A garbage disposal is one of the most convenient appliances in your home, but it is also one of the plumbing fixtures that we get called about the most for repairs. In many cases, garbage disposal problems are avoidable if you know how to properly use and take care of your unit. By using the garbage disposal tips below, you can keep your unit running smoothly and avoid unnecessary repairs.

10 tips for proper use and care of your garbage disposal

  • 1. Don’t put the wrong objects down your disposal. Your garbage disposal is designed to grind food scraps and nothing more. Some of the objects that you should avoid putting down your drain include large animal bones, grease, fat, oil and objects made of glass, plastic and metal. It’s also best to avoid grinding any food that expands such as spaghetti and rice because they can clog your disposal.
  • 2. Break up large objects before grinding them. If you have large food scraps that you want to put down your disposal, give your unit a helping hand by breaking them up into smaller pieces and grinding them separately.
  • 3. Use cold water when running your disposal. Always run your disposal with cold water. This will help prevent any grease or oils that have made their way down your drain from solidifying and clogging your unit.
  • 4. Keep your disposal clean. After using your disposal, pour a small amount of dish soap down your drain with cold running water. This will help keep your disposal clean and combat bad smells.
  • 5. Grind citrusy fruits to help with bad smells. If your disposal begins to smell, try grinding a few lemon or orange peels to naturally freshen it up.
  • 6. Grind ice cubes to help maintain your unit. Grinding a few ice cubes once a month will help sharpen your unit’s blades and clear away waste that’s stuck on the walls of your disposal.
  • 7. Don’t use drain cleaners on your disposal. The chemicals in drain cleaners can damage your disposal. If you have a clog, give a plumber a call or try the step below to fix it instead.
  • 8. Hand-crank the disposal to break up jams. One of the best ways to fix disposal jams is to stick an allen wrench in the slot at the bottom of your unit and manually crank the blades to free it up.
  • 9. Don’t forget about the reset button. If your disposal is acting up, check and see if the reset button at the bottom of the unit has tripped. If it’s popped out, press it back down and try running it again.
  • 10. Exercise caution when retrieving something from your disposal. If you accidently drop something down your disposal, be very careful when trying to retrieve it. Make sure your unit is unplugged before attempting anything and try grabbing the object with pliers or a bent coat hanger instead of your hand.

If you have any questions about these garbage disposal tips, or if you’d like a plumbing system serviced or installed in your home, contact Cabrillo, your Bay Area plumbing, heating and cooling company.