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Learning Garbage Disposal Do’s and Don’ts


Garbage disposals do a great job of grinding down food waste and saving space in the trash can, but when used incorrectly, they can become a huge plumbing hassle. Follow these tips from David Gray to help avoid clogs and other potentially problematic consequences.

DO: Keep your garbage disposal clean

Taking the proper measures to keep your garbage disposal clean not only helps you avoid unpleasant odors, but also ensures the blades stay effective in breaking down food. Grind a small amount of coffee grounds to freshen up the blades. Citrus fruits are also powerful cleaners and deodorizers for your garbage disposal: pour a bit of lemon juice in your disposal as it runs to freshen up the smell. Actual lemon or orange peels have the same effect and will not damage your drain. If nothing else, toss a few ice cubes into your disposal every so often to help clear any buildup on the blades.

DO: Run the disposal frequently

One of the secrets to keeping your garbage disposal in good shape is simply to use it - and use it often! Running your garbage disposal regularly prevents rust and corrosion. It also prevents obstructions from hardening and accumulating. Another handy tip: Each time you use your disposal, keep the water running for an extra 15-30 seconds to flush out any remaining food particles. Additionally, it's important to remember that not all garbage disposals are created equal. Make sure you're using your appliance correctly. Take a look at the manufacturer's instructions for tips on proper usage and care.

DON'T: Drop the wrong items down the drain

There are plenty of "forbidden" items that should never go down your garbage disposal. Don't ever put anything in the garbage disposal that is not biodegradable food. A garbage disposal is not a trash can - it's for food scraps only. Non-organic items can damage both blades and the motor, so when in doubt, throw it out! Certain food items can also be problematic, such as eggshells, which easily adhere to the disposal blades and keep them from working properly. Foods with fibrous textures or stringy parts (such as potatoes, lettuce, onion skins and celery) can also get caught on the blades. Finally, even "soft" foods like rice and pasta can cause issues down the line. They expand as they absorb water, often leading to clogs as they travel down your pipes.

DON'T: Use corrosive chemicals

Harsh chemical cleaners, such as bleach or drain clearing solutions, can corrode your pipes and cause significant damage to your plumbing. Luckily, there are plenty of gentle - but effective - ways to clear off your garbage disposal. Cold water and dish soap is the best combination for your disposal. Why cold water? While hot water dissolves grease and thicker substances, it may also push substances farther down the pipe, where the substance will harden again once it cools down - thus, creating a clog. Cold water, however, helps grease to solidify and move more easily down the drain along with wastewater.

Following these tips should help you easily maintain your garbage disposal, but if you run into trouble David Gray is always ready to save the day for plumbing issues at your home or office. Call (904) 605-8190 for more information.