Garbage Disposal Care

A garbage disposal makes meal cleanup easier. These machines do a lot of hard work, and they can jam or break if they're not used properly. A malfunctioning or clogged garbage disposal can send large food particles down the drain, leading to expensive plumping repairs.

The easiest way to extend the life of a new garbage disposal is to obey these simple rules.

  1. Never put bones, hard seeds (like peach pits), grease or meat fat down the disposal. Grease and fat won't gum up the disposal itself, but they will cling to your pipes and choke them off over time.
  2. Never put glass, plastic, metal or paper in the garbage disposal.
  3. Always use a strong stream of cold water when running the disposal. Don't use hot water; it can liquefy items and cause them to stick to the blades.
  4. Never put cornhusks, celery stalks, onion skins or artichokes in the disposal. The fibers from these will tangle in the blades and can jam the motor.
  5. Keep the disposal running for a few seconds after the grinding noise has stopped. The water will flush the remaining particles down. Turn the disposal off and let the water run for a few seconds to flush remaining bits down.
  6. Do occasional simple cleaning by running hot, soapy water through the disposal to remove particles stuck to the blades. You can also sprinkle baking soda down the disposal to control odors.
  7. Run eggshells and ice cubes through the disposal to keep the blades sharp.
  8. Run your disposal often. It keeps the blades sharp and prevents the disposal from rusting.
  9. Eliminate odors by grinding up citrus peels.
  10. Ice cubes and rock salt will remove debris from the blades. Fill the disposal with ice cubes and pour rock salt over the cubes. Then run cold water and the garbage disposal for at least 10 seconds.
  11. Never put chemical drain cleaners in a sink with a garbage disposal. They can damage the parts.
  12. Never reach into a disposal to clear a jam, even if the power is off. The blades can spring into action when the tension is released, causing severe injuries. Garbage disposals have a manual turn on the bottom to deal with jams. A specialized wrench should be included with your disposal; if you can't find it, an allen wrench from the hardware store will often do the job.
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