Your garbage disposal is useful and convenient, but one misstep and you could cripple this helpful home appliance temporarily or even permanently. Maintaining a garbage disposal is not only about regular cleaning, you must know what foods and substances could cause a breakdown. Read this guide to find out what you cannot put in a garbage disposal and what to do if the appliance malfunctions.
Safe, Responsible Operation Tips
Your garbage disposal cannot process large quantities of food at one time. When feeding particles into the machine, do not overload the blades. As food enters, run cold water simultaneously. Using hot water will render grease and fat into liquids, which can run into the pipes and solidify, causing blockages in the future. Cold water causes oils to harden, which allows the disposal to cut up the chunks so they can run without interruption through the plumbing system.
Never put tools or your fingers into the disposal to clear a blockage unless the power cable is unplugged from the outlet. Only use natural cleaners in your disposal — harsh chemicals can damage the metal components, seals and blades, causing rust and a premature breakdown of the moving parts.
Foods to Avoid
Any foods that expand with added water should be banned from your garbage disposal, including rice and pasta. Other starch-filled items such as potatoes and their peels will only create a sticky paste that slows down the turning blades or blocks the pipes further along in the system. Coffee grounds produce similar results. While the tiny grinds may make it through the disposal, they can build up in plumbing and result in a blocked pipe or sink overflow.
All stringy, fibrous foods should be disposed of in the trash or compost rather than an electric disposal. Strings from celery stalks, banana peels, corn husks and onions can wrap around the blades, inhibiting their movement. While some resources recommended grinding eggshells since the blades are sharpened through the process, do not follow this advice. The thin film on the inside of the eggshell can wrap around the blades just like other fibrous foods, and the risk of harm is greater than the potential benefit.
Do not attempt to grind any type of animal bone in the disposal. Other hard objects like fruit pits should also be avoided. Never dispose of any nonfood substances such as cigarette butts, trash, foil, plastic or glass in your disposal.
Keep Your Disposal Free of Odors
Use baking soda and vinegar to clean and deodorize your garbage disposal. You can also squeeze lemon juice into the drain for a fresh scent. Drop ice cubes into your disposal on a bi-monthly basis to clean and sharpen each blade.
When your garbage disposal grinds to a halt and refuses to continue processing food particles, call Peter’s Appliance for immediate professional advice and service.