A garbage disposal is a great addition to any kitchen. Used properly, it can cut cleaning time, prevent odors, and be more hygienic. Many people do not realize this appliance requires special care to avoid frequent garbage disposal repair. To keep this under-sink appliance working properly, consumers are reminded to watch what they put into it and avoid things known to cause damage.
Food and Items to Avoid
Following are some types of food and other items that could lead to the repair of your garbage disposal and should be kept out of the disposal.
Stringy or Fibrous Foods – Anything that has the ability to bind can cause as much damage to a disposal as something very hard. Foods to avoid include: celery, corn husks, artichokes, and onion skins as well as cigarette butts and even eggshells that have a fibrous inner membrane.
Hard Items – Plastic, glass, bones, pits, and other such items should be kept out of a garbage disposal. These units are made for grinding up food bits that can safely pass into a septic system or sewer. Extremely hard items should be avoided as they can dull, bind, or break blades as well as get stuck and damage the entire mechanism – and require a garbage disposal repair service call.
Grease, Fat, or Starches – Although hard to imagine, potato skins, rice, and pasta can clog up a disposal unit once the starches start to break down and become gummy. The same is true for grease and fats of all kind, which congeal when exposed to cold water and can lead to garbage disposal repair.
Combustibles, Chemicals, or Coffee Grounds – Combustibles and chemicals are dangerous, as a garbage disposal is an electrical appliance. Either of these things can cause corrosion or reaction within the unit or pipes. Coffee grounds can cause blockage in the plumbing beyond the disposal unit.
Following are a few tips to help avoid garbage disposal repair and keep a unit working its best:
Use Cold Water, Small Amounts of Food – Always run cold water into the sink before switching on the unit. Although the natural tendency is to turn on hot water, cold water helps prevent blockage. Add food in small amounts, giving the unit a chance to grind what has already been put in to avoid overloading. Turn the unit off only after everything has been ground and has rinsed through the unit and drain pipes.
Clean, Sharp, and Smelling Good – Ice cubes are one hard item that can be put into a garbage disposal, as ice actually sharpen blades and helps clean them as well. After sharpening with a tray of ice cubes, clean and freshen the drain by grinding up citrus fruit or citrus skins. Putting some baking soda or Borax in the drain for an hour and rinse it away with hot water to remove stubborn odors.
Common Sense – Learn what a properly-working disposal sounds like and recognize when problems may require a garbage disposal repair. service call If an item is questionable, do not put it in. If something falls into the drain, never assume it is safe to reach into the unit because it has been turned off. The disposal should be completely disconnected before attempting to retrieve an object.
By teaching household members these few simple rules about what can and cannot go into the garbage disposal, homeowners can extend the life of this appliance indefinitely. Most garbage disposal repair bills can be avoided if you know exactly what not to send down the drain!