Preventative Maintenance for Your Garbage Disposal

Anyone who’s had their garbage disposal break down knows the hassle that this small appliance causes when it stops working. Often this happens when people don’t understand the correct way to use it. Here are some basic dos and don’ts that will help you keep your garbage disposal clean and in good condition and save you money on repairs or replacements.

Garbage Disposal Dos:

  • Use cold water. Keep a steady flow of cold water during and after every use. Keep the flow going for approximately 15 seconds after grinding has ceased to ensure that the food washes through. Hot water can cause fat to conceal and stick to the blades and interior. Also, cold water helps keep the unit from overheating.
  • Clean with ice. Occasionally put a small amount of ice into the garbage disposal and run it to keep the unit clean. Make sure you put the rubber stopper over the opening before you run it to keep ice pieces from flying out.
  • Clean with de-greaser. Use a disposal cleaner or generic de-greaser occasionally to keep fat from building up. This will help with the unit’s efficiency and eliminate odors.
  • Clear the drain. It’s good to have the drainage pipe snaked approximately once every two years to prevent clogs and keep the sink draining smoothly.
  • Use citrus as a freshener. You can grind up citrus peels from lemons, limes, oranges, etc. to keep the disposal smelling fresh. The natural acid also hinders bacterial growth.

Garbage Disposal Don’ts:

  • Avoid hot water during grinding. It’s perfectly fine to run hot water in your sink after you’re done using the garbage disposal, but always use cold water during the grinding process. As stated above, hot water can make fats congeal and stick to the blades and interior of the unit.
  • Don’t run grease, fat, pasta or fibrous waste through. These materials will clog the drain. Dispose of them through solid waste channels. This includes tough plant fibers such as celery and potato skins. Pasta is notorious for clogging garbage disposals.
  • Don’t fill the disposal. If you have a lot of food waste to grind up, make sure you do it gradually. If you cram the disposal full, don’t be surprised if it can’t handle the load.
  • Don’t use harsh cleaning chemicals. These can cause harm to you, the plumbing system, and the environment as they flow through.
  • Only grind food. Don’t expect the garbage disposal to be able to handle paper towels, rags, plastic, or other non-edible materials.

Hopefully these tips help you keep your garbage disposal smelling fresh and running smoothly. By taking care of your appliance, you can keep it running more efficiently and extend its lifespan.