The Complete Guide to Garbage Disposal Do’s & Don’ts

Plumbing Services Newark DE garbage disposal Welcome to your ultimate guide on garbage disposals. Whether you’re a seasoned user or a newbie, understanding the dos and don’ts of this essential kitchen appliance can save you time, money, and a lot of frustration.

At Boulden Brothers, we know the importance of a well-functioning garbage disposal. Our expert team is here to share tips and tricks to keep your unit running smoothly. So, let’s dive in and explore everything you need to know about garbage disposals.

What is a Garbage Disposal and How Does it Work?

A garbage disposal is a device installed under your kitchen sink that grinds food waste into small particles, making it easier to wash away through the plumbing system. When you flip the switch, a spinning disc (or impeller plate) within the unit rotates rapidly, pushing food waste against a stationary grind ring. The grind ring breaks the waste down into fine particles that can easily flow through your plumbing.

This handy appliance helps keep your kitchen clean and minimizes the amount of food waste that ends up in landfills. Understanding how it works can help you appreciate its role in your kitchen and maintain it properly.

Why are Garbage Disposals Important?

Garbage disposals offer several benefits that make them a must-have in modern kitchens. Here’s why they matter:

  1. Reduces Waste: By grinding food scraps, garbage disposals significantly reduce the volume of waste that ends up in landfills.
  2. Prevents Odors: They help prevent the buildup of food waste in your trash, which can cause unpleasant smells.
  3. Enhances Hygiene: Less food waste in your trash means fewer opportunities for pests and bacteria to thrive.
  4. Convenient Cleanup: They make cleaning up after meals faster and easier by disposing of food scraps quickly.

How to Use a Garbage Disposal Correctly

garbage disposal sinkUsing a garbage disposal correctly can prolong its life and maintain its efficiency. Here’s a quick guide to ensure you’re using your disposal the right way:

  1. Start with Cold Water: Always turn on cold water before starting the disposal. Cold water helps solidify any grease or fat, making it easier for the blades to chop them up.
  2. Turn On the Disposal: Switch on the disposal before adding food waste. This helps prevent the unit from getting jammed.
  3. Add Food Gradually: Feed small amounts of food waste into the disposal at a time. Avoid overloading the disposal to prevent clogs and strain on the motor.
  4. Keep Water Running: Continue to run cold water while the disposal is grinding the food waste. This helps flush the waste through the plumbing system.
  5. Let it Run: Allow the disposal to run for a few seconds after the food waste has been ground. This ensures all particles are flushed away.
  6. Turn Off the Disposal: Switch off the disposal first, then turn off the water after a few more seconds to ensure all debris is washed away.
  7. Clean Regularly: Periodically clean the disposal with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar or use ice cubes to sharpen the blades and remove buildup.

By following these steps, you can keep your garbage disposal in top working condition and avoid common issues.

What Can I Put Down a Garbage Disposal?

Garbage disposals are incredibly convenient, but knowing what you can safely put down them is crucial to maintaining their performance. While it’s impossible to list every single item, here are some general guidelines for everyday food waste that can go into the disposal:

Soft Foods: Items like leftover vegetables, fruit peels, and small pieces of cooked meat are generally safe. Soft foods break down easily and won’t strain the motor or blades.

Citrus Rinds: Orange and lemon peels can help clean and freshen your disposal. The natural oils also combat unpleasant odors.

Small Bones: Small chicken and fish bones are usually fine in moderation. They help clean the blades and grind ring. However, avoid putting in too many at once to prevent jamming.

Leftover Cooked Food: Small amounts of leftover food like pasta, rice, and potatoes can be disposed of, but ensure they’re in tiny pieces and run plenty of cold water to help wash them down.

Ice Cubes: Running ice cubes through your disposal can help clean the blades and remove buildup. It’s a simple, effective way to maintain your unit.

What Not to Put Down a Garbage Disposal

Understanding what not to put down your garbage disposal is just as important as knowing what can go in. Some items can damage the unit or cause serious clogs. Here’s a detailed look at what to avoid:

Fibrous Foods: Vegetables like celery, asparagus, corn husks, and artichokes can wrap around the blades and cause the motor to jam. Their tough, stringy nature makes them difficult to grind.

Starchy Foods: Foods like pasta, rice, and potato peels can expand when mixed with water, creating a paste-like substance that clogs pipes and disposals. Even small amounts can accumulate over time and lead to blockages.

Grease and Oils: Never pour grease, oil, or fat down your disposal or any drain. These substances can solidify and create thick, sticky clogs. Instead, dispose of them in a container and throw them in the trash.

Large Bones: Unlike small chicken or fish bones, large bones from pork, beef, or lamb can break the blades and overwork the motor. Always throw large bones in the trash.

Non-Food Items: This might seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. Never put glass, plastic, metal, paper, or other non-food items down your disposal. These materials can cause serious damage and are not biodegradable.

Eggshells and Coffee Grounds: While some disposals can handle these, they can still pose a risk. Eggshells can stick to the sides and create a gritty residue, while coffee grounds can build up and block pipes. When in doubt, compost these items.

Expandable Foods: Foods that expand with water, like oatmeal, rice, and pasta, should be kept out of the disposal. Their ability to swell can lead to blockages and damage the unit.

Fat, Oil, or Grease (FOG): These substances can cause severe plumbing issues. Once they solidify, they can clog pipes and create major blockages. Dispose of FOG in a separate container and throw it in the trash.

Hands and Fingers: It seems obvious, but never put your hands or fingers in the disposal. If you need to remove a blockage, ensure the power is off, and use tongs or pliers to reach in.

Can You Put Drain Cleaner Down a Garbage Disposal?

Using chemical drain cleaners in your garbage disposal is generally a bad idea. These cleaners can corrode the metal components of your disposal and cause more harm than good. Instead, opt for natural solutions like baking soda and vinegar, or use a disposal cleaner designed specifically for this appliance.

Garbage Disposal Maintenance Tips

Proper maintenance can extend the life of your garbage disposal and keep it running efficiently. Here are some tips:

  • Run Cold Water: Always run cold water before, during, and after using the disposal to help flush out food particles.
  • Regular Cleaning: Clean your disposal with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar once a month to keep it fresh.
  • Avoid Overloading: Don’t overload the disposal with too much food at once. Feed small amounts gradually.
  • Use Ice Cubes: Grinding ice cubes can help sharpen the blades and remove buildup.
  • Citrus Peels: Grinding citrus peels can help eliminate odors and keep your disposal smelling fresh.

Garbage Disposal Repair and Installation in Newark, DE

If you’re facing issues with your garbage disposal or need a new one installed, Boulden Brothers is here to help. Our experienced plumbers are fully licensed and insured, ready to handle any garbage disposal repair or installation job. With our commitment to customer satisfaction, you can trust us to get the job done right.

We understand that a malfunctioning garbage disposal can disrupt your daily routine. That’s why we promise prompt and reliable service. “You Call. We Come. It’s Fixed.” Whether it’s a simple repair or a complete replacement, our team will provide you with the best solutions tailored to your needs.Boulden Brothers in Newark DE

Final Thoughts

A well-maintained garbage disposal is a valuable kitchen asset, making cleanup easy and efficient. By following these dos and don’ts, you can keep your disposal running smoothly and avoid common issues.

Remember, when in doubt, consult the experts at Boulden Brothers. We’re here to ensure your garbage disposal is always in top condition. Happy grinding!

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