The Dos and Don’ts of Garbage Disposal Operation

October 18, 2019

With the holiday season approaching, your garbage disposal is gearing up for its time in the spotlight. Thanksgiving feasts, Christmas dinner, and any of the festivities you and your family celebrate will probably result in heavy use of your garbage disposal, so let’s make its life a little easier by looking at the ways we can keep it happy and running smoothly. Along with trusting the printed manufacturer owner’s manual, we’ve compiled a list of helpful tips of our own for you to refer to, to help keep your garbage disposal performing at optimum levels.

First: The “Don’ts”

One of the more common mistakes made with a garbage disposal is simply knowing what you should and shouldn’t put into it. Large bones may be obvious, but grease, oil, fat, and even substantial, medium-sized bones should be avoided. Also, food that expands, such as rice and noodles, which can ‘grow’ and clog your disposal, are better off discarded in the trash. For larger food scraps like meat or fruit rinds, which can be put down most disposals, you can make your disposal’s job easier by cutting the scraps into smaller pieces, and methodically feed the unit, as opposed to cramming it full, all in one monumental disposal effort.

Another potential pitfall to absolutely avoid: NEVER put any chemical drain products through your disposal. These products are not compatible with most residential garbage disposals. If you want to help keep your disposal clean and safely break down small food debris that remains behind in your drain line and the disposal, consider periodically using a natural, bacteria/enzyme type of drain cleaning product. Your disposal will thank you.

Avoid Putting These into Your Garbage Disposal
  • Greases, oils, and fats
  • Coffee grounds
  • Egg shells & shellfish
  • Large pieces of meat
  • Medium to large-sized bones
  • Starchy, expanding food like rice and noodles
  • ‘Challenging’ produce like onion skin, banana peel, celery, and artichoke
  • Chemical treatments

The “Dos” of Disposals

>The first step in disposal care should always be to read through the entire manufacturer owner’s manual and store it in a convenient location to access later for refresher reading. After all, the people who designed your disposal know best how to care for it. Always strictly follow all safety instructions and warnings contained in the owner’s manual, as improper use of a disposal can be extremely dangerous.

Clear Garbage Disposal >Second, make sure to always run COLD WATER down the drain when operating your garbage disposal, and right after turning the disposal off. This is the best way to help the disposal discard food particles and flush the drain line. Once all is clear, hot water is fine. And never run the unit without the water running; running water helps lubricate the disposal, and without it the unit may soon fail and need replacement.

>Consider occasionally grinding a small amount of citrus peel such as orange or lemon – always with cold water running! – to help keep the disposal and drain line fresh.

>Be sure to keep smaller items that often end up around or in the sink – such as silverware, bottle caps, straws, or any other glass, plastics or metals – from entering the disposal. We all know the sound, and it isn’t pretty!

If there are children in your household, take the time to teach and impress upon them the importance of safety around the disposal, per the manufacturer’s owner’s manual (for many younger ages, ‘hands-off!’ is the best policy). If you’re considering performing any service on the disposal yourself, be sure to follow the specific directions in the owner’s manual, and always unplug the disposal from the power source before doing anything. When in doubt, play it safe and contact a professional plumber like our team at Save Home Heat Company.

Denver-Boulder Plumbing Professionals

For professional plumbing advice in the Denver-Boulder area, turn to the friendly plumbing pros at Save Home Heat Company. Whether it’s a garbage disposal installation or replacement, a new water heater, or a plumbing remodel – or any of our other valuable home services – you can trust our team to always offer professional advice and recommendations that have your best interests in mind.

Master Plumber in Denver, CO | Save Home heatAs always, we’ll take the time to provide you with plenty of information and we’ll gladly answer all your questions, all in a low-pressure manner. Our process continues to be based on helping our customers make decisions that they’ll feel comfortable with, now and in the years to come. Please reach out to our team today for a free installation quote, or to schedule service.

Please contact me to schedule installation of a new garbage disposal!