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Proper Garbage Disposal Maintenance

Updated on March 12, 2011

If you cook and dine at home frequently, chances are that your garbage disposal gets a lot of use. Garbage disposals are attached to your plumbing system, typically via the kitchen sink, and provide an environmentally responsible alternative to throwing food waste in the trash. This unseen but often used appliance can last for many years if you care for it properly.

About Garbage Disposal Use

When you have – and use – a garbage disposal, most kinds of biodegradable food waste can simply be scraped into the sink and washed down the drain after being ground into tiny particles via the garbage disposal unit.

These particles flush into the sewage system where they are transported to a water treatment facility and filtered out to be harnessed for use as energy or utilized to make fertilizer.

4 Garbage Disposal Maintenance Tips

  1. Limiting to Appropriate Use – You should avoid placing inappropriate items in your garbage disposal if you want it to stay in working order. Do not attempt to dispose of any type of waste that is not a food product via your garbage disposal. Product wrappers, beverage cans, and other common kitchen waste items should be thrown away set aside for recycling but should not be placed in a garbage disposal. Additionally, some types of foods should not be disposed of in this manner. For example, it is not a good idea to dispose of uncooked rice via a garbage disposal. When it is exposed to water, it will expand and can cause a serious plumbing problem that will be costly to repair.
  2. Run Water While in Use – When you are operating your garbage disposable, allow cold water to run into the sink drain. This can help ensure that all of the waste that is being processed passes through the unit into the sewer system rather than getting stuck inside the unit. If you do not do this, there is a good chance that waste will stay inside the unit when it has finished running. This will lead to unpleasant smells and can damage the unit over time.
  3. Deodorize with Citrus – Even if you run water every time you operate your garbage disposal, odor can still become a problem. It is a good idea to periodically dispose of orange, lemon, or lime peelings through your garbage disopsal in order to deodorize the unit. If you don't use these types of fruits in your home, consider using a commercial deodorizing product designed for this purpose.
  4. Regular Cleaning – It's also important to clean your garbage disposal on a regular basis if you want to keep it operating in top condition. One of the best ways to clean a garbage disposal is to pour a mixture of baking soda and vinegar down the drain followed by boiling water while running the unit. If you use the unit frequently, do this once per month or more often. If you use the unit only rarely, quarterly cleaning may be sufficient. There are also several commercial garbage disposal cleaning products on the market that you may want to use for this purpose.


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