How To Maintain A Garbage Disposal

garbage disposal maintenanceYour garbage disposal is a major convenience that people often don’t appreciate until it breaks, leaving them with clogged sinks and having to dispose of leftover food remains the old fashioned way. Just like all appliances, garbage disposals have parts that can wear out or become damaged by improper use.

Fortunately, you can help to decrease the likelihood of your garbage disposal breaking by following a few simple tips:

1. Don’t use the disposal as a garbage can. A disposer is made for one thing – breaking food waste into smaller pieces. It is not a trash can and shouldn’t be used to process any other types of waste, including cigarette butts, tissues, coffee filters, hair or flower stems, under any circumstances.

2. Be choosy about what you process. Hard foods like animal bones and the pits and stones out of fruits can cause garbage disposals to jam, leading to excessive wear and tear. Fibrous foods that can become caught on the blades should also not be dropped into the disposal. This includes foods like egg shells, banana peels and cornhusks. You should also never pour cooking oil or grease in the disposal as this can lead to clogs in the plumbing. Most types of waste that is unsafe for the garbage disposal can be composted instead of thrown into the trash.

3. Check the disposal before turning it on. Before you switch on the disposer, look around the sink and inside of the drain. Be sure that there is nothing that could fall in and damage the blades, such as silverware, measuring spoons or other cooking utensils.

4. Run your disposal frequently. If you allow food to sit in the garbage disposal, any acids that they contain could corrode or eat away at the metal components. As a result, you should always run the disposal after you have dropped food inside, even if it’s only a small amount of scraps.

5. Never run the garbage disposal dry. You should always have the water running when the disposer is engaged, and cold water is best to use at all times. Turn the water on before you switch on the disposal and allow it to run for 30 seconds to one minute after you’ve turned it off to help flush out any solid debris that remains behind.

6. Keep things clean. About once every two weeks, you should clean your garbage disposal. This can be done with a ready-made soap designed specifically for garbage disposal cleaning or with a homemade mix of vinegar and baking soda. If odors develop between cleanings, you can eliminate them by running orange or lemon peels through the disposal.

Above all, be sure to thoroughly read the owner’s manual for your garbage disposal and follow all of the manufacturer’s directions for taking care of the appliance. If scheduled maintenance or inspections are recommended, be sure to schedule them as needed. Remember, that the time and money spent to protect and care for your garbage disposal could not only save you money in the long run, but can also help to ensure that your disposal runs properly for a long time to come.