Maintaining your garbage disposal can greatly maximize its life and lower your plumbing repair bills. Perform these easy maintenance tips periodically, and you should have no problem meeting or exceeding your garbage disposal’s average life span of 10 to 12 years.
Only Put Certain Items Down the Disposal
Your garbage disposal has sharp blades and can grind up food remnants, but it’s not invincible, and you can help by cutting larger food scraps into smaller pieces.
Avoid food items that block the blades or create a sludge that clogs the drainage holes. Thin pieces of food, such as potato peels, onion skin, or eggshells, can collect underneath blades and cause clogs. To keep your garbage disposal working, avoid putting these things down the drain:
- Oils and grease that could solidify further down the pipes and cause a difficult clog
- Ground coffee and other fine substances that form a dense, drain-clogging paste
- Large amounts of dry items such as pasta or rice that swell when wet and block the blades and drain
- Hard foods such as bones, fruit pits, or nuts that jam the blades or can’t be easily chopped
Run Your Disposal Using Cold Water
You might think using hot water would dissolve grease and oil and ease it down the drain. Unfortunately, hot water also causes the liquid grease and oil to collect. When the water cools, fats and oils solidify into a mass that blocks the drain and lets nothing through.
Use cold water while running the disposal, so any grease stays solid, gets chopped up, and can flow down the drain with other food particles without collecting.
Clean and Freshen With Citrus Peels, Ice, and Dish Soap
Instead of using toxic or damaging drain cleaners, use safer household items to clean your garbage disposal. Add orange or lemon peels to your disposal and enjoy the fresh, clean scent as the disposal grinds them up. This method can also remove any built-up sludge on the blades.
Run cold water and some dish soap down the disposal drain to help wash down food remnants so they don’t smell. Periodically, add ice cubes down the drain and run the disposal to sharpen the blades and keep them in good working order.
Use the Reset Button and Hand-Crank to Clear the Blades
For a clogged disposal or non-turning blades, clear blockages and maintain a clear, open drain using an Allen wrench and resetting your unit.
Look for the slot on your disposal, then use the Allen wrench to hand-crank the blades. Move them back and forth until you feel the clogged items or blockage free up.
Use tongs or long-nose pliers to dislodge stuck food items. If your garbage disposal has problems, it can trip the reset button and turn the disposal off to prevent the motor from burning out. Press the reset button, then try running the disposal again.
When Your Garbage Disposal Needs Maintenance, Call a Professional
When your garbage disposal doesn’t work, it’s harder to clean up after mealtimes, and rotting food sits in the drain, stinking up the kitchen. If your disposal is clogged or you don’t know how to maintain it, there is a professional solution.
Our licensed plumbers at A Better Plumber will come to your home in Denver, CO and the surrounding cities to give you a free estimate, maintain your disposal, and clear up any issues. We fully warranty our work, so don’t wait—call us today!