You probably take your garbage disposal for granted. After all, under normal circumstances, it comes to life with the flick of a switch and makes quick work of your kitchen waste. But your garbage disposal needs regular care to keep it running smoothly. Follow these tips for routine care of your garbage disposal.
Keep the Water Running
It is important to turn on the cold water and keep it running when you use your garbage disposal. While your disposal blades do the hard work of grinding waste, they can’t get rid of it on their own. Cold water flushes the bits of food from the blades and carries them down the drain. Don’t use hot water as this can liquefy traces of grease and carry it down the drain where it will cling to the plumbing when it hardens again.
Clean Your Disposal
Keeping your garbage disposal clean and fresh eliminates odors in the kitchen and prolongs the life of your garbage disposal. Throw a handful of ice cubes down the disposal and grind them to bits once a month to remove food particles from the blades and help sharpen them too. If odor is a problem, grind up a lemon or other citrus. Likewise, you can add a few drops of dish detergent to the drain and allow the blades to work up a lather or pour baking soda and vinegar down the drain to eliminate odors.
Foods to Avoid Putting in the Garbage Disposal
Sticky or Starchy Foods: It may surprise you to learn that potato peelings are a common cause of clogs in the garbage disposal. When ground, the starch in the peelings forms a thick paste that clings to the inside of the disposal. This is also true of banana peels. Foods containing flour, like those scraps of leftover dough are also a no-no for the disposal.
Grease and Fats: While nearly everyone knows that pouring fat or grease in any drain can spell trouble, you may not realize that this applies to all fatty foods. Sauces and gravies that contain high amounts of fat can also clog the drain. That applies to scraps of cheese or that leftover cheese sauce, too.
Fibrous Foods: Many fruits and veggies have fibrous skins that can become entangled in the blades of your garbage disposal. The most common are corn husks and celery, but it applies to rhubarb and other fresh produce, too. If the peels or food scraps are stringy or fibrous, avoid placing them in the garbage disposal.
Pasta, Rice, Beans and Expandable Foods: Rice and pasta pose a double risk as they tend to be starchy and sticky and they also expand when they come in contact with water. Other foods, like dried beans or whole grains also tend to expand in water. That means they can easily form a clog that will not budge no matter how much water you run down the drain.
Bones and Hard Objects: While small bones can be safely put down the disposal, large or heavy bones cannot. Likewise, hard objects like fruit pits may damage the blades of the disposal.
Routine care keeps your garbage disposal in good running order, but sometimes you may need a little help. If your disposal suddenly acts up just before a big celebration, don’t suffer through the event alone. We provide 24-hour emergency service and can get your disposal up and running in no time.