Garbage disposals are a welcome convenience in any kitchen, but they have their limits. Below, we’ll explain how to take care of your garbage disposal and how to avoid breaking or damaging it during daily use.
DO run water down the drain while you run your garbage disposal.
Your garbage disposal works in tandem with your home’s plumbing system to get rid of food scraps. If you don’t run water down the drain while you run your garbage disposal, there’s nothing to help move those ground-up food scraps along through the pipes. Instead, the food will accumulate and potentially form a clog.
DO clean your garbage disposal with ice cubes.
It’s dangerous to stick your hand down next to those blades to clean them. Fortunately, there’s a much easier way. Simply run a few ice cubes through the garbage disposal.
The action of grinding up the ice cleans the blades and helps to dislodge any bits of food that have gotten stuck in the components. Additionally, cleaning with ice (water) means that there’s no product or residue left to scrub away.
DO keep a drain guard over your garbage disposal.
While doing dishes, sometimes something might fall into your garbage disposal unnoticed. That “something” might be hard, like a bone, fruit pit, or even a stray piece of silverware, all of which can severely damage your kitchen appliance. Keeping a drain guard over your garbage disposal until you're ready to run it simply provides that little extra measure against needing an avoidable repair or replacement.
DON’T feed your garbage disposal anything hard.
Some garbage disposal manufacturers claim that their appliances can handle materials like fruit pits, corn cobs, and bones. In reality, those claims don’t hold up for very long when actually put to the test in a busy household kitchen. To keep your garbage disposal in tip-top shape, we highly recommend that you discard any hard objects in an actual garbage can.
DON’T feed your garbage disposal anything stringy.
Avoid putting large amounts of particularly fibrous foods down your garbage disposal, such as long celery stalks. The stringiness of the material can cause it to tangle in the appliance’s components and cause a jam.
DON’T feed your garbage disposal anything ultra-starchy.
Foods like potatoes may seem harmless enough, but when put through a garbage disposal, they form a paste. This paste can make the appliance’s components jam or cause a clog in the drain line.