June, 2012 – Garbage Disposal Do’s and Don’ts
Garbage Disposal Do’s and Don’ts
By Jathy Garcia, Your Plumber in a Skirt
If you have a garbage disposal in your kitchen, you know that it’s a great appliance that makes household duties less demanding. But if not operated or maintained properly, a garbage disposal can easily break down, block and clog the drains and cause a long list of expensive plumbing and drain nightmares.
The most important rule of thumb: Don’t Put Anything In The Garbage Disposal That Is Not Biodegradable Food. A garbage disposal is not a trash can; it’s for food scraps only. Non food items can damage both blades and the motor. When in doubt, throw it out!
Garbage Disposal Don’ts . . .
- Don’t grind glass, plastic, metal or even paper.
- Don’t grind cigarette butts
- Don’t pour grease, oil or fat into your garbage disposal or drain. Grease will slowly accumulate and impede your garbage disposal’s grinding ability as well as clog drains.
- Don’t use hot water when grinding food waste. Hot water will cause grease to liquefy and accumulate, causing drains to clog.
- Don’t grind extremely fibrous material like corn husks, celery stalks, onion skins, and artichokes. Fibers from these can tangle and jam the garbage disposal motor and block drains .
- Don’t turn off the motor or water until grinding is completed. When grinding is complete, turn off the garbage disposal first. Let water continue to run for at least 15 seconds, flushing out any remaining particles. Then turn off water.
- Don’t put large amounts of food down the garbage disposal. Feed food into the garbage disposal a little at a time with the cold water running; this will help the food scraps flow down freely through the drain pipes and plumbing.
- Don’t put expandable foods into your garbage disposal. Foods like pasta and rice expand when you add water in a pot; they do the same thing once inside your pipes or garbage disposal and are the cause of many jams and clogs.
- Don’t grind large animal bones (beef, pork etc.).
- Avoid putting coffee grounds down the garbage disposal. Although they’ll actually help eliminate odors, they can accumulate in drains and pipes, causing clogs. Best to avoid.
- Don’t use harsh chemicals like bleach or drain cleaners. They can damage blades and pipes. Borax is a natural sink cleaner and sanitizer that effectively works on odor-causing mold and mildew that accumulates in garbage disposals.
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, assures that all parts stay moving and prevents obstructions from accumulating.
- Do grind food waste w/ a strong flow of cold water. Why cold water? It will cause any grease or oils that may get into the unit to solidify, so that they can be chopped up before reaching the trap.
- Do grind peelings from citrus fruits such as lemons or oranges to freshen up drain smells.
Keep Your Garbage Disposal Running, Problem-Free
Ice is an extremely effective and inexpensive method for cleaning your garbage disposal, sharpening the blades and breaking up any grease build-up which has accumulated. Just toss a few ice cubes into the garbage disposal and run it. As the garbage disposal chops into the ice cubes, the ice chips will effectively scour all the hard to reach areas of the unit, and melt down the drain. Try this once or twice a month to keep your garbage disposal in fine working order.
Treat your garbage disposal well, and it will treat you well, in return. We have described the mistakes you should avoid and the actions you should take in order to keep your garbage disposal working smoothly for many years and minimize the likelihood that you’ll need to call for plumbing or drain cleaning services.
When all else fails, call your Plumbing Pro!
These are general maintenance tips and simple remedies for minor problems. If you try these solutions and they don’t work or if your problem seems to be getting worse, contact Hi-Tech Plumbing immediately.
We have the tools and know-how to address all your plumbing needs.
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