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Do’s and Don’ts for Effective Garbage Disposal Maintenance

Posted on: April 4th, 2018 by admin

Many homeowners take their garbage disposal unit for granted; only giving it any kind of consideration once it has developed a problem. However, taking a little care with your garbage disposal can reduce the risk of malfunction, clogging and the potentially costly repair bills which can result from this. There are a number of simple do’s and don’ts which can allow your garbage disposal to be properly maintained and keep working well.


  • Keep it clean: Try to avoid putting excessive amounts of food into the disposal and rinse any excess soap away.
  • Run the unit regularly: By running the unit frequently, you can prevent the moving parts from seizing up, corroding or rusting. It should also reduce the risk of clogs building up in the drain.
  • Grind waste with cold water: Use a flow of cold water especially when you are grinding any food waste. This will allow any grease to solidify and be chopped into small pieces before it reaches the trap.
  • Do cut items into small pieces: You should always try to cut up any larger items of waste into small pieces. These can be fed into the disposal a piece at a time instead of forcing in a big amount in one go.


  • Don’t put non-biodegradable items in the disposal: Items which are not food can actually cause damage to the motor and the cutting blades. You shouldn’t treat your disposal like a trash can.
  • Don’t put any plastic, metals, paper or glass into the disposal. This can also cause damage. If any food waste is wrapped in paper, remove the paper and throw it in the trash.
  • Don’t grind combustible items or cigarette butts: The heat and movement of the disposal could ignite any combustible materials and cause a fire.
  • Don’t pour oils, fats or grease into the disposal or drains. This will slowly congeal and accumulate, clogging the drains and impeding the grinding ability of your disposal.
  • Don’t grind fibrous foods such as celery stalks, corn husks or onion skins. These fibers can become tangled in the mechanism, jamming the motor or blocking the drain.
  • Don’t turn off the water or the motor until the grinding has finished. Once the grinding has finished, first turn off the disposal, then allow the water to run for approximately fifteen seconds to allow any remaining particles to be flushed away.
  • Don’t put potato peelings or other starchy foods into the disposal. The starches will cause these foods to expand and congeal into a thick paste which can clog the pipes and jam the blades.
  • Don’t use harsh chemicals: Drain cleaners and bleaches can cause damage to your pipes and parts of the disposal. It is far better to use a more natural product such as Borax to sanitize the sink and remove any unpleasant smells.

Remember that if your disposal does appear to have stopped working, it is possible that it simply needs to be reset. Check there is power going to your disposal and push the reset button under your sink on the motor. It is also worth checking that there hasn’t been a circuit breaker tripped or a blown fuse.

If you suspect that something is jammed in the disposal, don’t try to force it through, but use the hand crank under the sink to clear any inappropriate objects.

If you are interested in learning more about caring for your garbage disposal or would like assistance with a clogged sink or broken disposal, contact us. We have a great deal of expertise and experience in all aspects of plumbing including garbage disposal service and installation and we would be delighted to answer any questions or queries that you may have.

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