10 Ways to Maintain Your Garbage Disposal 826

The garbage disposal is one of the most frequently used kitchen appliances, and they’re built to withstand the rigors of daily use. That being said, garbage disposals are also susceptible to a variety of problems due to misuse or poor maintenance. Keep your kitchen running smoothly and your plumbing intact with these simple garbage disposal maintenance tips.

  • Don’t use it for anything other than food scraps. If this seems like a no-brainer, then you’re already on the right track, but it’s all too easy to throw the occasional paper towel, rubber band or popsicle stick down there. Keep anything that isn’t a biodegradable food item out of the garbage disposal.
  • Avoid clog-causing foods. Certain foods should also be avoided, especially rice and pasta, which absorb water and expand, causing clogs.
  • Dispose of gritty and fibrous foods sparingly. Fibrous foods like celery, artichokes and corn husks can tangle up the blades, and gritty items like coffee grounds, fruit seeds and eggshells can cause clogs.
  • Don’t let stuff sit down there. Using your garbage disposal sparingly might seem like a good energy-saver, but letting food sit in the disposal for an extended period causes bacteria growth and unpleasant odors. Run your garbage disposal every time you put anything in it.
  • Don’t overfill it. Overfilling your garbage disposal can cause clogs and other damage. If you have a lot of waste to dispose of, put it through the garbage disposal a little at a time instead of all at once.
  • Use cold water, not hot. It might seem counterintuitive, but cold water is much better for your garbage disposal because it doesn’t cause overheating, and it doesn’t melt fat particles that can re-solidify later and clog the disposal. Always let the cold water run for a few seconds after all the food is gone to help clean the blades.
  • Steer clear of chemicals. Don’t pour bleach, drain cleaners and other harsh chemicals into your garbage disposal, even if you’re trying to unclog it. Many chemicals can cause irreversible damage.
  • Keep it clean with natural cleaners. If you need to clean your garbage disposal, running it with a bit of dish soap and water usually does the trick. Vinegar and lemon juice are also natural cleaners that can do the job, and borax is acceptable.
  • Use ice cubes to clear away buildup. Occasionally running a few ice cubes through the garbage disposal helps knock built-up food particles from the blades.
  • Deodorize with citrus peels. Grind up a few orange, lime or lemon peels in the garbage disposal to get rid of odors. You can kill two birds with one stone by making ice cubes out of lemon juice and running them through the disposal.
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