Owning a garbage disposal is great, because they can do an excellent job getting rid of that unwanted waste in an environmental friendly way. However, most people take their garbage disposal for granted, until it ends up breaking down or clogging plumbing pipes. Then you are left wondering what went wrong and who wants to admit that they used bad judgment. Needless to say, you are now left with an expensive repair job. It is much easier and cheaper, if you take action to prevent this from happening. Below you will find some tips and information that can extend the life of your disposal and prevent clogs.
Did you know that running your disposal on a regular basis could prevent freeze ups, corrode, and rust buildup? In the long run this is going to prevent clogs and extend the life of your disposal, as well. Even if you do not have anything to grind up, it is an excellent idea to run your disposal every few days, by just flushing it with running tap water. This will also help keep those grinding blades and components clean and free of mold and fungus growth.
How to Clean Garbage Disposal
Always use cold water when running your garbage disposal. The reason for this is because hot water actually wants to melt the food waste and leave it clinging to the insides of the disposal. However, cold water will harden the waste making it much easier for the disposal to grind them up into a liquefied consistency. Hot water is great for cleaning many things, but not your garbage disposal.
Run For Extended Time Period
After you have disposed of your leftovers, try leaving the disposal running for an extra minute or two. This will ensure you that every bit of the food was grinned down efficiently and pushed down the pipe. It also never hurts to add a little dishwashing soap during this process. You will find a long list of tips for cleaning a garbage disposal and plumbing pipes that will prevent mishaps.
It is important to remember that the grind chamber will only hold a specified amount of waste. Do not try to jam large chunks down the disposal, instead simply take a little extra time to cut the food into smaller pieces, this little technique will prevent clogs and greatly extend the life of your disposal.
What Not To Put In Your Disposal
It is a known fact that some items just do not work so well with a garbage disposal. Below you will find a list of items that you want to avoid putting in the disposal chute.
- Potato peels – contain starch, so they will stick to the sides and internal components. They are very hard to flush out of the disposal due to this fact.
- Pits, seeds, or big bones – can dull your blades and eventually clog your pipes.
- Grease or cooking oil– can actually solidify inside your disposal and clog your pipes.
- Egg shells – have a thin membrane inside of them, which can potentially wrap around the grinding blades. If this happens and you continue to use the disposal, you risk burning out the motor.
- Rice and pasta – will continue to expand, even though it is pre-cooked leftovers. You will risk clogging your pipes and filling up your septic tank too quickly, if you dispose of these foods in your garbage disposal.
- Celery – is a nutritional vegetable that will add an immense amount of flavoring to your salads and casserole, but it should never be put into a garbage disposal. Celery consists of long, thick strands that will wrap around the grinding blades and potentially burn out the motor. If you continue to dispose of these items, in this manner, you may discover that your garbage disposal is not working.
Freshen Your Garbage Disposal
A dirty garbage disposal can leave an unappealing odor in your home. There are several ways to freshen up your garbage disposal with products that you can find stored away in your cupboard.
- Apple Cider Vinegar and Baking Soda – mix a 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar with a 1/2 cup of baking soda in a medium size bowl, then flip on the disposal, pour the liquid content down the disposal chute, and wait about 20 seconds, before turning on the tap water.
- Bleach – will eradicate up to 99% of viruses, bacteria, and fungus. Mix 1 cup of bleach with 1 gallon of water, turn on the disposal, pour the liquid content down the disposal chute, and wait about 20 seconds, before turning on the tap water.
- Lemon Juice – contains a high content of citric acid that is capable of breaking down smelly odors. Just simply pour 12-16 ounces of lemon juice down the disposal chute on a routine basis to freshen up the garbage disposal.
- Frozen Vinegar Cubes – mix 1 cup of vinegar with 1/2 gallon of water, pour the liquid into an ice cube mold, and sit in your freezer until frozen solid. Once the cubes are solid, you can pour them down the disposal chute, add 1/2 cup of rock salt, and turn the disposal on. This will flush away any leftover food particles and eliminate those smelly odors.
Garbage Disposal Leaking
If your garbage disposal develops a leak, you may need to replace the rubber mounting gasket or sink flange. Just turn on the disposal and water tap to see if water is leaking around the bottom of the sink. If your disposal is new, you may need to remove the entire unit and place some plumbers putty between the flange and the surface of the sink.
If this is not where the leak is located, you should do a little investigating around the dishwasher inlet connection. The clamp that holds this connection together may just need to be retightened or replaced.
If you find a water leak around the discharge drainpipe, you should try tightening up the bolts that secures the pipe to the disposal. If this does not work, then you may need to replace the rubber drain gasket located between the drainpipe and disposal outlet.
If these repairs do not fix your leaky disposal, you may very well have a cracked grind chamber housing, which will call for a complete replacement.