Clogged drains are a major inconvenience and garbage disposal repair can be a costly proposition. That is why it is important to know how to maintain a garbage disposal.
Not only does regular maintenance and cleaning keep your garbage disposal in good shape, it also keeps your kitchen smelling fresh and clean. Below are some of the ways to effectively maintain a garbage disposal in order to keep it working smoothly for years and minimize the likelihood that you will need to call for drain cleaning or plumbing services.
#1:: Keep An Eye On What You Put in the Garbage Disposal
Avoid putting anything in the garbage disposal that is not biodegradable food. Non-food items can damage both the motor and the blades. Other things to avoid include:
- Nails, glass, screws, children’s toys, utensils, hair, grease, plant or flower clippings
- Gritty or fibrous items like coffee grounds (especially in large quantity), potatoes, corn husks, artichokes husks, etc. Also avoid onion skins and egg shells since the membranes can easily stick to the garbage disposal and wrap around the shredder ring.
- Uncooked or liquid fat to prevent build-up on drain pipes. Throw bones, coffee grounds and eggshells into the trash instead of running them through the disposal to avoid clogged disposal.
#2:: Run Cold Water While the Disposal is on
In order to get the best out of your garbage disposal, you need to run the cold water tap for a few seconds before switching it on. This will ensure a good flow of water through the unit and it will help lubricate and cool it while it is operating. On the other hand, hot water may cause it to overheat and trip the cut-off switch which most disposals are fitted with.
Another reason not to use hot water while the unit is running is that it can melt fat and allow it to re-solidify as a blockage further down in the drain. Once you finish grinding, switch off the disposer but allow the water to run for about 5 to 10 seconds to make sure all the pulp has been washed down the drain.
#3:: Run Disposal Regularly
Even if there is nothing to grind up, you still need to turn on the water and run the disposal every few days to move the parts around. Frequent use ensures that all parts stay moving and prevents obstructions from accumulating. This is also similar to exercising your body to keep it in good shape. If you don’t, the disposal can rust, freeze up, or corrode and any leftover food inside can harden, leading to clogs and odors.
#4:: Run Your Disposal for Longer Whenever You Use It
This is another great tip on how to maintain a garbage disposal. But many people make the mistake of turning off the unit once the grinding noises stop. To remove small particles that have not been cleared away, it is important to leave the garbage disposer on (while water is running) for several seconds after the grinding noises subside. This will help clean out the unit and ensure nothing is left behind or clinging to the sides.
#5:: Clean Disposal Regularly
Food particles and other items can build up in the garbage disposal over time, causing it to smell and work less effectively. To get rid of this issue, you need to clean the unit thoroughly once a week or every 2 weeks. This will also help prevent blockages and jams.
Periodically, take orange or lemon and toss it into the disposal. The juice and oils from the fruits and peels naturally clean the walls inside the garbage disposal and create a fresh, long-lasting smell.
Even though they are normally self-cleaning, garbage disposals need a little love and attention from time to time. Just like any other machine, proper use, care and maintenance will extend the life of your garbage disposal. Be sure to follow the tips discussed above on how to maintain a garbage disposal so that you can get the best out of it.