15 Things You Should Never Do With a Garbage Disposal

Posted: August 31, 2016 6:00 am

 

Stainless steel kitchen sink.The garbage disposal is one of the modern kitchen’s most useful tools. No need to fish food scraps out of the sink, just wash them down. But there are some things you should never dream of doing with your garbage disposal.

1. Dumping In Non-Food Waste

It may seem obvious, but you should not use your garbage disposal to get rid of plastic, paper, general garbage, or any other sort of waste that is not food. Remember the disposal still drains to the sewers, and anything that does not decompose just ends up in our Lake Erie and our Cuyahoga River. Plus it can cause a massive, hard-to-clear backup in your pipes.

2. Pouring In Cleaning Chemicals

It is doubly important not to use chemical drain cleaners with a garbage disposal. You could irreversibly damage it. If you suspect the disposal is clogged or jammed, unplug it or disconnect the circuit breaker, and call in a professional to deal with the problem.

3. Using Hot Water With Greasy Food Waste

Hot water can cause grease to soften and gum up the works. Manufacturers often recommend using cold water so the grease hardens and is easier for the disposal to break down and flush away. As a general note, dumping too much grease down the drain is bad idea anyway. A little is fine, but large amounts should be thrown away wrapped in multiple layers of plastic bags, or using specially designed grease disposal bags or cans.

4. Disposing of Meat or Bones

Most disposals just cannot handle grinding up meat or bones. Plus it can cause all sorts of problems in your pipes and the sewer pipes connected your house. Keep such waste confined to the garbage bin.

5. Forgetting About Silverware

It may seem obvious, but we do not mean to imply you are just shoving flatware into your drains. Rather, be careful not to turn on the disposal without checking to see if any utensils are in the disposal. This can not only damage your silverware, it can cause damage to your garbage disposal as well, along with possibly causing the utensil to fly out and hurt you, too.

6. Using Too Much Soap

Lots of soap may seem like an easy way to get the dishes clean, but it can lead to big problems with your garbage disposal. Too much soap can cause massive amounts of foam and suds that can lock up the works. Plus, all that foam can take a long time to dissipate, meaning you could be stuck with a mound of foamy, dirty dishes and no way to drain the sink!

7. Skipping Maintenance

A garbage disposal is like any appliance. It will need periodic maintenance throughout its life. Check with your manufacturer to see what sort of maintenance is required for your disposal. Putting it off until later may mean a broken disposal that’s an even bigger headache to fix.

8. Running It Dry

Attempting to dispose of waste when there is no water running is a bad idea. The water helps lubricate the garbage disposal and keeps everything flowing smoothly, not to mention that once it is all in the drain pipes, the water helps flush the bits along.

9. Adding Far Too Much Waste At Once

If you have lots of food scraps to dispose of, try working in batches. Adding too much at once to the disposal can cause it to jam or clog.

10. Installing It Improperly

Garbage disposals can be tricky to get installed right. They have to be level, they have to work with both electricity and water, and they have grinding, sharp bits. If you have a dishwasher to hook up as well, that’s another whole set of concerns. When in doubt, call a professional.

11. Sticking Your Hands In

Even if it is off. If something goes wrong, unplug it or disconnect the circuit breaker, and then see what is wrong.

12. Let It Run For An Excessive Amount Of Time

There’s really no need to run a disposal for 5 minutes straight. It just wastes energy and runs down the motor. If it won’t drain or won’t grind up the waste, something is wrong and it may be time to call a professional.

13. Keeping It In Use Despite Strange Noises Or Rattles

If you notice that your garbage disposal is running weird, with strange noises, vibrations, rattles, or the like, there could be something wrong. It might be time to call a plumber. If you keep using it, the disposal could breakdown or stop working altogether, and that is an even bigger issue.

14. Grind Up Grains, Rice, Flour, Etc.

It may seem tempting, but these foods can form a sticky paste that clogs up the blades and pipes. They can then make it incredibly difficult to service the garbage disposal and the pipes as well.

15. Forgetting To Clean It

Does your garbage disposal smell funky? Have you been cleaning it? This involves grinding up about 2 cups of ice and 1 cup of rock salt. If it still reeks, a half cup each of baking soda and vinegar can help. Let it sit for a few minutes then wash it away. The smell should be gone and you should be left with a far cleaner, far less stinky sink.