Kitchen garbage disposals play an essential role in getting rid of discarded peels, expired food, and leftovers. However, it’s quite unfortunate that most homeowners rarely give a second thought to their disposal systems until something goes wrong.
When your garbage disposal system isn’t functioning, decaying foodstuffs will remain in the appliance, making your kitchen or even your entire house stink. In most cases, these issues are avoidable if you take care of your unit and use it properly.
By applying the eight garbage disposal system tips below, you can avoid unnecessary repairs and keep your unit running smoothly.
1. Run Your Garbage Disposal Unit Regularly
Even if you’re not grinding and disposing of any food scraps, it’s in your best interest to regularly run cold water through your unit. This keeps the blades on the inside from rusting due to lack of use. Doing this also washes out any food substances that might have stuck on the unit’s sides previously.
Failure to do this every few days can freeze up your appliance, leaving food remains inside to harden, which can cause clogs and bad odors. Running your garbage disposal device regularly is sort of like exercising your body to stay fit; if you put in the effort, you’ll see good results.
2. Don’t Send Hard, Fibrous, or Starchy Leftovers Down the Drain
Whenever you’re using your garbage disposal system, you should avoid putting in things that can interfere with its smooth flow. Although it may seem like your unit can handle anything, dropping the wrong things into it can lead to clogs, bad smells, and ultimately a broken unit. Some of the things that are better off in your compost pile or trash rather than down your garbage disposal include:
- Fat, grease, and oil
- Pasta, rice, and oats
- Coffee grounds
- Broken glass or metal
While your appliance can handle semi-solid or liquid fat, oil, and grease, the rest of your kitchen’s plumbing system can’t. Instead, throw the fatty leftovers out with your trash.
Your garbage disposal unit may break fatty substances and grease into small pieces. However, this won’t solve the problem with oil substances. The small pieces can pile up, forming a tough clog down the drain. Additionally, both fat and liquid oil can clump together and accumulate down in your pipes. Over time, this sludge can build up to a point where it blocks the pipe’s opening.
Although they’re small and easily breakable, pasta, rice, and oats can cause damage when they get into your appliance. This is because they continue to swell when in contact with water, even after cooking. You should consider tossing them in the compost pile unless you’re ready to risk a clog.
Coffee grounds may seem fairly safe when dealing with your garbage disposal system. However, they’re among the worst substances that you could never put down your drain. Coffee grounds can build up and form sludge, which creates a clog. Rather than throwing them into the trash, you can use them in your garden or compost.
3. Clean Your Garbage Disposal Unit Every Two Weeks
To clean your disposal unit, fill it with ice cubes and rock salt, and then leave it to run for a minute. With this precaution, the natural abrasives will scrape away the grease lining inside your disposal system. You can also pour a half-cup of baking soda and vinegar to kill bacteria.
However, you need to check the manufacturer’s recommendations before you start cleaning your appliance. Some of the advanced garbage disposal models lack blades, so they use different techniques to grind food particles. In these instances, using traditional cleaning methods such as citrus fruits and ice cubes won’t be effective.
4. Use Cold Water
Anytime you’re using your garbage disposal, ensure that you pour in plenty of cold water while the system is chopping your food wastes. Don’t be tempted to use hot water while grinding. Hot water works best for cleaning many different things in your home, but when it comes to cleaning your garbage disposal, warmer temperatures can affect the grinding process by melting the food remains. This allows the waste to stick on the sides and clogs the entire unit.
On the other hand, cold water will harden the food remains, making it easier for your disposal to push the waste down the drain pipe. Cold water also keeps the bearings, shredder assembly, and motor from overheating.
5. Run Your Garbage Disposal Longer
When the disposal device is done grinding up the waste, it’s always best to keep water running through it for a minute longer. This way, you’ll rest easy knowing that all the leftovers have been flushed out, thus preventing debris from clogging it up.
To be on the safe side, you can also run a small amount of dish soap and cold water down the drain. This helps remove any remaining stuck on the sides of your device.
6. Cut Waste Into Smaller Pieces
Your garbage disposal isn’t that big, and its motor and blades are built to match. Therefore, you shouldn’t expect any miracle to happen when chopping up large chunks of fruit, vegetable, or meat.
One of the best ways of ensuring your system runs smoothly for years to come is by cutting waste into smaller pieces before putting it into your disposal system. Otherwise, you might overwork your unit and clog it or, even worse, cause it to break down.
7. Don’t Use Your Fingers to Remove Items From the Garbage Disposal Unit
First things first, it’s essential always to be cautious when retrieving anything from the disposal unit. Before dipping a tool down there, turn off the power to the disposal and the water supply.
When you want to retrieve a metallic object, you can tie a string around a magnet and lower it slowly into the sink. For non-metallic items, you can use a flashlight to locate them. Should you see anything, try getting it out with pliers, tongs, or a wooden spoon. Either way, avoid sticking your fingers down there.
8. Grind Citrus Fruit
In addition to using soap and cold water to keep your appliance clean, you can toss in a peel from a lime, a lemon, or an orange. These citrus rinds can help keep your disposal fresh, and they will also remove any waste that may have remained at the disposal. Through this, you’ll eliminate unpleasant odors and get rid of bacteria.
Contact the Plumbing Professionals
When searching for a dedicated, highly skilled, and professional plumber in Anaheim, look no further than HomeX Plumbing & Rooter. We’ve been providing top-quality garbage disposal services since 2018. No matter the problem with your plumbing system, our competent and experienced plumbers can get the job done correctly and on time.
We’ve been highly rated on Angie’s List because of our reliable and top-class services and received accreditations from the BBB. From slab leak services to drain cleaning to water heater replacement, we can help. Contact HomeX Plumbing & Rooter today if you’re having questions or issues with your garbage disposal.