Perhaps it is what the name garbage disposal implies, or perhaps it is because of the way we were raised, but somewhere along the line, garbage disposal etiquette has become a lost art form. This is unfortunate because due to the general disregard we have for our garbage disposals, and the abuse they endure by the seemingly naive sink operator, plumbers’ schedules remain booked with appointments to fix nasty situations that could easily be avoided. Here, we would like to take a moment to educate you on the proper care and maintenance of your garbage disposal to promote mutual trust and respect and reduce your call volume to your local Garland plumber.

Use the proper garbage disposal operating sequence.

As with any machine, your garbage disposal will perform better, last longer, and malfunction less if the proper operating sequence is followed. For optimal results use this order:

    • 1. Run cool water,
    • 2. Turn on the disposal,
    • 3. Gradually push food scraps in (do not use force or put everything in at once!),
    • 4. Run the disposal until it sounds clear,
    • 5. Turn off the disposal but allow water to run for an additional 10 seconds or so to flush the drain adequately.

Put the right things through the garbage disposal.

This is where the devices name gets confusing, but perhaps we should call it an “Oops Disposal.” Despite its name, your garbage disposal should not be used as a garbage can. Its intended use is to grind up scraps of food that were left on plates and silverware so that when it is rinsed down the sink, it doesn’t for a clog. The garbage disposal provides a landing pit to collect small chunks of food so that they can be blended into smaller, safer pieces that can easily be carried out with your water. Residential plumbing systems — well, any plumbing system, in fact — is not designed to carry or process solids, it is meant to carry waste water away from your home and return clean potable water. Never put non-food items in your garbage disposal, nor whole foods or fibrous foods such as meat, stringy vegetables, or banana peels. It is worth mentioning that your plumbing system should never be used to dispose of grease, oils, or fats — they do the same thing to your pipes as they do your vascular system: stick to the walls and causes blockages.

Clean your garbage disposal regularly.

Because it is located beneath the sink, the common happenstance is out of sight, out of mind. However, it is very important to the health, safety, and performance of your kitchen to ensure that your garbage disposal is cleaned regularly. Don’t worry, no need to take it apart or reach your hand into the disposal — please, NEVER place your hand into the disposal, ever. Grinding the right things can provide all the cleaning your disposal needs. Sprinkle a little bit of baking soda into it and then toss in some lemon or lime slices or ice cubes. These things will help break up any stuck-on foods on the blades and will help cure any ill smells from rotting food particles. Never use harsh chemicals such as bleach or drain cleaners as these can corrode the blades and cause them to rust, not to mention it runs you the risk of dangerous splash back when you run the disposal.

The care and maintenance of your garbage disposal are important to the convenience and function of your kitchen and indoor plumbing system. While proper garbage disposal care is relatively easy, it seems that not many people take the time to think about it until their garbage disposal is malfunctioning. You can prevent the headache a malfunctioning disposal can cause — backup of dirty dishwater, poorly draining sink, foul smell — and a call to your local plumber by just implementing these few easy tips. If you do find yourself needing a plumber in Garland for your garbage disposal or any other plumbing emergency or routine plumbing service, call the experts at C & C Slab Leak and Plumbing. Our plumbers are equipped with the right tools and superior plumbing etiquette to get the job done right the first time, call for your estimate now.