A garbage disposal is the smallest appliance that causes the biggest hassle…when it stops working. Is garbage disposal maintenance necessary? Do you know the correct way to treat and/or maintain your disposal? Did you know if your garbage disposal stops spinning that it can most likely be fixed with a tool from your local hardware store that costs less than $10?
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 Don’ts:
- Don’t turn the water or garbage disposal off until grinding has finished. Then, turn the garbage disposal off and let the water run for 15-30 seconds before turning water off.
- Don’t use harsh chemicals, such as bleach or drain cleaners.
- Remember, your garbage disposal is not a trashcan; use it only for food scraps and never feed it too quickly.
- Never put your hand or utensils down the disposal! If you need to remove something, shut off the electrical power switch first, located underneath the garbage disposal itself. If you can’t find the switch, turn off the disposal at the main breaker box.
Garbage Disposal Do’s:
- Grind food waste with a strong flow of cold water (it helps solidify any grease or oil).
- After you turn off the garbage disposal, rinse with hot water for 15-30 seconds.
- Cut large items into smaller pieces and feed them in one at a time rather than all at once.
- Run your garbage disposal frequently to avoid rust and corrosion.
- If you have to remove anything from your garbage disposal unit, make sure it is turned off at the source, by either flipping the switch underneath your unit or turning it off from the breaker box.
NEVER Put These Items down the Garbage Disposal:
- Glass, metal, plastic, or paper (including cigarette butts, fruit stickers, string ties, etc.).
- Grease, oil, or fat (including meat fat and cheese). Put your grease in a metal or glass container and either save it for reuse or throw it out in the trash.
- Stringy, fibrous, or starchy vegetables (celery, corn husks, artichokes, onion skins, potato skins, banana peels, etc… small amounts are probably fine, but it’s best to avoid these tough vegetables).
- Pasta or rice (foods that expand when water is added).
- Hard stuff (bones, pits, and seeds).
- Coffee grounds or eggshells (they create very tiny granular waste that will stick to any sludge in the pipe and quickly create a clog).
How to Clean and Deodorize Your Garbage Disposal:
Ice and Citrus: If there is an unfavorable smell emanating from your disposal, use a handful of ice cubes and a citrus wedge or two to help clean and deodorize the disposal. The ice helps remove gunk from the walls and blades of your unit, while the citrus wedge serves as a wonderful natural freshener.
Baking Soda and Vinegar: Another method for cleaning and deodorizing your disposal unit is to sprinkle in some baking soda and rinse it down with a cup of vinegar. After allowing your mixture to sit and bubble for about 5 minutes, run hot water down the disposal until everything is thoroughly rinsed.
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