Garbage disposals make life a lot easier, but if you don't use them and care for them properly, they are prone to breakdowns and can even cause issues with your plumbing. Be nice to your garbage disposal and it will keep being nice to you. Follow these five rules for caring for and using your disposal.
Don't grind anything fibrous or overly hard.
Fibrous food items, like citrus peels and potato peels, have no business going down the garbage disposal. These items can work their way into shreds, which may wind around the blades of the garbage disposal and cause it to seize. Also avoid putting super-hard foods, like nut shells and meat bones, down the disposal. These put a lot of wear and tear on the blades and may cause them to need premature replacement.
Keep the water running while you're grinding.
Turn the cold water on and let it run while you're using the disposal. This will keep items moving through the disposal and into the pipes so you don't get a clog. Let the water run for a few seconds after you're done grinding for good measure.
Remember to clean the disposal.
Little bits of grease and gunk will get stuck on the disposal blades, leading to odors and poor function. Luckily, it's easy to take care of this problem. Just clean your garbage disposal every week. Dump a box of baking soda down there, let it sit for a minute, and then turn the disposal and cold water on. Put a handful of ice down the disposal. The crunchy ice will loosen anything that's stuck onto the blades, and the baking soda removes odors.
Don't put anything greasy down the disposal.
The rule "don't put grease down the drain" is not negated by having a garbage disposal. Grease will still clog your pipes. Greasy food should also not be put down the disposal, since it can harden and cause clogs. Scrape greasy foods off of plates rather than sending it down the disposal.
Use your garbage disposal regularly.
You might think you're "saving" your garbage disposal by only using it occasionally, but this is actually doing more harm than good. When your garbage disposal sits unused, corrosion and rust have the chance to develop. Using it regularly will keep things moving and prevent corrosion development.
If you notice any problems with your garbage disposal or the associated plumbing, contact a plumber, such as those at Action Plumbing & Heating, for repairs sooner rather than later. Most problems that start off minor will become far worse if you don't address them promptly.