Caring for Your Garbage Disposal: Dos and Don’ts for Longevity | APT

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Posted by Brian Shoemaker

At Advanced Plumbing Technology, we understand the importance of maintaining a smoothly running kitchen, and a crucial component of that is your garbage disposal unit. Your garbage disposal is your kitchen’s unsung hero, diligently grinding away food scraps and waste to keep your sink clean and functional. However, to ensure its longevity and optimal performance, it’s essential to follow a few simple yet effective dos and don’ts. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the best practices for caring for your garbage disposal, helping you avoid costly repairs and replacements down the line.

The Dos: Proactive Steps for Garbage Disposal Care

Regular Cleaning and Maintenance

Just like any other appliance, your garbage disposal benefits from regular cleaning and maintenance. One effective way to clean it is by pouring a mixture of vinegar and baking soda down the drain. Let it fizz for a few minutes before rinsing it off with cold water. This not only helps remove grease buildup but also tackles unpleasant odors.

Run Cold Water During Operation

Whenever you’re using the garbage disposal, always run cold water along with it. Cold water helps solidify grease and fats, making them easier for the disposal unit to break down. This practice also prevents overheating and ensures smooth functioning.

Cut Larger Items into Smaller Pieces

To prevent overloading the disposal unit, it’s advisable to cut larger food items into smaller pieces before tossing them down the drain. This reduces the strain on the blades and motor, ultimately extending the lifespan of your garbage disposal.

Use Citrus Peels for Freshness

Citrus peels, such as those from lemons or oranges, not only help in cleaning the disposal but also leave behind a pleasant, fresh scent. Drop a few peels into the disposal and run it to keep your kitchen smelling delightful.

Grind Hard Materials Occasionally

Grinding hard materials like small chicken bones or ice cubes can actually help clean the blades of your disposal unit. These materials act as natural scrubbers, removing debris and buildup from the surfaces.

Run the Disposal Regularly

Even if you don’t have food scraps to dispose of, it’s a good idea to run the garbage disposal periodically. This prevents rust and corrosion by keeping the parts moving and the motor lubricated.

The Don’ts: Practices to Avoid

Avoid Dumping Grease and Oil

One of the most important “don’ts” is to never pour grease, oil, or fats down the disposal. These substances can solidify and clog the unit, leading to a host of issues that can be both messy and expensive to fix.

Stay Away from Non-Food Items

Garbage disposals are designed specifically for food scraps, so it’s crucial to avoid tossing non-food items down the drain. Items like plastic, glass, paper, or metal can damage the blades and cause serious malfunctions.

Say No to Fibrous Foods

Fibrous foods like celery, onion skins, and artichokes should be kept away from the disposal. The fibers can get tangled around the blades, causing them to jam and potentially burning out the motor.

Avoid Chemical Drain Cleaners

While it might be tempting to use chemical drain cleaners to unclog your disposal, these harsh chemicals can damage the unit’s components and harm the environment. Opt for natural cleaning methods instead.

Don’t Overload the Disposal

To ensure smooth operation, avoid overloading the disposal with too many food scraps at once. Feed them in gradually, allowing the unit to break down the waste effectively.

Keep Starchy Foods Out

Starchy foods like pasta and rice can expand when they come into contact with water, leading to potential clogs within your pipes and disposal unit. Dispose of them in your regular trash.

Professional Maintenance and Repairs

While these dos and don’ts can go a long way in maintaining your garbage disposal, it’s important to remember that professional maintenance is equally essential. If you notice unusual noises, persistent odors, or decreased performance from your disposal unit, it’s time to call in the experts.

In conclusion, caring for your garbage disposal involves a combination of regular maintenance and responsible usage. By following the dos and avoiding the don’ts, you can extend the lifespan of your disposal unit, keep your kitchen smelling fresh, and save money on unnecessary repairs. Advanced Plumbing Technology wants you to remember, a little preventive care today can go a long way in ensuring the efficiency and longevity of your kitchen’s unsung hero – the garbage disposal.