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

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC 3380-000723

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's 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.

 

 

 

Posted by

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


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Re-Blogged 4 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Gita Bantwal 07/20/2018 04:58 AM
  2. Roy Kelley 10/10/2018 01:00 AM
  3. Gabe Sanders 08/02/2018 11:00 PM
  4. Sally K. & David L. Hanson 09/23/2018 07:21 AM
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Rainmaker
1,871,574
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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?

Jul 20, 2018 07:12 AM #13
Rainmaker
1,256,956
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

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

Jul 20, 2018 10:45 AM #14
Rainmaker
2,677,173
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

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

Jul 20, 2018 10:51 AM #15
Rainer
321,506
Stephen Weakley
Nationwide Mortgage Services - Rockville, MD

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?

Jul 20, 2018 11:50 AM #16
Rainmaker
1,871,574
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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.

Jul 20, 2018 12:14 PM #17
Rainmaker
3,296,446
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

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

Jul 20, 2018 09:43 PM #18
Rainmaker
3,327,692
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce

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

Jul 21, 2018 12:55 AM #19
Rainmaker
1,871,574
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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!

Jul 21, 2018 03:42 AM #20
Rainmaker
5,671,134
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

This is excellent advice to share.

Thanks so much for your tip.

Jul 21, 2018 05:46 AM #21
Rainmaker
1,871,574
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

That's what we do, Roy!

Jul 21, 2018 05:52 AM #22
Ambassador
4,152,405
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

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

Jeff

Jul 22, 2018 12:47 PM #23
Rainmaker
1,871,574
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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

Jul 22, 2018 02:14 PM #24
Ambassador
1,701,611
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

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

Jul 22, 2018 03:37 PM #25
Rainmaker
1,871,574
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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

Jul 22, 2018 03:57 PM #26
Rainmaker
1,334,241
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

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!

Aug 03, 2018 05:42 AM #27
Rainmaker
1,871,574
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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

Aug 03, 2018 07:46 AM #28
Rainmaker
2,707,001
Lisa Von Domek
Lisa Von Domek Team - Dallas, TX
....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless!

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!

Aug 03, 2018 07:17 PM #29
Rainmaker
1,871,574
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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!

Aug 04, 2018 03:40 AM #30
Ambassador
3,131,402
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

 

Hi Jay Markanich I am enjoying this post even though almost a year old. Love your list of things NOT to put in the disposal.

We miss you on AR. But knowing you, you are way too busy to be posting. Wishing you all the best. 

May 01, 2019 01:38 PM #31
Rainmaker
1,871,574
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thanks Margaret.  I try to post blogs that are informative and educational and find that very few people read them.  So I have slowed down to focus on business pursuits.  I have a post now and then.

May 01, 2019 01:44 PM #32
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Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
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