Your garbage disposal can be one of the most convenient appliances in your home. They can help you quickly get rid of leftover food scraps and citrus peels. They can even keep your kitchen smelling fresh and reduce the amount of food waste you send to the landfill. Check out our tips below on how to care for your garbage disposal so it stays in good working condition.


8 Tips for Caring for Your Disposal

1. Always use running water.

When you turn on your disposal, you should already have cold water running steadily. This helps food particles to flow through the disposal, into the trap, and down the pipes without getting caught and sticking to the moving parts causing problems later on. Wait until the motor stops grinding to turn off the appliance — this means all the food particles have been ground up. Keep the water running for just a few moments longer to carry away any remaining waste and completely flush out the pipes.

2. Stay away from warm water.

You should always do your best to avoid putting any greases or fats down your disposal, but if any find their way down the drain anyway, hot water will liquefy them, causing them to adhere to and build up on the garbage disposal blades. Cold water helps to reduce the chance of that, extending the life of your appliance. It will also keep bits of food like rice and pasta from expanding and clogging the machine.

3. Stay away from tough food.

Your sink disposal is designed for food that can easily grind into small bits. But it’s no match for fibrous foods like onion skins, celery stalks, and eggshells or hard foods such as seeds, kernels, and bones. It may break these foods into smaller pieces, but they then wedge under the blades and block up the appliance. The fibrous food will wrap around the blades causing a jam. 

To keep these foods from accidentally dropping into the drain, try using a sink stopper.

4. Do not use it on actual garbage.

Despite its name, your garbage disposal is not for literal garbage. You should never deposit items like metal, plastic, paper, or wood into the appliance.

5. Remember to clean the garbage disposal frequently.

A sludge-like film will naturally build up on the inside of the blade over time. If you’re unsure how to clean the garbage disposal, it’s not difficult. Rather than using harsh chemicals, try pouring in a cup of baking soda followed by a cup of vinegar. This gives you the same bacteria-eliminating, chemical reaction as harsher cleaners without damaging your device. 

In between the baking soda and vinegar cleanings, you can grind up ice cubes combined with rock salt. You can also use a bottle brush once a week to scrub down the inside of the appliance. Many people try grinding lemon in the garbage disposal, but you should be careful when doing this as the peel can get stuck in the blades.

6. Remember to use the disposal frequently as well.

Even if you don’t have food scraps to dispose of, remember to run your unit every couple of days. Regular use keeps rust and corrosion at bay.

7. Don’t forget about the reset button.

If you notice that your disposal is acting strangely, the reset button on the bottom of the unit may have tripped. Check to see if it’s popped out  — if it has, press it back into place and see if that does the trick.

8. Never put your hands in the disposal.

Sometimes things get dropped down the drain accidentally. Rather than use your hands to retrieve it, unplug the unit and try using pliers or a similar object to grab the item. If you can’t get it, call your local plumber — they can recover it for you.


When Your Disposal has a Problem, Find the Best Plumber in Cleveland

No matter how much you clean and maintain your garbage disposal, sometimes problems occur. When that happens, call Killeen Plumbing for your residential plumbing needs. We can help you with a variety of plumbing problems including disposal issues, drain cleaning, and grease trap problems. Contact our team when your garbage disposal needs a helping hand!