Garbage disposals are an amazing invention and they have made our lives so much easier since they’ve been around. Sadly, a great deal of homeowners take their garbage disposals for granted, to the point that they actually break. Garbage disposals are often overlooked when it comes time to do home maintenance and cleaning tasks. Newer models of garbage disposals are even self-cleaning now, but even so, it is a good idea to give them a nice deep cleaning at least once a year in order to keep it functioning to its fullest capacity and to reduce unpleasant odors.
One of the ways that you can ensure that you are properly caring for your garbage disposal is to use plenty of water while you are running the disposal. Before you turn on your disposal, you want to make sure that your water is running and you want to keep the water running the entire time that the food is being ground up. Even after you hear the grinding of the motor turn more into a soft whirring noise, you should still let the water run for at least 10-20 seconds longer. By having the water run for that extra amount of time, it ensures that any little food particles are removed from the disposal and it makes sure the pipes are being flushed out.
When you are running water for the disposal, you should be using cold water. Hot water is not going to cause any damage, but hot water can liquefy any fats or greases. If this happens, that grease can actually stick to the blades of the motor and over time, it will build up and could cause your disposal to stop working.
Another way you can protect your disposal is by making sure you are not overexerting its capabilities by putting food that is really big or hard into it. Garbage disposals were designed to break down small bits of food and they are not meant to grind down everything that was left on someone’s plate. You never want to put popcorn kernels, seeds, meat bones or fibrous foods into your disposal, because this could cause the motor to break.
Garbage disposals can give off an unpleasant odor over time and if this happens, there are some things you can do to get rid of that smell. You can put a combination of baking soda and vinegar into the disposal and let it set while the unit is turned off. You can also grind up small bits of lemon or orange peel to give it a more pleasant smell. Grinding ice cubes is another maintenance tip that will help to sharpen the blades and clear off any food or grease that has adhered to the blades.
You want to make sure that you never use a drain cleaner on your garbage disposal. The harsh chemicals in these cleaners can cause damage. If you have a clog, it is better to call in a plumber to fix it.
By using these tips, you can help to keep your garbage disposal running smoothly and help it to last for many years.