Plumbing Repairs: 5 Tips For Maintaining Your Garbage Disposal

Garbage Disposal Maintenance

Garbage disposals have become increasingly popular kitchen appliances. In fact, more than 50% of all American households have a garbage disposal.  They have the ability to grind up kitchen waste in a hygienic and mess-free way by grinding up waste and sending it down through the drain and into a septic tank or sewage treatment plant.

The garbage disposal is not equipped to handle everything that goes down your drain, however. It’s not uncommon for a poorly maintained unit to give off unpleasant odors or not grind food waste properly which can result in costly plumbing repairs. If this is happening to you, consider changing how you use and maintain your garbage disposal.  In this post you will learn 5 quick and easy tips for maintaining and repairing a broken or clogged garbage disposal. 

Tip 1: Avoid items that are hard, fibrous, or starchy.

Think carefully before you put food or objects down your disposal. Objects that are too hard will damage the shredder, making it dull and reducing its efficiency. Hard objects can also jam other parts of the disposal. Foods that should never be put in the garbage disposal include:

Grease & Oil: These oils are not easily digestible by your disposal. The grease can also slime up the disposal. If you cannot avoid it, be sure to run cold water at the same time.

Pasta & Rice: The starch from pasta can wrap around the blades and cause them to stop working.

Potato Skins: Potato skins can turn into a gummy glue like substance and clog up pipes.

Egg Shells: The jury is out on this one as some homeowners haven’t experienced problems, but avoid it when possible.

If you’re unsure, you can reference your instruction manual where there is likely a list of substances and objects that should be avoided for your particular garbage disposal brand and model.

Tip 2: Garbage belongs in the trashcan.

Your garbage disposal is not meant to accommodate all of the waste you accumulate. Many items belong in your trash can, not in your garbage disposal! For example, twist ties; rubber bands, utensils, bottle caps, and fabric are all objects that should never be put down the garbage disposal.

Tip 3: Reduce the size of the food.

Large items will be difficult for your garbage disposal to handle. To maintain your garbage disposal and keep it functioning efficiently, cut large pieces of food into smaller pieces. Individually place them in the disposal to avoid a clog or other damage. If you have a significant amount of pieces to cut, consider your alternatives, such as a compost or trash can.

Tip 4: Run cold water when running the disposal.

If your disposal is on, you should be running cold water. Keep the water running for at least 30 to 60 seconds after the waste you are disposing of has cleared through the drain. Since the waste travels quite a distance, it is important to run the cold water as a way to avoid overheating the motor, bearings, or shredder. The water also helps push the waste down the disposal. Why cold water and not hot water? Hot water can melt certain types of food waste, causing a blockage in your drain.

Tip 5: Clean your disposal regularly.

If your food waste does not seem to be grinded properly, it is helpful to put ice cubes down the disposal every so often. Doing so will help eliminate buildup on sharp edges and make sure food waste is being grinded correctly. When using ice cubes, remember to run cold water at the same time.

Bonus Tip: If the smell of your disposal is unpleasant, try putting orange peels or other citrus rinds down the disposal to keep it fresh. As mentioned previously in this post, remember to cut them into slices or small pieces first to avoid a jam in your disposal.

It can also beneficial to take off the disposal and clean the rubber in the sink that leads to the disposal. Simply wiping it with a paper towel will keep it clean and prevent odors from developing.

If you have additional questions about your garbage disposal or are in need of plumbing repair, contact us today.

Benjamin Franklin Plumbing Twin Cities is the best in the business. Our plumbers have the necessary experience to guarantee your satisfaction with every plumbing repair job. The Punctual Plumbers strive to provide the highest level of competence, unsurpassed honesty, integrity, and consideration with every service call.

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