If Your Garbage Disposal Could Talk

Whoever invented the garbage disposal was a genius, am I right? It simplifies our lives and provides an easy way to dispose of food scraps. The problem is, not everything should be put down a garbage disposal. If a garbage disposal isn’t used properly, the chances are pretty good that it will break down or maybe even clog the drains, leading to the added cost of replacing or repairing the unit and any related pipes/plumbing.

Here’s a short list 1 of items that should never be put down a garbage disposal (for the full article, see footnote below):

  1. Bones
  2. Celery
  3. Coffee Grounds
  4. Egg Shells
  5. Fruit Pits
  6. Grease
  7. Pasta / Rice
  8. Potato Peels (and other starchy fruits, vegetables or beans)

Fibrous foods like banana skins, broccoli, celery, corn husks and (and potato peels) can easily get tangled around the blades of your disposal and bring it to a stop. NEVER put your hand down the disposal. Be sure the power switch is in the “off” position before doing any inspection work on your disposal. Use pliers or tongs to remove any clogged material. NEVER use bleach or drain cleaner to unclog the disposal.

The proper way to operate the unit takes just a few steps:

  1. Run cold water, and keep it running as you turn on the disposal. Never use hot water. Hot water prevents grease and oils from solidifying and therefore, are not “choppable”; if grease accumulates, drains may eventually clog. It’s okay to run hot water down the drain, as long as the disposal is not running.
  2. Feed the disposal small amounts at a time, be sure to keep utensils out of the drain.
  3. As soon as the food has cleared the disposal, turn the unit off and let the water run a little longer to flush the pipe, then turn the water off.

To clean the unit, you can use equal parts white vinegar and baking soda, then flush with boiling water. You can also release a sink full of hot water and dish soap into the disposal to clean it, as long as there are no food scraps going down the drain as well. To remove bad smells, make vinegar ice cubes and put a few down the disposal once a week.

Knowing what to feed your garbage disposal and save you time and money by reducing the amount of stress being placed on the unit. For more information on proper care of a garbage disposal and several other areas of your house that need periodic maintenance, please visit our spring cleaning checklist blog.

Got garbage disposal issues? With a quick inspection, we can tell you what kind of shape the unit is in, make a recommendation for a new one if needed, and even do the removal and installation! Contact us today to schedule an appointment.