Garbage disposal tips to add life to your disposal and improve operation

Home garbage disposals have limits. Not everything has to go in the garbage disposal.

Don’t overload it. Don’t put in bones, pits or pastas because they dull the blades, stick in the corners, or clog the pipes. Just because it fits doesn’t mean you should do it.

Use cold water to flush the garbage disposal, not hot. Hot water will melt the grease and food, which then sticks and coats your pipes creating blockages in the narrowed pipes. Cold water flushes the material down the pipes to move the organic material.

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Run the garbage disposal regularly because it moves the parts – use it or lose it. Food sitting in the disposal or pipes creates odors, or hardens the material remaining leading to clogs.

Cut the waste into smaller pieces. The capacity of the chamber and power of the motor is limited. And don’t stick all the stuff in all at one time; feed it in slowly to prevent jams.

Run the garbage disposal longer, about a minute after grinding. This will push the organics out the pipes to prevent slow drainage and blockages.

You can run some dish soap down in the disposal after grinding greasy food to reduce remains sticking to the sides.

My favorite method to clean onionskins, carrot, potato peelings that clog a disposal grinder is to drop in a handful of ice cubes. Turn it on and let those them rattle around to clean off all the skins. I run plenty of water to push the slurry down the drain and out the pipes.

Finally, use any enzyme drain cleaner to eat the remnants of food and organics on the blades of the disposal – there are a lot of them.  I use Zep Drain Care – it comes in liquid, powder or crystals. Some people use vinegar, citrus or ice cubes, but enzymes work better.

And if it does jam, turn off the circuit breaker power first before sticking something down there, like your hand.