Garbage disposal systems are a great, but often misunderstood kitchen appliance. Maybe because of their location or the fact that we use them so frequently, we often tend to take them for granted and forget that, like any piece of machinery, garbage disposals require a little love and tenderness too. Never fear though – in this blog post I am going to share with you some tips for properly maintaining and caring for your unit.
Maintenance Tips for Waste Disposal Systems
In addition to wear and tear issues that inevitably occur with improperly maintained systems, a neglected disposal unit can also lead to pipe issues, such as clogged drains, which can in turn become costly. Fortunately, proper garbage disposal care is rather simple and cheap. A little thought and effort will keep your system in tip top shape and save you a lot of grief and money.
How to Sharpen Garbage Disposal Blades
One of the biggest misconceptions about waste disposals is how to sharpen the blades. In fact, most people are not even aware that you need too – or even can – make the blades sharper. Not only can you, but you absolutely should sharpen them on a regular basis.
I have heard people say, “Just drop some glass down the sink and run the system.” This is a big no-no! It can actually cause your sink to jam up, plus glass is an inorganic item (more on this later). The best way to get your blades slicing and dicing properly is to drop some ice cubes down the drain and run your disposal. This has several benefits. First, ice is free. Second, as the ice grinds and melts, it not only sharpens the knives, it also cleans them. Two for one!
How to Remove Odor from a Garbage Disposal
There are two parts to keeping a waste disposal smell-free. The first part is not letting it get smelly to begin with! Never put food in the disposal before you are ready to use it and never let food just sit in the disposal. This lets bacteria build up and food rot, speeding up the stench process. Old food also leaks acid, which can cause the blades and unit to dull and corrode over time.
The second part of keeping your disposal clean is to use the peel from fruits like lemons, limes, oranges or grapefruits and drop them down the sink. The citric acid will help clean the germs and odor causing agents and add a nice scent to your garburator. Ice also helps to remove smelly odors in a garbage disposal unit.
Use Water Every Time
Always, always use water when using the disposal. And make sure the water is cold – warm water can interact with food particles and release chemicals that can stick to your pipes and the unit. Not using water is a sure fire way to ensure your waste disposal will burn out before its life expectancy.
My Garbage Disposal Stopped Running
Most people think this is because the system has died, burned out or has some sort of an electrical issue. More often than not, if a system has stopped working, it is because there was a jam. Waste disposal units have a safety measure to prevent burn outs when there is a bad jam. To fix this, make sure your disposal is turned off and clear the jam (if it is a bad jam or you are uncomfortable clearing the jam on your own, consult a plumbing professional).
After the jam is cleared, look under your sink at your disposal unit. There should be a red button. If it is sticking out, press it in. If a bad jam was your problem, resetting the system should do the trick.
What Not to Put In Your Garbage Disposal
Contrary to what some may say, you should not just put any old thing in your disposal. First, avoid putting anything that is not food or organic material – no paper, no metal, glass and so forth. Not only are these bad for your disposal, they are bad for your septic system as well.
You should also avoid putting food items like pasta and rice down your unit. As these items come in contact with water, they can expand, leading to clogging issues. The same can be said for grease and fatty food items. Over time these items stick to your pipes and cause clogs, and in worst-case-scenarios, can cause burst plumbing pipes – something you definitely want to avoid!