It’s tempting to run your garbage disposal like you run your wood chipper — stuffing in everything you want gone, flipping the switch and letting the machine take care of the work. Sadly, as most Gainesville plumbers will attest, this is the best way to wear it out before its time. So we’ve put together some helpful tips on what to do and not to do so you can ensure your garbage disposal works great for a long time.
Garbage Disposal Dos
- Use plenty of water. Running plenty of water down the disposal before, during, and after helps to keep everything moving and flowing like it should. Your garbage disposal works best with a lot of water to run through, so make sure it has plenty to work with.
- Keep the water running. Once you’ve finished disposing of food waste, allow water to run down the drain for a few moments. This will help wash everything through and lessen the opportunity for clogs.
- Put as much food debris as you can into your garbage or compost. While the disposal is a useful device, it is not primarily meant to grind up and wash down food waste – it is to ensure that any food bits that do get into the drain are made as small as possible. But it is not a food processor, so don’t rely on it as if it were.
- Run it at least once a day. If you can turn on the motor at least once a day, it ensures no small food particles are lodged and can start to smell bad.
Garbage Disposal Don’ts
- Don’t intentionally put food debris down your garbage disposal, especially expandable foods such as rice or pasta. The quantity can wear out the motor and the expansion can cause bits to bloat inside in the mechanism or inside the pipes, causing blockages.
- Be especially cautious of starchy foods, such as potato peelings, potato chunks, flour, oatmeal and more. These should go in the trash and not down the garbage disposal because they all contain sticky starches that can stick to the blades and gum up the works.
- Don’t allow kitchen grease, bone fragments, fruit pits, or non-food items such as plastic or metal to move through your garbage disposal. Items such as these can dull or break the blades, leading to costly repairs.
Cleaning Your Garbage Disposal
Keeping your disposal clean and odor-free is easy if you do it as it you go instead of waiting until there’s a problem. Grinding two cups of ice and one cup of rock salt on occasion will keep things flowing, so will grinding up ice cubes made from white vinegar. Shaking baking soda or borax down the drain can help, too. For annoying odors, grind a few citrus peels on occasion.
If you are having an issue with your garbage disposal or any other residential plumbing concern, please feel free to reach out to us. J.W. Freeman Plumbing has served Gainesville and its surrounding communities since 2008 and we’ve built our reputation on superior service, the highest quality work, and outstanding ethics. In fact, we’ve won the Angie’s List Super Service Award five years in a row.