Reminder Concerning Garbage Disposal Usage

Living in an apartment and utilizing a garbage disposal is quite different than living in a home and utilizing a garbage disposal. If a garbage disposal is not used correctly back up can occur in an apartment above or below yours. Please note the following list of “don’ts for garbage disposal usage:

1. Don’t pour grease or fat down your disposal or any drain. It can build up in pipes and cause drain blockages. Put grease in a jar or can and dispose in the trash.
2. Don’t use hot water when grinding food waste. It is okay to drain hot water into the disposal between grinding periods. Always run plenty of cold water.
3. Don’t fill disposal with a lot of food scraps all at once. Instead, turn the water and disposal on first and then feed the food scraps in gradually.
4. Don’t put any expandable foods down the disposal like oatmeal, rice, anything in the starch family, etc.
5. Don’t pour coffee grounds into the garbage disposal. Coffee grounds should be disposed of with your normal trash.
6. Don’t grind extremely fibrous materials like corn husks, artichokes, vegetable peels, banana peels, seafood shells, etc., to avoid possible drain blockage.
7. Don’t turn off disposal until grinding is completed and only the sound of the motor and water is heard.
8. Don’t overload the garbage disposal but always feed the disposal gradually while always running cold water.

We greatly appreciate your cooperation in this matter and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact General Services at 410-737-8838 ext. 8190.

And when in doubt, throw it out!


*Everyday food waste scraps
*Peelings from citrus fruits to freshen up drain smells
*Egg shells


*Anything that is not biodegradable
*Plastic and metal
*Fibrous food such as: celery, corn husks/cobs, pineapples, and asparagus


*Please make sure to run your disposal with a moderate to strong flow of cold water, continue to run cold water for 15 seconds after grinding is complete.
*Avoid pouring grease or fat into your disposal or drain.
*Too much of anything is not good.
*“When in doubt, throw it out.”
*The only things that should go into your garbage disposal are things that are left over after you scrap your plate into the garbage can.

Are You Using Your Garbage Disposal?

Because of continuing problems that occur from the misuse of garbage disposals, it was felt that rerunning a previous Sunburst article on the topic is warranted. Our maintenance staff would really appreciate your cooperation, as well as your neighbors on the floors around you!

Although replacing burned out light bulbs tops the list of calls for maintenance, a too frequent and more time-consuming problem concerns our garbage disposals. Living in an apartment and utilizing a garbage disposal is quite different from living in a home and utilizing a garbage disposal. If a garbage disposal is not used correctly, a backup can occur in an apartment above or below yours. To keep our neighbors happy, as well as our maintenance people, we need to follow a few simple rules for the care and feeding of our disposals. First let’s review the steps for successful operation.

• Remove the stopper and run a strong flow of COLD water.
• Turn on the wall switch to start the disposal.
• SLOWLY insert food waste into the disposal and position the stopper to minimize possible ejection of material while grinding.
• After grinding is complete, when all you hear is the sound of the motor and the water, turn off the grinder and let the water run for at least 15 seconds to flush.

Next, consider what you are putting into the disposal. Obviously we all know that we shouldn’t be grinding oyster shells or old flower bouquets, but we may not be aware that there are other items that present problems. Grease and fat will cause build-up in the pipes, and these should be put into a jar or other container and put into the trash collec on. The same thing is true for foods that expand when moisture is added, such as rice, oatmeal, or pasta. Coffee grounds are another no-no. Fibrous materials, such as corn husks, ar chokes, and vegetable or fruit peels are also contributors to blockage. Large volumes of material that you have if the casserole you made is burned, or if the pot of stew is overly seasoned, should go into the trash, not your disposal.

Finally, there are some nice things you can do for your disposal. Grinding a handful of ice cubes while running cold water will help keep the blades sharp. Cleaning the disposal with a couple of tablespoons of baking soda and a cup of vinegar that is allowed to sit in the disposal for 15 minutes will minimize any unpleasant odors. If there are questions you have regarding this topic, you can call General Services at 601- 8190.

Ed Piechowiak, Maintenance & Engineering Committee