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garbage disposal leaking
25 Aug

Understanding the Do’s and Don’ts of Proper Garbage Disposal Use

Your garbage disposal is an amazing kitchen tool.  It helps dispose leftover dinner scraps while keeping your kitchen free of any bad odors or smells.  More importantly, it prevents food garbage from ending up in our landfills.  If you fail to care for it or use it improperly, it will stop working and make your kitchen smell like decayed or rotten food.  At Anytime Plumbing, we don’t want you to suffer with a smelly kitchen, so we have answered several questions about the do’s and don’ts for your garbage disposal below.

What is the most important rule to remember when it comes to using your garbage disposal?

The first and most important rule to remember when operating your garbage disposal is NEVER put any food item in it that isn’t biodegradable.  This is often the biggest mistake people make.  Your garbage disposal isn’t a trash can.  It was designed to grind up and dispose of food scraps ONLY!  The fastest way to damage its blades and motor is by putting non-food items in it.  So, if you’re in doubt, just throw it out and be done with it.  This means DO NOT GRIND anything combustible, cigarette butts, glass, metal, paper, or plastic in your garbage disposal.

What food scraps shouldn’t be put in your garbage disposal?

It’s okay to rinse your dinner plate and put most food scraps in your garbage disposal, provided they’re not fibrous foods.  Fibrous or hard foods will damage your disposal and hinder its operation.  Another one of the more important do’s and don’ts for your garbage disposal is to avoid putting bones, popcorn kernels, or seeds in it.  Additionally, celery stalks, corn husks, egg shells, and onions can jam the blades if they get wrapped around them.

Does it matter whether you use cold or hot water when operating your garbage disposal?

Another one of the do’s and don’ts for your garbage disposal – NEVER run hot water when operating it.  Use only cold water and plenty of it.  Keep the cold water running up to 20 seconds once the motor is making a soft whirring noise.  The noise indicates that the disposal has finished grinding up the food that was in it.  Furthermore, Anytime Plumbing recommends allowing the water to run for another 20 seconds because this ensures that any remaining bits of food are flushed out of the appliance and through the pipes.

Are there any other food items that you should be cautious about putting in the garbage disposal?

We cannot emphasize how important it is to follow the above do’s and don’ts for your garbage disposal.  However, we can provide some additional information regarding certain types of food not mentioned above.  Don’t pour fat, grease, or used cooking oil into your disposal.  These will accumulate inside the appliance and hinder its operation.  Plus, it will eventually clog your drain.  Other foods to avoid:

  • Coffee grounds – although this helps to eliminate odors and won’t harm the disposal, they will cause clogs by accumulating in the drain and pipes.
  • Expandable foods – pasta and rice expand in a pot of water and will do the same thing in your garbage disposal and pipes.
  • Potato peels – the starch in these turns into a thick paste and causes the disposal’s blades to stick.

As the plumbing specialists of Santa Cruz County, Anytime Plumbing is always ready to answer any of your questions regarding the care and maintenance of your garbage disposal.  Obviously, being a mechanical device, you will eventually need to replace it.  Though we always try to repair it first but if the damage is more, oftentimes, it is best to replace it. However, the above information and some preventative maintenance will help to extend your garbage disposals lifespan. Our team of experts is available to help you get the needed repairs done, while we only replace the damaged parts with branded parts with warranties.

How do you prevent and/or remove that nasty smell coming from your garbage disposal?

The following are some more natural methods that we recommend when caring for and cleaning your garbage disposal.  Not only will these methods protect the environment, they’re very cost-effective as well:

  • Cut up a lemon or orange and put it into the garbage disposal to clean the inside walls and leave it smelling nice.
  • Freeze vinegar into ice cubes and run them through the disposal to kill odor-causing bacteria and sharpen the blades.
  • Pour baking soda into the disposal and flush it through to remove stubborn odors.

Repairing the garbage disposal is not a DIY job but requires the skill of the experts. If you are looking to get a new one installed or the current disposal repaired, call us today.

To learn more about the do’s and don’ts for your garbage disposal, contact Anytime Plumbing today.

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