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Tips for Maintaining Your Garbage Disposal Unit

A garbage disposal unit is a device usually located beneath the sink that grates food waste to have it easily pass through plumbing fixtures. A garbage disposal also serves as a great tool keeping the odors of garbage out of your kitchen and trash cans.

It is important to maintain your garbage disposal unit by regular check-ups. Also to prevent its breakdown it would be wise not to put certain substances down the unit. Usually the garbage disposals start acting out during holiday seasons, because a lot of food leftovers and grease go down the drain. This happens because the drain line that is serving the kitchen sink gets clogged and when it does, it backs up through the garbage disposal unit. Sometimes the old garbage disposal is the reason of such a plumbing nuisance, but often the substances or objects put into the system cause such problems.

Keep the following tips in mind in order to make your garbage disposal operate to the maximum efficiency:

  1. Keep COLD water running before, during, and after you use your garbage disposal unit. The water lubricates the whole system, letting it operate correctly. Cold water prevents the motor, bearings and shredder from overheating. The waste goes down easier due to the water pushing it down. Hot water won’t be a good choice, because it melts fat, allowing it to solidify again and turn into a clog further down the drain.
  2. Do NOT put fibrous or starchy things in the disposal – both might cause serious drain blockages (fibers get tangled, and starches get thick).The following items should be put in the disposal in minimal quantities, cut into small pieces or better thrown into a garbage can. They are:
    • Banana peels
    • Celery
    • Potato Peelings
    • Corn cobs
    • Artichokes
    • Unpopped popcorn kernels
    • Hard shells from shrimp, crab, or other shellfish
    • Bones
    • Coffee grounds and filters
    • Fruit pits and hard seed from things like avocados or peaches
    • Onion skins (the thin membranes wrap around the shredder ring)
    • Egg shells
    • Grease (the main cause of clogs)
    • Pasta or rice
    • Trash
  3. If you smell unpleasant odors seeping out of your garbage disposal, some of the following items will help neutralize and remove odors. Among them are:
    • Ice & Salt (or Vinegar)
    • Citrus fruits
    • Baking Soda

    These items won’t just neutralize smells but will deodorize the garbage disposal, disinfect the blades and disposal walls.

  4. Some products or things will get stuck in your garbage disposal occasionally, but it is important for you and your family to remember – never put your hand or any other body part into a garbage disposal unit. It is not safe! It does not matter whether the unit is turned on or turned off. If something gets stuck in your garbage disposal, always use some long handled tool for removing the items and make sure that the system is off. Although, in this case it would be best to call a professional plumber.
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