Garbage Disposal Do’s and Don’ts

Thursday, November 28th, 2019

A garbage disposal has become one of the most popular and convenient kitchen appliances.  And, with proper care, they can last trouble free for many years. But, there are a few things you need to know to get maximum life, proper performance from your disposal, and to avoid plumbing problems. First, a garbage disposal is not meant to consume anything and everything you can fit into your drain. Like any piece of equipment, it has limitations.

Garbage Disposal Do’s

Follow these recommendations to get the best use out of your disposal and prevent issues.

Read the Manual

Be sure to read your owner’s instructions pages. If you don’t have them anymore, you can often find them at the manufacturer’s website customer support section. 

Keep It Cool

Before you put anything in your garbage disposal, have a stream of cold water running.  This keeps the motor from overheating and helps keep it from clogging up. It also helps to keep fats from clinging onto your plumbing, which can cause a clog or blockage. 

If you do not use your disposal very often it is good to still, about once a week, run cool water and turn it on for about two minutes to keep it clean and in good working order. After you are done putting things into your garbage disposal, keep it and the cool water running for at least 30 seconds. This allows the garbage disposal to be cleared and for food bits to run well down the drain. 

clogged kitchen sink repair

Avoid Pouring Fat Down the Drain

Before rinsing pots, pans, or dishes that contain fatty foods, let them cool completely so that the fat forms into a solid. Then, scrape the fat out and throw it into the trash rather than into your garbage disposal. This helps keep it from getting gummed up, keeps your drain pipes clear, and avoids the cause of smelly drains. 

Sharpen your garbage disposal blades

You can sharpen the cutters simply by throwing in a few ice cubes while it is running. 

Keep it Fresh

You can freshen up your sink drain by throwing in bits of orange or lemon peel.  You can also freeze some white vinegar in ice cube strays. Throw the cubes in to sharpen the blades and deodorize your garbage disposal in one step.  

Garbage Disposal Don’ts

Now that you know some easy ways to keep your garbage disposal running smoothly, here are a few tips on what you should not do.

Safety First

Never put your hand into a running garbage disposal!  This may seem like common sense, but some people have to be told.  If you drop something unwanted into it, turn it off quickly, then probe around for it with a pair of tongs.

Don’t Use Hot Water 

Do not use warm or hot water when running your garbage disposal.  Always use cold to keep fats from melting and sticking to your pipes.   

Avoid Disposing These Things

Do not put plastics, metals, or large bones into your garbage disposal.  Steak bones in particular can cause damage to the blades and motors. 

broken garbage disposal food clogged kitchen sink repair

Avoid putting egg shells, muscle or oyster shells, shrimp shells, and fibrous materials like corn husks, artichokes, rice, etc. in your kitchen sink.  They are hard on your disposal and tend to clog your drains. 

Don’t Leave a Mess

Do not leave food scraps in your disposal to be ground up later.  Acids in the food, particularly tomato based products, can cause corrosion

Turn It Off in a Jam

If something jams your garbage disposal, immediately turn off the power switch. Using a flashlight and a pair of tongs, see if you can grab and remove the item.  If not, there is usually something like an allen screw on the bottom of the disposal. You can use an allen wrench to move the motor back and forth to free up the jam. Then look for the item again with your tongs.  If the motor does not start, the reset system may have tripped. Make sure your power switch is turned off, then push the reset button on the motor back in. Then, try turning it on again. If that doesn’t fix it, check the circuit breaker in your house electrical panel box.  If all else fails, your local plumber is ready to come to your rescue. 

Need to Fix a Broken Disposal?

overflowing kitchen sink clogged drain repair plumber

With nearly two decades of experience, Cole’s Plumbing is professionally qualified to install and troubleshoot your garbage disposal if it is not working.  We have the right equipment, tools, and experience to do the job right – at an affordable price. Call us at (806) 367-5159 to discuss how we can help you feel certain about your new garbage disposal choice, installation, and service of your existing unit.