A garbage disposal is a great appliance to have. But contrary to popular belief, most waste should never go down your garbage disposal. Unfortunately, plumbing problems can be common, and your garbage disposal is no exception. Like any appliance, your garbage disposal needs routine cleaning and maintenance to function properly.
How You Can Make Your Garbage Disposal Last Longer
Your garbage disposal helps to prevent clogging by breaking down food waste into smaller pieces, but it can easily be overwhelmed with food, grime, or a lone spoon. Like anything, it can easily break down without proper maintenance, as it has several parts susceptible to damage. To ensure your kitchen drain is clog free, here are five simple ways to take it easy on your garbage disposal.
1. Mind what you put down your garbage disposal
A good rule of thumb is to avoid flushing down as much food waste as possible, as most foods are notoriously bad for your garbage disposal. Fats, oils, and greases harden with cold water and can easily cause a blockage inside your drain. Avoid starchy foods such as pasta or rice, as they soak up water and expand inside your pipes. Stringy fruits and vegetables can wear down the blades by wrapping themselves around the blades. Hard items that you can’t break down with your teeth, such as bones and seeds, should never go down your disposal either.
2. Clean it often
Being mindful of what you flush down the disposal is important, but so is routine cleaning. Frequently cleaning your garbage disposal helps to ensure the blades and drain are clear of any obstructing materials. One of the best cleaning methods is flushing the drain with vinegar and baking soda. Never use any cleaning chemicals such as bleach or a chemical drain cleaner, as they can help harden leftover grease and eat through your plumbing.
3. Grind waste thoroughly
Whatever does get flushed down the disposal should have adequate time for grinding. Make sure with every use that you run the disposal long enough to avoid any leftover food waste that can sit and cake over time. Flushing down ice cubes and citrus peels is a good way to maintain the blades.
4. Flush during and after use
Another easy trick to avoid clogging is by flushing enough water after every use. Make sure to flush some water down with the food waste when the disposal is in use to help push the waste down. Running water down the drain after using the disposal for a few seconds helps to ensure nothing remains on the blades or just inside the drain. It’s best to flush food down with cold water; it hardens the food waste, making it easier for the blades to break it down.
5. Turn off your disposal before any action
Garbage disposals can be a safety hazard, which is why you should always make sure it’s off before taking any action. Never stick your hand down the disposal. Use tongs or pliers if you need to pull something out.