Maintaining Your Garbage Disposal

Maintaining Your Garbage Disposal

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Your Garbage Disposal: A Tough Appliance That Needs Some Tender Care

Let’s talk about the care and feeding of that growing beast under your sink, your garbage disposal. Peeling veggies over the sink and sending the remains down the disposal makes cleanup after meals a lot easier. The same goes for grinding up leftovers culled from the fridge or other foodstuffs past their prime. When the wrong materials go down the hole, however, trouble awaits.

It’s Not a Goat

Goats are said to eat anything, including tin cans. Garbage disposals are a bit more finicky, preferring soft materials and those which don’t stick to or wrap around the blades. To keep the whirling blades and beefy plumbing down there in good working order, digesting your garbage and staying clean and fresh between its meals, it’s important to know what must not go below, and how you can help it with occasional treatments. You would be very surprised what “innocent foods” can cause garbage disposal problems and a call to us, your trusted plumber!

A Quick Overview of Garbage Disposal Technology

It’s garbage in, garbage out as a convenience when you’re working near the sink. Garbage disposals grind food material and mix it with water flowing from your sink to help you dispose of it while avoiding pipe blockages. The process takes place inside a sealed unit which a plumber inserts in your drain line, using a powerful motor and grinding blades designed for the job — but vulnerable to being damaged or stuck when the wrong materials drop into the impeller blades.

Foods to Avoid Grinding:

  • Slippery Foods — Potato and fruit peels, grease
  • Tough Foods — Bones, eggshells, coffee grounds, fruit pits
  • Tangling Foods — Celery, string beans
  • Foods Which Could Cause Blockages in the P Trap Below — Rice, pasta

Minor Sink Blockages

Too much stuff can keep the garbage disposal from working through it all at once. It’s best to feed material in slowly with some water running, and if it does back up, make sure it’s turned off before you use salad tongs or some other sturdy utensil to pull some garbage out before you attempt to process the rest. Call your plumber if that doesn’t work, because we can’t emphasize it enough: no fingers down the disposal! It may seem like the easiest way, but accidents do happen, and we don’t want them happening to you.

Garbage Disposal Doesn’t Run?

A jammed disposal can be one cause of silence when you turn it on, and the other likely situation is a popped circuit breaker in the unit itself. This can happen because the unit is overheating if it’s been working hard, or there may be an internal cause. Of course, your home electrical panel may hold the clue as well. Call your plumber who can sort it out — we not only get it working, we get it working safely.

Rattling When It Runs — Did You Lose Something?

Bones, glass, metal and even your precious ring can fall into a garbage disposal and make a terrible sound. This is definitely a job for a plumber, who can inspect for blade and unit damage as well as retrieve the item. Turn it off immediately and give us a call for the safest solution.

Periodic Cleaning

A clean garbage disposal smells better and often does its job better because you’ve removed any deposits which accumulated on the blades. Use the plumber’s secret, a mixture of vinegar and baking soda followed by a warm rinse.


Commercial garbage disposal cleaners are simple — you just grind one periodically to neutralize odors and add a fresh scent. You can also do a home version with lemons, something plumbers do to make their own kitchen sink smell fresh. Just make sure you use whole pieces of lemon and not just the peel, which can jam the mechanism.

Garbage Disposals and Dishwashers Have a Close Relationship

Your garbage disposal and dishwasher may have a common connection to your kitchen sink’s drain, and problems can arise if all the lines aren’t clear. The dishwasher’s outflow, for example, can be affected by a plugged garbage disposal and back up through its vent. Check with your plumbing company if you’re experiencing outflow problems or backups through the sink. It’s important to ensure that both appliances remain clean and clear for proper operation.

Leaks and Blockages

If your garbage disposal connections are loosening, you may get leaks under the sink. Blockages further down the drainpipe can also lead to backups that, instead of simply flowing up into the sink, also put pressure on the garbage disposal connections and leak from them as well. Drains are our specialty — give our plumbers a call to get expert attention when this happens.

Time to Replace?

If your garbage disposal blades are no longer working correctly or you’re getting leaks in places besides the connections, it may be time to replace the unit. These maintenance tips should help prolong the life of your disposal, but the wear and vibration eventually do take their toll. We’ll be glad to replace the unit and also check and repair any other kitchen sink plumbing such as the spray hose and diverter valve, hot and cold-water valve packing which prevents leaks and eventually needs replacement, and sink drain and P-trap tightness and cleanliness. We take pride in your plumbing!

Faster Garbage Disposal Service, 24/7

When everyone’s gathered for a family dinner and the disposal is working overtime, problems may arise where you need to call us for a quick repair. We know you need your sink! We’re available 24/7 for urgent repairs. It’s also easy to make an appointment for a plumber visit at a convenient time if you prefer.

bluefrog Plumbing + Drain Jumps When You Call Us

No matter what your plumbing issues, bluefrog Plumbing + Drain is your expert plumber at the ready around the clock. Give us a call and we’ll put your mind at rest, whether it’s an impending flood or an appliance replacement. Keep our number ready for emergencies, it’s 844-HOP-TO-IT!

CALL NOW For Emergency Service!

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