Top 5 Tips for Keeping Your Garbage Disposal Running Smoothly

A garbage disposal is a vital kitchen appliance that makes household chores easier by efficiently dealing with food waste. However, like any mechanical device, it requires proper use and regular maintenance to keep it running smoothly. Neglecting the health of your garbage disposal can lead to clogs, unpleasant odors, and potentially costly repairs. 

Flow Pro Plumbing offers essential tips that will not only enhance the performance of your garbage disposal but also extend its lifespan. By following these simple maintenance strategies, you can ensure that your garbage disposal continues to function effectively, supporting a cleaner and more efficient kitchen environment. Keep reading to discover our top tips for keeping your garbage disposal in excellent condition.

Understand What Not to Dispose

The first rule in maintaining a healthy garbage disposal is knowing what should not be put down it. Despite its name, garbage disposal is not equipped to handle all types of kitchen waste. Avoid disposing of non-biodegradable and fibrous materials, as these can dull the blades, clog the drain, and strain the motor. Items to keep out of your disposal include:

  • Grease and cooking oils, which solidify and accumulate, causing blockages
  • Fibrous vegetables like celery and onion skins, which can entangle the disposal’s blades
  • Large bones or pits that can damage the grinding mechanism
  • Coffee grounds and eggshells, often mistakenly thought safe, but can accumulate and cause sediment build-up

By being selective about what goes into your disposal, you can prevent mechanical issues and maintain optimal functionality.

Regular Cleaning Routine

Keeping your garbage disposal clean is not only about maintaining hygiene but also about ensuring operational efficiency. Routine cleaning prevents the build-up of odors and residue, which can contribute to clogs and inefficiency. Here’s how to clean your garbage disposal effectively:

  • Routine Flushing: After each use, run cold water through the disposal for about 20 seconds to help flush out any remaining particles.
  • Deep Cleaning with Natural Cleaners: Using harsh chemical cleaners can corrode and damage the disposal’s internal components. Instead, opt for a combination of vinegar and baking soda. Pour half a cup of baking soda into the disposal followed by a cup of white or apple cider vinegar. Let the mixture fizz for a few minutes before flushing it down with hot water.
  • Ice Cubes and Salt: Occasionally, run ice cubes and salt through the disposal. The ice helps to sharpen the blades, while the salt acts as an abrasive to clean the grinding elements.

Incorporating these simple cleaning steps into your routine keeps your disposal running smoothly and smelling fresh.

Proper Operation Techniques

Employing correct operating techniques can prevent damage and extend the life of your garbage disposal. Here are some essential operational tips:

  • Gradual Grinding: Do not overload the disposal with too much waste at once. Instead, feed waste gradually to allow the disposal to grind effectively and prevent clogging.
  • Use Cold Water: Always use cold water when running the disposal. Cold water solidifies any grease or oils, making them easier to grind and flush away, whereas hot water can melt fats, allowing them to coat and clog the disposal and pipes.
  • Run Regularly: Even if you don’t have much to dispose of, run the disposal regularly with cold water to prevent rust and corrosion and ensure all parts stay moving and functional.

Following these operational practices will help maintain the mechanical integrity of your garbage disposal.

Handle with Care

Garbage disposals are robust appliances but they are not invincible. Handle them with care and attention to detail:

  • Handle Jams Carefully: If your disposal becomes jammed, turn it off at the power source before attempting to clear the blockage. Use a plunger or a disposal wrench, which is often included when you purchase a garbage disposal. Never insert your hand into the disposal.
  • Reset Overloads: If your disposal stops working, it may have tripped its built-in overload protection. Look for a reset button usually located at the bottom of the unit. Press this button after addressing any jams and wait a few minutes before testing the unit.
  • Professional Tune-ups: Schedule regular check-ups with a professional plumbing service. They can handle deeper issues, such as sharpening blades, tightening connections, and ensuring the motor is running efficiently.

Proper handling can prevent severe damages and costly repairs, thus avoiding the need for premature replacement of the unit.

Educate Everyone in the Home

Ensure that everyone in your home knows how to use and maintain the garbage disposal. Misuse often occurs when household members are not aware of what can and can’t be disposed of, or don’t understand the importance of routine maintenance. Providing clear guidelines and educating family members about correct usage helps avoid misuse and extends the appliance’s lifespan.

Ensure Longevity with Expert Support

Implementing these tips will significantly improve the performance and extend the lifespan of your garbage disposal. Regular maintenance, careful use, and immediate attention to any operational issues are key to a smoothly running kitchen appliance. However, even with the best practices, unexpected problems can arise that require professional expertise.

If you encounter a challenging issue with your garbage disposal or if it’s time for a professional tune-up, look no further than Flow Pro Plumbing. Our skilled plumbers in Brentwood, CA, are ready to assist you with any plumbing needs, ensuring that your appliances and fixtures function optimally. Contact us today to schedule a service, and let’s help you maintain a stress-free and efficient household with reliable plumbing support whenever you need it!