Garbage Disposal Usage Tips

Garbage disposals tend to fail without any warning. Once the electric motor stops working, it’s time to replace the unit. In the meantime, you can maximize your garbage disposal’s life by following these tips for proper usage.

Use Cold Water

You’re probably already aware that the water should be running the entire time the garbage disposal is on. Running water will flush any ground-up material through the pipes and out to the street or septic system. What you might not be aware of is that you should never use hot water. Hot water will melt fat, which will then solidify further down the line. Coldwater also helps keep the motor, bearings, and shredder from overheating.

Dispose of Appropriate Material Only

You should always first consult your owner’s manual to see what material should and should not be put down the disposal. There’s a difference of opinion as to whether the small chicken or fish bones should be placed in the disposal. The owner’s manual will have the answer. (Of course, large steak bones should never go down the disposal.)

The following items should not be placed in the garbage disposal: shrimp shells, crab shells, shellfish, un-popped popcorn kernels, hard bones, banana peels, celery, potato peelings, corn cobs, artichokes, coffee grounds, fruit pits, onion skins, eggshells, rice, pasta, grease, or garbage (such as rubber bands, glass, screws, etc.).

With the above in mind, here’s a step-by-step rundown of how you should be using the garbage disposal:

  1. Turn on the cold water.
  2. Turn on the garbage disposal.
  3. Feed-in the material gradually.
  4. Turn off the garbage disposal.
  5. Let the cold water continue to run for a few seconds.
  6. Turn off the cold water.

Assuming you follow these tips, what kind of lifespan should you expect from garbage disposal? It depends—it’s difficult to determine because of the wide range of quality from product to product. There are very small, low horsepower units and large, high horsepower stainless steel models. Obviously, a more powerful unit is better equipped to handle the job while also experiencing less stress.

Is bigger always better? It’s really determined on a case-by-case basis. A more powerful system will probably be a better investment in the long run. However, there are some situations where larger units will not fit the area based on the configuration of the sink. We would have to take a look and make an informed recommendation.

What if the garbage disposal gets clogged? On the occasion where you get a blockage, we have the tools to clear it effectively. That’s probably your best option. You can also try to put your hand down the disposal to clear the blockage, but for safety reasons, you must first make sure that the disposal is switched off and unplugged.

It’s also a good idea to occasionally put ice cubes down the garbage disposal. Some people think that this will sharpen the shredders—that’s simply not true. However, it will knock free any food that may have accumulated on the blades. Some people even suggest making ice cubes from lemon juice or vinegar. Another option is tossing orange peels, citrus rinds, or orange slices down the disposal. It will have a similar effect to the ice cubes along with the benefit of the citrus scent.

If your garbage disposal needs attention from a qualified professional, give us a call today or contact us online.