The Right And Wrong Way To Maintain A Garbage Disposal

A garbage disposal is a very convenient kitchen appliance. Despite the word "garbage" being a part of its name, it should never be used as a substitute for a trash can. Failing to understand the do's and don'ts of using and cleaning this convenient appliance is the reason why so many garbage disposals break down and/or become clogged.  

Why Maintaining Your Garbage Disposal is Important

Not properly maintaining your garbage disposal leads to clogged drains, which is one of the more inconvenient plumbing problems. This is because it can prevent you from being able to use your kitchen sink at all. Clogged drains and garbage disposal repairs also lead to fairly expensive plumbing bills.

Fortunately, a lot of garbage disposal related problems are completely preventable; and the disposal itself isn't that hard to take care of.

Garbage Disposal Do's

  • Always keep your garbage disposal clean. Just pour dish soap and water into the disposal and let it run for a few minutes.  
  • Your garbage disposal needs to be turned on regularly. This prevents the blades from corroding. It also prevents small pieces of food from accumulating to the point of preventing the blades from being able to move.    
  • When grinding food waste, always leave the water running. This makes it easier for the blades to break up the food.  
  • Always use cold water when operating your garbage disposal. The cold water will solidify any oil or grease to prevent the drain from becoming clogged.  
  • The peels of citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, and limes can be ground up in the disposal to give it a refreshing smell.

Garbage Disposal Don'ts

  • If it isn't biodegradable food, it doesn't belong in the garbage disposal.
  • Never put grease or oil in the disposal.
  • Never put glass, plastic, metal, or paper in the disposal.
  • Never use hot water when operating the disposal.
  • Never grind food waste with lots of fibers such as celery, corn husks, or artichokes. The fibers can get tangled in the blade and jam up the disposal.
  • Never put food that can expand in water such as pasta or rice in the disposal. Even if you grind them up, they could expand and clog up your drain pipe.
  • Never dump harsh drain cleaners, bleach, or other chemicals down in the garbage disposal.

Properly Cleaning Your Garbage Disposal

Ice is an effective, cheap, and easy way to keep a garbage disposal clean. A few pieces just need to be tossed in and then the disposal should be turned on until the ice is chopped up and melted.

Aside from ice, borax is the next best thing for cleaning garbage disposals. It is all-natural cleaner and sanitizer that effectively eliminates odors too.

Never Use Your Hand

The last and most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to garbage disposals is that you should never put your hand in it. This is, of course, unless you do not want your hand anymore.

Even if you follow these tips and cleaning remedies, garbage disposals still stop working from time to time. You have to remember that the blades on your garbage disposal are sharp and trying to fix the problem on your own can be dangerous. It is always better to call a plumber