Commercial Kitchen Disposals TLC Steps

A man washing dishes at a restaurant.

By Pat Finley – Master Certified Lead Technician    

Under the sink of nearly every food service operation, you will find a commercial kitchen garbage disposal unit in a variety of shapes and sizes. Invented by architect, John W. Hames in the late 1920s, the commercial kitchen industry began to adopt it a few years later. Today, they are a must-have for any food service establishment.

The first step in the dishwashing process in a commercial kitchen is to scrape food waste into the garbage disposal with a grinder, to be mixed with water and passed through the sink drain.  This step needs to be completed quickly and efficiently for the commercial kitchen to keep up with cleaning the dirty dishes.

For this reason, the garbage disposal unit plays an important role in your commercial kitchen. They are often forgotten about and abused until it is too late. They require minimum maintenance, but that doesn’t mean they can be ignored. Below, we step through a few tender-loving-care (TLC) steps that you and your staff can practice, to ensure your disposer can function properly.

  • Abnormal sounds are never a good thing. If you hear anything out of the ordinary, take a look. Look inside the opening, or throat of the unit, and visually look for anything that doesn’t belong.
  • Jams or a locked-up disposer. These scenarios can be caused by numerous things. The most common cause is a foreign object caught in it. If you suspect a jam, shut the power off to the unit and visually inspect the inside of it.
  • Water below the unit can mean a leak. Yes, we know this is a dish room and there is water everywhere, but keep an eye out for drips or water coming out of the unit. These are sealed units and if it is leaking, it can cause permanent damage to the motor and surrounding area.
  • Overloading the disposer. They are not meant to be garbage cans. They are in the system to catch any waste that is stuck on a plate or dish. Dishes should be properly scraped off, into a trash bin. This will help prevent clogs in the plumbing, overloading the disposer, and possible jams.
  • Ensure the water source for the unit is on. They are not designed to run without water going through them. Some utilize water injected into the throat, into the bowl to create a swirling action, or into a trough to push debris into the opening.

If your disposer is having issues or not running at all, please reach out to your local General Parts Group location or call us at 1-888-498-1238. We offer service on all major brands, as well as sales and installations for your new disposer.