put down the disposal?  If it gets stuck it can be loosened from below with an Allen wrench (disposals come now with a special wrench) or from above with a broom handle stuck down inside and turned clockwise.  Disposals aren't magic!  But treated well a disposal can last a good while, even 10 years or more.

 

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 30 commentsJay Markanich • July 20 2018 10:44AM

Comments

Good morning, Jay Markanich I had a batchfeed disposal.... I think so many pieces of plastic went down the opening, it did a final jamb.... I had it yanked out!!!  done with disposals.... 

Posted by Barbara Todaro, "Franklin MA Homes" (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) 3 months ago

Use the Force, Barbara!  Feed it right and it will chew right.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 3 months ago

I have a private septic so no disposal.

I have taken all of them out of the rentals also

Posted by William Feela, Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No. (WHISPERING PINES REALTY) 3 months ago

I have seen people with septic systems who have a special disposal (supposedly made for septics) and others which have a compost barrel, William.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 3 months ago

Thank you for the information. I will reblog this post.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) 3 months ago

Good morning Jay. Great tips for the appliance people take for granted! Enjoy your day! 

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) 3 months ago

Good morning Jay.  Thanks for this excellent information for all us who use disposals.  I'm printing this out for my wife.  She may listen to your post more than she does to me.  

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) 3 months ago

Good morning Jay Markanich,

Great tips..thank you. I always like to grind lemon as it makes it smell so good but like the tip of baking soda and white vinegar - 5 tablespoons of each! I'm going to try it!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799) 3 months ago

I'm glad you enjoyed it, Gita, and thanks!

Wayne - tips are my business!  Most days I give them out a lot!

Like my kids, Gabe.  They always listened to someone else more than to me.

It will make you feel bubbly, Dorie.  It really does work!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 3 months ago

We don't have a disposal - for the first time ever. Our current home is on a septic and the original owners never put one in the kitchen. I hear there are septic friendly disposals, but now that we haven't had one for three years, I'm not really missing one.  We do a lot of composting. :)  The ice and the citrus monthly is a good tip - if we ever have another...

Posted by Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD, REALTORS® in Clark County, WA (ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors) 3 months ago

See my answer #4 above, Debb.  You can clean your drain with the borax or baking soda also.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 3 months ago

I can't tell you the crazy things I've fished out of disposals... lol, coins, paper clips, rocks, screws... some people truly think it's a disposALL!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) 3 months ago

Once I had a client call me to rip me for not telling them a disposal would not chew up a pork chop bone, and their disposal stopped.  My fault.  What can I say, Fred?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 3 months ago

Have always heard that we can clean and sharpen our disposal blades by using ice, Jay Markanich ... but glad to hear from our AR expert that it truly works!  Great and informational post ...

Gene

Posted by Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi, 708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience (NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656) 3 months ago

I had wondered if it was possible to sharpen disposal blades.  You provided the answer.  I learned something new today!

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) 3 months ago

Another informative post, thanks.

Question:  Friends of ours firmly state you shouldn't have a disposal with a septic system.  I'm of the belief that if you limit the material, it is just fine.  Your thoughts?

Posted by Stephen Weakley (Nationwide Mortgage Services) 3 months ago

I'm glad you enjoyed it, Gene!  And for the attention on Google +!

Myrl - it's all relative, said Dr. Einstein.  They don't sharpen that much, but can become duller with time.  Their aim is to chop garbage up, so the better the impellers can do that the easier things drain.

Stephen - I know they make disposals just for septic systems, but I have no information as to how well they work.  That being so, certainly what is put down makes a difference.  With septics the less cellulose the better, for sure.  But what contributes to the bacteria content of the system can't be that bad.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 3 months ago

Jay what an awesome post and you are spot on, I am here thanks to Gita Bantwal  re-blog. I never put anything into the disposer as much as humanly possible...I wipe out the grease with paper towels as an example before I do the dishes and the list goes on and on...Endre

Posted by Endre Barath, Jr., Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002 (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices) 3 months ago

Had not known the ice trick...but know it will find its way to our newsletter !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) 3 months ago

Thank you, Endre.  I am shocked, shocked (!), you did not read this the moment I posted it!  Kidding.  We try to put useful information out there.  You might enjoy my previous post on LED lights.

S&D - sometimes things that seem simple work great!  Not too much ice at once, however.  Always good to be newsletter worthy!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 3 months ago

This is excellent advice to share.

Thanks so much for your tip.

Posted by Roy Kelley, Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs (Realty Group Referrals) 3 months ago

That's what we do, Roy!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 3 months ago

Wow, this is great education for homeowners about the care of their disposals, Jay. I'll be sharing this one for sure!

Jeff

Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) 3 months ago

Gracias, Hermano Jeff.  I am glad to contribute to your database!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 3 months ago

What you descirbe is like q human eating a tough steak with having teeth. The gums just can't do the job.

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) 3 months ago

A good description of a disposal, Joe!  Get a steak eater with a lot of horsepower!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 3 months ago

HI Jay Markanich - Great blog post. Most people don't realize many things that should not be put into the disposal. I have never seen one with no blades!

Posted by Sheri Sperry - MCNE®, (928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR® (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) 3 months ago

Sheri - they must have put in something severe!  I don't remember seeing that either!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 3 months ago

Great post Jay Markanich I am so glad that Gabe Sanders reblogged it as I have missed a number of your posts...this will make a great newsletter addition for my clients.

Personally I don't use my disposal, never have!

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) 3 months ago

Lisa - I think more people saw his reblog than read my original blog.  That's why I haven't been on AR very much in the past many months.  But I'm glad you enjoyed and post.  I try to post informative material!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 3 months ago

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