A garbage disposal can be one of the handiest features to have in your kitchen. It’s a convenient way to get rid of food scraps immediately. There are five basic habits you need to adapt to keep it running consistently.
1. Watch What You Put Down the Drain
While your garbage disposal can lower the number of times you have to take out the trash, it doesn’t handle everything. Only food scraps should be put down the disposal. Even some food, however, is not good for it.
You should avoid shoving extremely greasy food or meat bones down the drain. Try to avoid dumping rice, pasta or other items that expand in water. Even if your disposal has a powerful motor, these things can clog it or make it run less efficiently.
2. Use Disposal Properly
The blades on your garbage disposal are powerful, but there’s no need to make it work harder than necessary. If a piece of food is bigger than you would put in your food processor, you probably need to chop it into smaller pieces before putting it down the sink.
Running cold water while the motor is running is a good idea. It helps keep the motor from overheating. It also helps wash the pulverized scraps, as well as any oil or grease, down the drain more easily.
3. Keep Disposal Clean
You should clean your garbage disposal every time you use it. Regular cleaning is pretty simple. Just squirt some dish detergent down the sink, turn on the water, flip the switch, and let it clean itself. This removes residual oils.
It’s also smart to keep your blade sharp and the drain fresh. Grinding a few handfuls of ice cubes several times a month keeps the blades sharp. If you have citrus peels, chop them into small pieces and grind them in the disposal to clean and deodorize.
One thing you should avoid when cleaning your disposal is chemical drain cleaner. Most commercial drain cleaners are too harsh and can damage the mechanism.
4. Troubleshoot Small Issues
Occasionally, your garbage disposal may get clogged or stop working. If this happens, there are a couple of things you can check to fix it. Make sure you stay safe by unplugging it before putting your hand near the blades.
When items get stuck, the disposal may not crank itself. You can use a hex key to hand-crank it at the base. This can break up most clogs.
Check the reset key if the unit isn’t getting any power. Sometimes all you need to do is reset it, and that fixes the problem.
5. Consult the Professionals
When you have exhausted the quick fixes, it’s time to call the professionals who specialize in garbage disposal repair. They can assess the problem and recommend solutions beyond what you are able to do yourself.
A garbage disposal is a nice convenience to have in your kitchen. With regular cleaning and proper maintenance you can make it last longer. Keeping it in good working order ensures that you get the best use out of it.