What’s safe to put down your Garbage Disposal?

July 1st, 2012

What is safe to put down my garbage disposal?

Garbage disposers are also popular as food waste disposer or garburator. These are electrically-powered devices installed under the kitchen sink to collect small pieces of food residue during dishwashing. You can find them in between the kitchen sink and the trap. They are a common device in many modern households in the North American region. Other countries also use them to encourage the production of biogas. Plumber Salt Lake City recommends their use to have a better food waste disposal.

How Do Garbage Disposals Work?

Garbage disposers primarily shred food scraps with the aid of heavy water flow. By shredding the food residues into smaller pieces, the impeller arm and plate attached to the device forces the liquid and the particles down the kitchen drain. Although most devices run through electricity, you can also find such items that work through the pressure of water in the sink. You can ask the plumbers to install the device for you.

Since it is an important part of every modern kitchen, you have to see to it that you care for your garbage disposer well. With proper care, it can last for a decade or more. Just follow the owner’s manual to extend the life of the garbage disposal. Do not overfill it with food scraps. Check the manual about the different residues you can grind with it. Most garbage disposers are not suitable for bones and coffee grounds. Never use bleach and drain cleaners. The strong chemicals can cause corrosion and damage your device. To reduce the smell of the disposers, pour water before and after using it. You may also pour warm water in it while grinding orange peels.

Size or Model of Disposal

Looking for the right garbage disposal might be a little baffling: there are so many sizes, models and vendors. However, the main difference in garbage disposals is the power output. Garbage disposal usually come in ½, ¾ and 1 horse power models. Plumber Salt Lake City recommendations are: ½ horse power models for light kitchen use, ¾ horse powers for a normal household use, and 1 horse power model for heavy home use or small commercial use.

Garbage Disposal Best Practices:

  • Do keep your garbage disposal clean. Pour a little dish soap inside and let it run for a minute or so with some cold water after washing dishes.
  • Do run your unit regularly. Frequently running the disposal helps with the prevention of rust and corrosion and assures that all parts stay moving. It can also prevent any clogs from building up.
  • Do grind food waste with a strong flow of cold water. Cold water you ask? It will cause any grease or oils that may get into the unit to solidify, so that they can be chopped up before reaching the trap.
  • Do grind certain hard materials such as fish bones, eggshells, small fruit pits, etc. This causes a scouring action inside the grind chamber that helps clean the walls of the disposal.
  • Do grind citrus fruit peelings such as lemons or oranges to freshen up drain smells.
  • Do cut large items into smaller pieces. Put them into the grinder one at a time instead of trying to shove a large amount in at once.

Garbage Disposal DON’Ts:

  • Don’t put anything in the unit that is not biodegradable food. Nonfood items will damage both blades and the motor. Your garbage disposal is not a trash can.
  • Don’t grind glass, plastic, metal or even paper.
  • Don’t grind anything combustible.
  • Don’t grind cigarette butts.
  • Don’t pour grease, oil or fat into your garbage disposal or drain. Grease will slowly accumulate and impede your garbage disposal’s grinding ability as well as clog drains.
  • Don’t use hot water when grinding food waste. Hot water will cause grease to liquefy and accumulate, causing drains to clog.
  • Don’t grind extremely fibrous material like corn husks, celery stalks, onion skins, and artichokes. Fibers from these can tangle and jam the motor and block drains.
  • Don’t turn off the motor or water until grinding is completed. When grinding is complete, turn off the garbage disposal first. Let water continue to run for at least 15 seconds, flushing out any remaining particles.
  • Don’t put too many potato peels down the garbage disposal. The starches in the potatoes will turn into a thick paste and may cause blades to stick.
  • Don’t put large amounts of food down the disposal. Feed food into the unit a little at a time with the cold water running.
  • Don’t put expandable foods into your garbage disposal. Foods like pasta and rice expand when you add water in a pot; they do the same thing once inside your pipes or garbage disposal and are the cause of many jams and clogs.
  • Don’t grind large animal bones (beef, pork etc.).
  • Although coffee grounds do not harm the disposal they can build up in the drains and pipes over time.
  • Don’t use harsh chemicals like bleach or drain cleaners. They can damage blades and pipes. Borax is a natural sink cleaner and sanitizer that effectively works on odor-causing mold and mildew that accumulates.

Keeping Your Disposal Running Problem-Free

Ice is an effective and inexpensive method for cleaning your garbage disposal, sharpening the blades and breaking up any grease build-up. Toss a few ice cubes into the garbage disposal and run it. As the garbage disposal chops into the ice cubes, the ice chips will effectively scour all the hard to reach areas of the unit, and melt down the drain. Try this once or twice a month to keep your unit in fine working order states Plumber Salt Lake City.

To Remove Those Nasty Smells

Here are some natural methods that are good for the environment and very inexpensive.

  • Periodically, take a lemon or orange and toss it into the disposal. The oils and juice from the fruits and peels naturally clean the walls inside the disposal and create a fresh, long-lasting scent.
  • Freeze vinegar in ice cube trays and toss those down the disposal. This will keep your blades sharp while safely killing odor-causing bacteria.
  • For stubborn odors pour baking soda into the drain and let it set for several hours before running the water and garbage disposal.
  • For really stubborn odors, use a safe cleaning product like Borax. Just pour 3-4 tablespoons of Borax down the drain and let it sit for an hour. Then turn on the hot water and flush the borax away.

TIPS for Removing Object

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER ever put your unprotected hand into the garbage disposal! If you must use your hand to remove objects, unplug the unit or turn off the appropriate circuit breaker. Always wear safety gloves to protect your hand from the sharp blades.

If you must try to remove any foreign object by yourself first get a flashlight to find the exact location of the object. Use a pair of extra-long needle nose pliers or an automotive finger gripper (available at most hardware stores) to extract the object. In some cases, you may be able to use a bent coat-hanger to reach down to dislodge and hook the object. Even a pair of chopsticks or crochet needles can work to grab the object.

What to do if Your Garbage Disposal is Not Grinding?

  1. A number of disposal’s that appear not to be working just need to be reset. Resetting your disposal is easy. Simply look under your sink to locate the red or black reset button on the motor. Push to reset. Note: if the garbage disposal is plugged into a wall outlet, make sure the outlet has power.
  2. Check for a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker.
  3. 3. Give it a push-start. Most garbage disposals have a hole underneath that allows you to hand-crank it free once it’s been jammed. To crank it, use either an Alan wrench or a garbage disposal tool that you can pick up at most hardware stores. This should free up most non-serious jams.

Why is the Water Backing Up into My Sink While I Run the Dishwasher?

Often there is a connection between the dishwasher and the drain from the disposal. If there is food left behind in the disposal it can clog that connection to the main drain and therefore the water backs up into your sink. To prevent this, you should make sure that your disposal is free of food before running the dishwasher. Run the garbage disposal with plenty of water before turning the dishwasher on.

Should I Let the Water Run While using the Disposal?

Absolutely, you must always have running water while food is passing through the disposal. In fact, for a few seconds after you turned the disposal off. This prevents the blades from running hot and it helps the food pass easily through the pipes.

When In Doubt – Call Your Plumber!

These are simply general maintenance tips and simple remedies for minor problems. If you try these solutions and they don’t work or if your problem seems to be getting worse, contact your Plumber Salt Lake City. They are the professionals and have the tools and know-how to address almost every garbage disposal emergency.