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Keep Your Garbage Disposal Fresh and Clean

Posted by Gary Gray on Sep 18, 2020

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Garbage disposals are an invaluable asset in the kitchen, but improper maintenance can lead to a variety of plumbing issues. Read David Gray's expert insight on how to keep your disposal clean and discover the best methods to rid your sink of pesky odors.

Let the Water Flow

To keep your garbage disposal working smoothly, be sure to let water flow as long as it is running. Without water, the debris passing through the disposal will not only have a higher risk of sticking to the blades, but it can also get stuck in the pipes when dry. This can lead to clogs and other problems.

It's also crucial to use cold water when running the disposal, especially if fatty or greasy material is going down the drain. Hot water can change the consistency of grease, warming it up to a liquified state. So, while grease will slide down the disposal more easily, it will re-harden as it travels farther down the pipe and cools - sticking against pipe walls and creating sludge buildup.

Avoid Overfilling the Disposal

Start slowly when putting things down the drain. Stuffing the disposal full of food before you turn it on can cause the blades can get jammed - which often requires a plumber's expertise to repair.

It is also crucial to be aware of everything in the drain before switching on the garbage disposal. Silverware, small dishware or glasses can drop into the disposal pocket by accident. If you turn on your disposal while a hard object is near the disposal blades, the item in the drain will likely be ruined - and your disposal may malfunction as well. Always check the sink carefully before flipping the switch.

Be Mindful

While it's easy to dump remaining food from dinner or old leftovers into the sink, be mindful of what you actually put down the drain. It is widely known that grease, eggshells and hard items like peach pits or bones cannot be put into a garbage disposal, but there are a few harmful foods that may come as a surprise.

Grains, pasta and rice can all wreak havoc on garbage disposals, but not from being too tough to break up. Each of these items, when broken down and mixed with water, creates a sticky paste. So although these foods are soft, they can begin to build up around disposal blades and clog pipes, causing trouble down the line.

Clean Frequently

Even if you follow the best practices for garbage disposal maintenance, these appliances are still prone to developing foul odors. To break up any built-up food pieces or sludge at the bottom of your drain, use your disposal to grind up rock salt and ice cubes. Let the water run with these for 20 to 30 seconds, then add in a few slices of citrus to leave the disposal smelling fresh and clean.

For questions about your garbage disposal, home plumbing system, inspections and more, call the experts at David Gray Plumbing at 904.724.7211.

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