You rely on your garbage disposal each and every day to grind up small food particles when washing your dishes. However, issues with the disposal can be a real headache. Avoid the necessity for repairs by keeping the disposal clean and well maintained. Here are some tips for maintaining your garbage disposal.
Know What Not to Put Down the Disposal
One of the best things you can do for your garbage disposal is keep certain items out of it. Some dense food items not only don't grind up well in the disposal and cause drain blockages, but they can actually cause permanent damage to the garbage disposal, ultimately requiring a replacement. Dense and fibrous foods like egg shells, potato skins, hard fruit peels, and any types of kernels or seeds should never go down the drain. Don't try to grind up celery, onion skin, or corn husks either. You also don't want to put any oil or grease down the drain, since it coats the sides of the drain, which causes blockages later on. When putting food items in the garbage disposal, make sure they are cut up into small pieces.
Clean the Disposal Regularly
The garbage disposal also needs to be cleaned and refreshed on a regular basis, which is something many people forget to do. You know it is time to clean the garbage disposal when it starts to smell every time you turn it on or run water down the drain. Never put your hands down into the drain when you are cleaning the garbage disposal unless it is unplugged first. Even if it is turned off, you never want to take this risk. Instead, clean it by putting some small pieces of lemons into the drain and turn on the disposal while running warm water.
If there is more cleaning to be done aside from just improving the smell, pour a little baking soda into the drain, followed by white distilled vinegar. Let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse it down with warm water while running the disposal.
Run it on a Regular Basis
The garbage disposal should be turned on every day, even if you don't really need it. If you have a day where you are eating take-out instead of cooking, at least run the disposal with just water. This allows it to keep moving the disposal parts and prevent rust. Remember any time you run it that you use warm water. Cold water is fine as well, but it won't clean and disinfect the disposal. Never use hot water with the garbage disposal.
If you are having problems with your garbage disposal, contact a plumber to inspect it. It might need to be replaced or get repairs.