Garbage Disposals: Unsung Hero of the Modern Kitchen

What’s that smell? Uh, oh – somebody didn’t take out the kitchen garbage. We tend to notice this problem even more, now that the kitchen has evolved to become the center of activity and the heart of the home. One of the most efficient ways to keep your kitchen an inviting place to be is to reduce the amount of organic material that you throw away.

It’s why an in-sink kitchen garbage disposal is no longer a convenient luxury. It’s a necessity. If you don’t have one, it’s time to have one installed. If you’ve got one and don’t use it much, it’s time to look into ways to make it more efficient.

Oh, the familiar smell of kitchen garbage

Have you ever pondered this mystery? Most folks have varied tastes. You don’t cook the same thing every day, and yet you know the kitchen garbage needs to be taken out because…there’s a familiar smell. What’s up with that?

The food scraps you toss begin to decompose as soon as there’s nothing to suppress the process – meaning they’re not being refrigerated or frozen. Microorganisms begin breaking down the food scraps, which release chemicals and gasses. These chemicals and gasses are common to most foods. So, your kitchen garbage has begun to mix up a standard recipe of things such as ammonia, trimethylamine, methanethiol, and hydrogen sulfide.

These last two – methanethiol and hydrogen sulfide – are sulfur-based compounds. They’re usually the first to show up and smell the worst, and the most familiar. Other compounds created or released by food scraps are likely nitrogen-based compounds that can take longer to develop.

Garbage disposal to the rescue!

Our kitchens owe a debt of gratitude to John W. Hammes, who received a patent for his in-sink garbage disposal invention in 1935. He began to sell the new device as the InSinkErator in 1938. He and his sons sold 52 of them that year.

The ability to grind up food waste and send it safely down the kitchen drain was a game changer. It helped to make this most popular place in the house to hang out a more pleasant experience because, well, it’s a convenient and sanitary way to get rid of food scraps that otherwise quickly stink up the place. It’s also a powerful way to reduce unnecessary landfill waste.

Even garbage disposals have limits

A garbage disposal is a better way to get rid of food waste or scraps because it’s better for our environment and it helps reduce kitchen odors. That is…until your garbage disposal starts making a stink of its own. This usually happens because not every type of food scrap should be sent down the garbage disposal. Let’s focus on what should stay out of it.

  • It’s never a good idea to discard grease or extremely greasy foods in the garbage disposal.
  • Skip the coffee grounds. They already reduce to a dense sticky mess in the filter, so imagine what they can do further down your drain after you grind them up even finer.
  • Pass on sending the dried outside onion skins down your garbage disposal if you can. It’s easy for them to miss being ground up by the blades, and they might get wedged further down in the drain.
  • You’ll husk corn, you’ll scrape out the seeds plus the stringy parts out of a squash, you’ll chop off the tough ends of celery or rhubarb, and you’ll peel away outer artichoke leaves. These fibrous parts can be unappetizing for your garbage disposal, as well.

It’s time to make a kitchen garbage disposal a welcome member of the family. We can install one for you, and we can also troubleshoot your garbage disposal if you’ve shied away from using it because it’s making strange noises or worse – using it stinks up the kitchen! Schedule a time for us to help you make the garbage disposal your new hero.

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