Your garbage disposal can be your best friend or your worst enemy. When it’s working, it’s a fantastic way to keep your drains unclogged and get rid of food waste without throwing it into the trash. When it’s not working, however, it can be a serious problem. Clogged or backed up garbage disposals are never fun to deal with. You can potentially eliminate a call to the plumber, however, by keeping your garbage disposal in great shape with these tips:
The most critical part of owning a garbage disposal and using it properly is to keep water running before, during and after you use it. Why? The water keeps the whole system lubricated, allowing it to work properly. When you don’t run water, you risk overloading the system or burning out the motor. Make sure you keep water going throughout the whole process to save yourself a lot of heartache (and a call to a plumber) down the road. The water you use should be cold – warm water melts fat and could cause a clog in the future.
Pasta, eggshells, rice and fat. They’re PERFectly bad for your garbage disposal. Pasta and rice are awful for the same reason – they expand in water. Imagine, you’re running water down the garbage disposal to help eliminate the food, but the starches in these foods are slowly expanding, potentially causing a blockage down the road. Fat should also be kept out of your disposal, since it can cause clogs. Eggshells, on the other hand, can stick to the walls of the garbage disposal.
Of course, these foods are in addition to the hundreds of non-food items that you shouldn’t put down your garbage disposal. Things like cigarette butts and paper napkins should always go in the trash.
If you’re not sure if a particular chemical is garbage disposal-safe, then don’t use it in your disposal. Certain chemicals will strip blades of their coating, wreck the interior of your disposal or even cause rust. Until you’re sure if something it okay for your disposal, don’t use it.
Any time you’re using your garbage disposal, make sure you put the food bits in slowly and steadily. If you try to get speedy or put too much in at once, you could cause the garbage disposal to become clogged. Take your time and ensure that each bit of food is getting ground up before adding more.
Just like your drains, your garbage disposal should be cleaned and maintained regularly. You can use a bit of dish soap down the drain with a rinse of cold water every month or so. You may also wish to consider grinding ice with the peels from some citrus fruits. The ice sharpens the blades while the citrus peels help disinfect the disposal. Plus, it’ll smell great afterward!
In truly bad situations, a plumber may be able to help you with your clogged garbage disposal. Sometimes in spite of your best maintenance, the garbage disposal backs up or the motor stops working. Make sure you call a professional plumbing service – because garbage disposals combine water and electricity, there’s potential for harm if you try to deal with it yourself.