Taking Care of Your Garbage Disposal

If you have a garbage disposal in your kitchen, you know that it is a great appliance that makes household duties less demanding. If the disposal is not operated correctly or maintained properly, a garbage disposal can easily break down, block and clog the drains and cause expensive repairs. Following are some tips on how to keep your garbage disposal working properly.

Garbage Disposal Do’s:

  • Do keep your garbage disposal clean. Pour a little dish soap inside and let the garbage disposal run for a minute or so with some cold water after washing dishes.
  • Do run your garbage disposal regularly. Frequent use prevents rust and corrosion and assures that all parts stay moving and prevents obstructions.
  • Do grind food waste with a strong flow of cold water. Why cold water? It will cause any grease or oils to solidify so they can be grinded up.
  • Do cut larger items into smaller pieces. Put them in the disposal one at a time instead of shoving several big items down at once.

What to Avoid Putting Down Your Garbage Disposal:

The best way to ensure your garbage disposal is working properly is by monitoring what food products you allow to go down the kitchen drain. Even though disposals are meant to remove excess food waste, there are certain items that can be harmful to the disposal and can create clogs or damage your blades. Some of these items include:

  • High fibrous or stringy foods such as celery and tough vegetables
  • Expandable rice or bread products
  • Egg shells
  • Animal bones and fat
  • Paper or plastic materials
  • Cooking oils or grease

What Causes a Smelly Garbage Disposal?

No body likes a smelly kitchen. If you are getting a smelly odor from the disposal, mold may be the culprit. If food waste is too large, they can either clog the drainpipe or become trapped in the moist dark environment a garbage disposal provides. This is a perfect area for unhealthy mold and bacteria to grow which causes these horribly smells.

By routinely cleaning your garbage disposal with the proper techniques, you can avoid such smells. There are many ways you can clean your disposal and remove odors. It is recommended that you avoid chemical drain cleaners since they can corrode and weaken the pipes. Some cleaning and odor removal tips include:

  • Baking soda and vinegar: The acidity from the baking soda and vinegar solution is great for killing bacteria, especially salmonella and e. coli. Pour the combination down the drain and let it fizz for about 15 minutes. Wash away the solution by running hot water down the drain for a few minutes.
  • You can also freeze vinegar in ice cube trays and run them down your disposal. This will keep your blades sharp while safely killing the odor-causing bacteria.
  • For stubborn odors, you can use a safe cleaning product such as Borax. Pour a few tablespoons of Borax down the drain and let it sit for an hour. Then rinse down the cleaner with hot water for a few minutes.

One Last Tip:

Ever put something down the disposal, turned on the water, hit the switch to turn on the disposal and nothing happens? Before calling a plumber, check to see if your disposal has a reset button. It is usually located under the bottom of the unit. Hold the button down until it clicks. Try turning the unit on, and with any luck that should do the trick.

If you are in need of a new garbage disposal or are having a problem with your existing one, give Plumbing Rehab a call or contact us online. One of our friendly plumbers can come out and get your kitchen running back to normal in no time.