A broken garbage disposal can make your cleaning jobs much more difficult. But before you call us, we’ve got a few tips you should check first to ensure your garbage disposal remains damage and clog-free, and help keep it working well for years to come.
Cut Vegetables and Vegetable Peels
It’s best to cut vegetables and vegetable skins into small pieces; otherwise, they can wrap around garbage disposal blades and prevent them from turning. Also, large pieces can get stuck in the pipes further into the line.
Grease or Oil
It’s a common misconception that disposing of grease or oil by pouring it down the drain while running hot water will help it flow through your plumbing system. Unfortunately, grease clogs are one of the most common plumbing emergencies. As the grease or oil cools, it collects on the blades, inside of the disposal, and along the drain pipes, trapping sediment and more grease until flow is constricted.
Instead, collect your grease and oil in a jar, and dispose of it in the trash when it’s full.
Garbage disposals and drains are not designed to handle solid, non-food items, no matter how small those items are. Avoid putting pieces of food wrappers, wire, string, paper, or other solids into the disposal and drain. These can wrap around disposal blades or clog up drain pipes.
Improper Operating Sequence
Another common mistake that can lead to a broken garbage disposal is scraping food into the drain before turning the water and garbage disposal on. This can damage the disposal blades.
You should run cold water first, then turn the disposal on before slowly adding food scrapings. Continue flushing the drain with the running water for a few seconds after the disposal has been turned off and all of the food has been disposed of.
Cleaning Your Disposal Incorrectly
One simple and sure way to prevent a broken garbage disposal is to keep your garbage disposal and drain clean. Proper cleaning will eliminate any food particles that remain, which can cause bacteria growth and foul odors.
Follow these steps to keep your disposal and drains odor and debris free:
- Vinegar and baking soda. Pour equal parts vinegar and baking soda into the drain and allow them to fizz and bubble for 5-10 minutes. The chemical reaction caused by mixing the acetic acid in vinegar with the baking soda base produces agitating bubbles that help to break up and flush any clogs in your drain.
- Rock salt and ice. Add ice and salt into the disposal and run it for up to 60 seconds, then flush with cold water. The ice will help to dislodge any food particles and scrape the inside of the disposal clean.
- Lemon peels. After cleaning and flushing, grind a few pieces of lemon peel (or the peel of any citrus fruit) in your disposal with ice. The oils from the peel will help to keep your drains smelling fresh.
If, after following the above tips, you find yourself with a broken garbage disposal, contact Capital Care Plumbing. We’re a full-service plumbing company that can handle all of your plumbing needs — and we’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.