How to Maintain a Garbage Disposal

Junk Removal In Roanoke VA is a kitchen necessity for anyone who wants to spend as little time as possible cleaning after meals. These appliances can be found in almost every home and are easy to maintain.

A disposal grinds food waste into tiny particles that can be washed away with cold water. It is an electrical appliance fitted under kitchen sinks and connected to household plumbing.

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A garbage disposal is a residential or commercial appliance that grinds food waste into small enough pieces to pass through plumbing. The appliance consists of a motor that drives a flywheel and impellers, also called blades. As the motor turns, the blades pulverize the waste and push it through the drainpipe into the sewer system. The disposal’s main purpose is to save space in the kitchen, but the appliance can also be used for sanitary purposes.

Many experts agree that using a disposal for food waste is better than throwing it in the trash, because it reduces the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and septic systems. Food scraps in these areas can clog pipes and lead to unpleasant odors. The waste must also be collected and transported long distances to garbage dumps and waste-treatment plants, which puts a strain on the environment.

The most important thing to remember when putting food in a disposal is that it should be cut up into pea-sized pieces. This will ensure that the disposal’s mechanisms don’t get jammed or overworked, which can cause it to overheat and break down. It’s also a good idea to run cold water while operating the disposal, as this can help grease and other fats solidify and move through the pipe more easily.

It’s fine to put most food into the disposal, except for large bones and stringy fruit and vegetable skins. Bones can damage the machine’s blades, while tangled veggies and fruit pits can jam or block the drainpipe. If you decide to use a disposal for these foods, you should make sure that the bones are from smaller animals like chickens, and that they’re cooked well so that they’re easier to break apart.

Most experts recommend running a bit of cold water through the disposal when it’s not in use to prevent clogs. It may seem counterintuitive, but cold water forces fats to harden up and move through the pipe more quickly, while warm water allows them to flow more freely down the disposal drain. You should also regularly clean the disposal with a bottle of degreaser or hot water and a bit of dish soap.

There are few foods that can’t be ground up by a garbage disposal as long as the food is in small enough pieces. However, some items should never be placed in a disposal because they can cause clogs or other problems with the system. It is a good idea to assess what you and your family typically put down the drain and start reducing the amount of these types of foods that you toss in. This can save you the cost of having to replace your disposal or deal with expensive plumbing problems in the future.

The most common foods that can be used in a garbage disposal include:

Fruit Scraps: Any kind of fruit scrap including apple cores, banana peels, orange peels and more are fine to grind up in a garbage disposal. In addition, they can help to keep your sink drain smelling fresh.

Vegetable Scraps: Most vegetable scraps are good to use in a disposal, but make sure to always cut up larger scraps like celery or carrot sticks before placing them in the disposal. This will help prevent them from becoming stringy and getting caught up in the disposal mechanisms.

Eggshells, Shellfish, and Coffee Grounds: These kinds of waste don’t break down easily in the disposal and can build up over time causing a jam. They also are not good for your pipes, especially if they’re oily.

Stringy Waste: Celery stalks, asparagus and other fibrous vegetables are a bad idea for your disposal. They can wrap around the disposal’s grinding teeth and cause a jam. They also are a tripping hazard if children or pets happen to step on them.

Fat, Grease, Oil, and Cooking Fat: These kinds of waste can cause a lot of trouble for your disposal and should be avoided altogether. They will quickly clog the disposal and can block the flow of water in your drains.

Using a small amount of dish soap in your disposal every few weeks will help to clean the interior of your disposal and prevent it from becoming grimy or odorous. You can also pour in a cup of citrus peels or rock salt to help deodorize your disposal and keep it clean.

A garbage disposal is not a food processor, and some foods should never be put into it. They can clog the disposal and drain pipes, and they can cause serious damage to the unit. Some of the things that should not go into a garbage disposal include large animal bones, hard nut shells and pits (including peanuts), fibrous vegetables and fruit peels. These foods bind up in the disposal and can be tough on blades. They also can create a sticky paste that is difficult to grind. Instead, save these foods for the compost bin or trash can.

Fats and grease are another no-no for your disposal. They may seem like a liquid when they’re warm, but once they cool down, they solidify into a hard, stick-like substance that can clog your disposal and plumbing system. To avoid this, always run your disposal with cold water when you’re grinding up fats and oils.

Fibrous foods can also be problematic for a disposal, especially when they’re wet. For example, corn husks and the fibrous parts of vegetables, like artichokes, asparagus and rhubarb can wrap around the blades and bind up your disposal, says The same goes for potato peelings and other starchy vegetables.

Eggshells can be a nuisance for your disposal, even though they’re thin enough to slip through the blades. The membrane in the eggs can sit and collect debris that leads to a drain clog, 

It’s also a good idea to avoid putting coffee grounds in your disposal, as they can bind up the blades and lead to a bad smell. Instead, use ice cubes made from citrus fruits to help keep your disposal clean and fresh-smelling. The ice cubes will clean the disposal’s walls and kill any odor-causing bacteria. You can also use baking soda to deodorize your disposal. Pour some in a ice cube tray and run it through the unit while running cold water. This will clean and deodorize your disposal in a few minutes. A little bit of vinegar can also help clean your disposal and kill odor-causing bacteria.

A garbage disposal doesn’t have to be a mysterious contraption under your sink. A little regular cleaning and know-how can help you keep it working properly, smelling fresh, and free of slime. First, make sure you disconnect the power to your garbage disposal — either pull the plug, or shut off the electricity at the circuit breaker box. It’s also wise to wear rubber gloves and a face mask when working with chemicals.

Depending on how often you use your disposal, you may need to clean it about once a week or so. The best way to do this is with a combination of vinegar, baking soda, and hot water. The baking soda and vinegar will neutralize odors, break down food residue, and clean the drainpipe. The baking soda will also fizz and break down any clogs, and the hot water will wash away any remaining particles.

Starchy foods like pasta, potato peels, and rice can expand when wet, which can clog your drainpipes and garbage disposal. To prevent this, you can let these foods dry out before grinding them and run them through with cold water. You can also compost these foods instead of putting them in the disposal, which is better for the environment.

You can also help keep your disposal’s blades sharp by dumping in a handful of ice cubes mixed with rock salt. While some people recommend running the disposal with hot water after this, experts and product manufacturers discourage it, since the heat can cause grease to melt and clog your drainpipes.

Another way to keep your disposal smelling fresh is by feeding it citrus peels after each use. This will not only sharpen your disposal’s blades, but it can also help neutralize odors and break down any fat in the drain pipes.

Finally, you can keep your garbage disposal free of germs by occasionally soaking the rubber splash guard in warm soapy water. It’s best to do this after each use, and you can also rinse it in hot water with a few pinches of salt.

Jacqueline Erwin