Using Your Garbage Disposal Effectively

With the holiday season in full swing, your home might be hosting more friends and family than usual, and your kitchen will likely be doing most of the work to keep them well fed and entertained. It's likely that your kitchen houses one of your most used, yet often most misunderstood, plumbing appliances – your garbage disposal. 

If you're going to be cooking, cleaning, and disposing of food waste for an influx of guests during this time of year, knowing the proper ways to utilize your garbage disposal is key to preventing any plumbing emergencies or long term, sustained damage. 

Using Water

One of the most commons rules to using your kitchen sink's garbage disposal is that you should have the water running while it is on. While this is very true, there is a wrinkle to this rule that can greatly impact how effective your machine can be at chopping up food waste. 

Oftentimes, people might think using hot water to rinse and clean dishes is best, but this is something you should avoid if you plan on running your garbage disposal after. Cold water will allow for any bits of fat and grease to solidify, which in turn will be easier to grind up and drain. Using warm to hot water with your garbage disposal can actually cause these fats to liquify and lead to drain clogs and disposal jams. 

What Waste is Allowed? 

Your garbage disposal should not be seen as the be-all end-all for your household's food waste. Some of the types of foods that should never be put in the disposal include, but are not limited to, potato peels, fats, oils, grease, rice, pasta, and even bones. Any of those should be put into your garbage can, and with any food you do decide to put in your disposal, it's important to not overdo it.

Overfilling your garbage disposal with any type of food can lead to trouble, causing jams immediately, or slowly creating a problem over time. Along with overfilling, you should also be sure to fully grind up the things you put in the disposal. This will ensure that nothing will be large enough to clog or jam into the drainpipe. 

How To Clean Your Garbage Disposal

When cleaning any kitchen or water adjacent appliance, you should always unplug it from its power source. Once you've done this to your garbage disposal, you can start the cleaning process. Be sure you have no large items stuck inside the disposal such as non-chopped food, spoons, forks, or other utensils – they can sometimes be removed while the power is disconnected.

From your freezer, place a small handful or two of ice cubes into the disposal and anywhere from a quarter to a half cup of coarse salt, optionally add the peel of an orange or lemon as well. Restore power to the unit and run the disposal for about a minute. Optionally, you could flush the drain and disposal with white vinegar as well.

If you are having garbage disposal issues, or any have any other plumbing needs this holiday season, contact Coleman Plumbing today. 

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