Garbage Disposal Maintenance Tips: Keep Your Appliance Running Smoothly

May 20, 2024

There’s nothing more frustrating than searching for ‘garbage disposal maintenance tips’ and finding a jumble of information that makes essential maintenance harder than it needs to be.

As a homeowner, you rely on your garbage disposal to handle the daily grind of kitchen waste. But this hardworking appliance can quickly become a headache if not properly maintained. Fear not. You can ensure your garbage disposal runs smoothly for years with a little care and attention.

This article will provide expert advice and garbage disposal maintenance tips, so let’s dive in.

Understanding How a Garbage Disposal Works

Before we delve deep into the maintenance tips that could save your garbage disposal, it’s important to understand how it works.

Beneath the rubber splash guard at the bottom of your sink lies the upper chamber of the disposal. This is where food scraps accumulate. Inside this chamber, the shredding ring, flywheel, and impellers grind the waste. The smaller food particles mix with water in the lower chamber before passing through the P-trap and down the drainpipe. A garbage disposal typically consists of a 1/3 to 1-horsepower motor, various plumbing attachments, and a reset button.

Read More: How to Troubleshoot Your In-Sink Garbage Disposal

Reliable Appliance - Garbage Disposal Repair

Dos and Don’ts for a Smooth-Running Garbage Disposal

Following simple dos and don’ts when operating your garbage disposal will keep it in tip-top shape, ensuring optimal performance and preventing damage. These garbage disposal maintenance tips are an easy way to prevent further damage and unnecessary headaches.

The Dos

  • Run your garbage disposal regularly: Debris left to accumulate in the upper chamber can decompose and create unpleasant odors.
  • Use cold water: Hot water can soften certain foods, making them harder to grind and more likely to cause clogs.
  • Keep the cold water flowing: Running cold water while using the disposal helps move small particles through the P-trap and prevents clogs.
  • Break up large scraps: Before grinding, break up large scraps to prevent overworking the motor.
  • Grind ice cubes: Grinding ice cubes once a month helps keep the blades sharp and removes food particles stuck to the chamber walls.
  • Clean your garbage disposal regularly: Regular cleaning helps remove buildup and keeps your disposal smelling fresh.
  • Hand-crank the unit to loosen a jam: In the event of a jam, use a hex key to turn the blades and free them up manually.

The Don’ts

  • Don’t put coffee grounds down your disposal: Coffee grounds are the number one cause of garbage disposal malfunctions and clogs.
  • Don’t grind hard-to-break-down items: Plastic scrubbers, paper towel scraps, broken glass, hard fruit pits, and nutshells should not be disposed of in the unit.
  • Don’t use drain openers: Chemical drain openers can damage your disposal and pose a safety risk. If you have a clogged drain, it’s best to call a professional.
  • Don’t put your hand in the unit: Always disconnect the power before addressing malfunctions, and use tools to access the grinding chamber.
  • Don’t forget the reset button: If your disposal doesn’t turn on, press it to see if it trips. This simple, easy-to-take step can often solve the issue.
  • Don’t grind stringy foods: Celery, corn husks, and banana peels wrap around the disposal blades and cause the motor to seize.
  • Don’t grind pits, bones, or meat: Large pits, bones, and meat can bounce around inside smaller units without grinding, leading to clogs.
  • Don’t dispose of grease and fat: Fatty substances can accumulate and cause clogs. Disposing of them in the trash rather than down the drain is best.

These easy-to-follow garbage disposal maintenance tips are simple steps to ensure the longevity of your in-sink garbage disposal.

Related: What Should I Do If My Garbage Disposal Isn’t Working Properly?

Tips for Cleaning Your Garbage Disposal

Regular cleaning is paramount for maintaining a fresh and efficient garbage disposal. Follow these steps monthly to keep your unit running smoothly:

  • Use a flashlight to inspect the disposal for any leftover food debris. If necessary, turn off the power and remove any visible residue.
  • Drop a handful of ice cubes and about ½-cup of coarse salt into the disposal. With cold water running, turn on the unit for one minute to dislodge food buildup.
  • Pour a cup of white vinegar and a handful of baking soda down the drain. Allow the mixture to fizz for a few minutes.
  • While the vinegar and baking soda are fizzing, use an old toothbrush to scrub the splash guard’s rubber flanges. If the guard is removable, remove it and clean the underside.
  • Finally, give the unit one last flush. Fill the sink about ¾-full with warm water and a tablespoon of dish soap. Swish the water to mix it well, pull the plug and let the water drain while the disposal runs.

In between cleanings, you can keep your garbage disposal smelling fresh by grinding a few slices of fresh lemon or peppermint leaves.

Wrapping Up

With proper maintenance, your garbage disposal will remain a reliable and efficient kitchen appliance for many years. By following the dos and don’ts mentione in this post and regularly cleaning your unit, you will prolong the lifespan of your garbage disposal. If your garbage disposal isn’t working and you don’t feel comfortable fixing it yourself, call an experienced garbage disposal repair technician.

Reliable Appliance Repair is here to help you with home appliance repairs in Colorado Springs and Pueblo. Our team of experts is experienced in handling garbage disposal repairs and maintenance. Contact us today for a reliable and efficient Colorado Springs appliance repair service that will keep your appliances running smoothly.