Regular garbage disposal maintenance pays dividends. Hidden away in your Cross Plains WI home, under-sink disposal systems are more complex than they look. Out of sight should not mean out of mind. Calling a plumber to avoid a pre-meal crisis is always more than a distraction. During the holidays it’s a disaster. Professional plumbers offer a few simple tips to keep garbage disposals clean and running on demand, including
- Run the disposal regularly – do you have food scraps to get rid of every day? No? Even so it’s a good idea to flush a running unit with cold water every day or at least every other day. Repeated flushing helps keep blades rust-free and gets rid of left over residue.
- Combat odors – flushing with warm water and grinding lemons freshens smells coming from the unit. Pour warm water – not hot – down the drain before adding several cut-up lemons. Highly-acidic lemons kill bacteria and scrub surfaces on their way through the disposal and pipes.
- Keep it clean – after normal use, every two weeks or so, clean the inside of the disposal container. Adding a cup of vinegar and a half-cup of baking soda then running it a minute or so combats bacteria. When you’re using it more than usual, clean it more often.
- Scrub it occasionally – over time, crud will build up on the rubber flaps around the drain. You can get at the underside of the flaps with an old tooth brush. Whenever you’re doing anything to clean the container or adjacent parts, make sure the unit is unplugged.
- Use the disposal tool – garbage disposals come with task-specific wrenches for dislodging clogs. If your disposal gets clogged use the wrench in the port at the bottom of the container to dislodge the clog. Don’t use household flatware or other tools.
Watch What You ‘Feed’ Your Garbage Disposal
Routine disposal maintenance in your kitchen sink is not demanding. For starters, if your avoid putting the wrong things into your disposal and you’ll head off problems in the future. Unlike many machines, garbage disposals don’t need rigid maintenance schedules. Sensible daily care makes a big difference. Do you know putting egg shells and coffee ground into your garbage disposal is shortening its life? Those things belong on a compost pile. Coffee grounds and starchy food like potato skins coagulate, mat together and clog pipes. Are you guilty of grinding up things like this? If you’ve avoided a serious clog, you’re lucky. Take a professional’s advice – stop.
In addition, think twice about dropping these into your disposal:
- Any fibrous foods – no potato peels, no banana skins, no broccoli, no celery, etc. All these bind and tangle blades. In addition they often form thick mats that clog the drain and nearby pipes.
- No bones – chicken bones seems fine and brittle, steak and ham bones are dense and hard. No matter how they appear, bones are not good for your disposal. They make the motor work harder and significantly reduce the life of the machine,
Make Garbage Disposal Maintenance Easier
Based upon their routine calls, professional plumbers have a list of common activities homeowners should avoid. Some are common sense while others have been accepted for a long time. Do you recognize any of these happening in your kitchen sink? The most common “don’ts” include:
- No hot water poured into a clogged unit – The very hot water melts fats and makes unclogging the disposal more difficult. The hotter the water the greater the risk.
- Never add bleach or drain cleaners – caustic chemicals may or may not do any good (even commercial drain cleaners labeled for disposals are questionable). There’s an additional danger from bleach or harsh chemical fumes and splashes.
- Ice doesn’t sharpen blades – have you been told a crushing a batch of ice cubes down the disposal drain sharpens disposal blades? It’s a myth. Disposals don’t have sharp blades. They have heavy impellers that aren’t sharp to begin with. Ice can actually cause damage.
- No fats, oils and grease – poured into the disposal these liquids solidify as they cool. Solidified greases gunk up the impellers and clog drains. Adding hot water makes the situation worse.
When Garbage Disposal Maintenance Is Not Enough
Do you neglect your garbage disposal? Of course you do, most everybody does. Paying attention to these basic checklist items extends the life of every garbage disposal. But, like every machine, especially those with moving parts, disposals don’t last forever. The better you care for it, the longer it lives. Eventually you’ll need to consider a replacement. You’ll have choices. There’s no “one size fits all,” when it comes to under-sink installations.
The size of a new unit depends on several things, including the proposed location, what you use it for most often and your water/sewer system. Rural installations require more thought than homes attached to city sewer.
Sauk Plains Plumbing & Pumps has skilled, licensed plumbers on call to respond to any emergency situation. They’re also ready to repair or replace garbage disposal systems.
Call Sauk Plains Plumbing at 608-798-2121 when you need a certified plumber or to discuss appropriate garbage disposals. Have questions? We’ll suggest a routine garbage disposal maintenance plan for your Cross Plains WI, Verona, Waunakee or Middleton WI area home.