Having a garbage disposal is a nice luxury in the kitchen that you might take for granted until it breaks. It’s there to help shred food into smaller particles that you can then dispose of by more easily moving it through the line. And although the disposal can last a long time, how long it lasts depends on how well you take care of it. There are many things you can do to help keep it working optimally and some things you shouldn’t do to prevent it from breaking.
A quick list of do’s and don’t’s:
- Do place small pieces of organic food waste that are easily shredded into the disposal. Read the manual to verify what foods can be processed and which can cause damage.
- Don’t put non-organic garbage through the machine. This is not a garbage can and non-organic waste such as tea bags, wrappings of paper, plastic, foil and cigarette butts can jam it.
- Do use it to dispose of most vegetable waste such as stems and tops from broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, etc.
- Don’t dispose of thick peels and strong fibres in fruits and vegetables that can wrap around the mechanism and get stuck. Husks from corn, onion peels, artichokes, and celery stalks are examples of vegetables that can jam the shredding mechanism. Banana peels are too thick to be cut apart in the machine and may wrap around the mechanism.
- Don’t dispose of bones or hard seeds of fruits and vegetables that can get caught in the mechanism. Steak and ham bones are too hard and can break the mechanism. Watermelon and apple seeds are also examples of waste that is too hard for most machines. Plus their small seed size can wedge into the mechanism causing it to jam.
- Do cut bulky waste into small pieces and place them in the disposal one at a time to avoid jamming. Potato peels and rice can be very starchy and become pasty if too much is disposed at one time.
- Don’t dispose of hard grinds or shells that break into tiny pieces and stick together in one mass. Coffee grinds, nutshells, and eggshells have a tendency to cling to the mechanism and jam it.
- Do add ice cubes to your disposal to periodically clean waste particles from the mechanism.
- Don’t add oils or fatty substances to the machine. These can congeal and cling to the mechanism or accumulate inside your pipes to cause clogs.
- Do run the disposal with a strong flow of cold water regularly. The cooler water will help stop greases and oils left on food waste from solidifying. And running the water will help to keep the line clear.
- Don’t turn off the water when running the machine. Turn off the machine first and let the water run another 15 to 30 seconds to continue clearing out the drain.
- Do read the manual to learn more about the hardness of foods it can handle and general maintenance requirements.
- Don’t put your hands or a large object into the disposal to try to pull out something that has jammed it. This is very dangerous. Professionals can assist you with fixing it if it gets jammed.
Good practices today can avoid problems later. But if your disposal does become clogged and breaks, it can start to leak under the sink. Continuous leakage can cause mold and other problems so you will want to address the problem quickly.
High Priority Plumbing can assist you with replacing kitchen plumbing appliances such as disposals and sinks, and properly connecting them to the appropriate water and sewer lines. Contact us at 770.860.8110 in Atlanta.