Garbage Disposal Do’s and Dont’s

A garbage disposal under a kitchen sink

Many homeowners don’t think about the care and maintenance of their garbage disposal too often. However, this appliance is a major workhorse! A little bit of care can go a long way toward keeping it working well for years to come. Here are a few do’s and don’ts that make taking care of your garbage disposal simple.

Do Always use cold water when running the disposal. Coldwater causes oils to harden and break apart before heading to the trap.
Don’t. Use hot water when running the disposal. Hot water softens greasy residue, allowing it to stick to blades and gears, gunking up the unit.

Do Run the disposal frequently, for at least a minute with cold water. This prevents obstructions and keeps the blades from rusting.
Don’t Wait until debris has collected enough to stop water from draining before running the disposal. This puts extra stress on the motor and shortens the life of the unit.

Do Use a soapy bottle brush to scrub inside the drain while the unit is turned off. Then remove brush and run the disposal for one minute with a good stream of cold water. Don’t Stick your hands or other objects into the drain with the disposal, even when it is turned off! Safety first!

Do Remember and teach children that garbage disposal is NOT a garbage can. Don’t put anything in the disposal that is not biodegradable food! Plastic, foil, cigarette butts, food wraps, disposable utensils, and broken glass should never be put in the disposal!

Do Grind up small pieces of citrus like oranges, limes, and lemons to combat odors in the disposal. Don’t Grind up stringy, starchy or fibrous food waste like corn husks, potato peels, celery, banana peel or other skins from fruits and veggies that can tangle up in the blades.

Do Grind ice cubes to sharpen blades and scour off hardened greases. Or for extra odor control, freeze vinegar into ice cubes to also kill bacteria while grinding. Don’t forget to check periodically for leaks under the sink near the unit, and call your plumbing expert if you notice anything unusual to prevent a small problem from becoming a big and costly repair.

Some simple maintenance steps done on a fairly regular basis are all that is needed to keep your garbage disposal running and grinding like new. Paying attention to what goes down the drain and preventing items that belong in the garbage can from going into the garbage disposal extend the lifespan of this kitchen workhorse.