Your Garbage Disposal Hates These Items: And Other Tips to Keep Your Disposal Working Properly

Your Garbage Disposal Hates These Items: And Other Tips to Keep Your Disposal Working Properly

Photo By Naked King at istock

Even Your Growling Garbage Disposal Has Its Devouring Limits

Sometimes you know you’re in trouble, other times you find out when you switch on the garbage disposal. Can you tell by the sound what’s destroying your disposal? Is it pieces of broken glass, a peach pit, a fork or a chicken bone? What do you do once you hear these ominous sounds — and what should you avoid doing? Do you need a drain cleaning service to clear it out? Are there ways to avoid damage to your disposal unit, silverware, and fingers? First things first – let’s look at what NOT to grind or send down your garbage disposal.

The List: What Tends to Cause the Most Disposal Damage

The biggest and most obvious problem for your disposal is trying to chop up hard objects which jam, break and wear out the blades and mechanism. While the disposal is a powerful device, these objects are just too tough to break down — such as:

  • Bones
  • Egg Shells
  • Fruit Pits
  • Seafood Shells
  • Broken Glasses and Dishes
  • Spoons and Other Utensils

Some Problematic Items You May Not Have Considered

  • These items not only cause damage to the blades of your garbage disposal but can also coat the blades with grime preventing them from doing their job effectively. This can lead to overheating, accumulation of material in the disposal, and unpleasant smells arising over time as things continue to get trapped.  It’s best to also avoid the following foods that may seem safe for the drain:
  • Fruit peels like banana, apple
  • Stringy and high-fiber vegetables like celery, lettuce
  • Grease and oil
  • Absorbent items like rice and pasta
  • Non-food like sponge pieces, screws, and nails, other items that may fall into the sink

P-Trap Perils — Why Does Rice Clog Your Drain?

As absorbent food like rice and pasta heads down your drain, it can expand and fill the pipe, especially in the “P trap” which loops below. If you put in too much of this material at once or use too little water flow to keep it moving, you can create quite a clog. Better to drain these and throw out the solid material.

Fetching Stray Items Safely

If you’re going to do anything with the garbage disposal, the first step is to cut the power — at the sink, but also at the breaker to be sure. Even with this done, don’t reach in and complicate things. Pliers will usually grab what you need to. Beyond that, it might be time to call for a drain cleaning service to make sure everything is out of your disposal and associated plumbing.

When You Can’t Get Everything Out

It can take a lot of time and potential damage to try to get pieces of debris out of the garbage disposal. Some people use a vacuum cleaner for glass, but before you spend a lot of time on a potentially incomplete and messy job, why not call us at bluefrog Plumbing + Drain for advice and drain cleaning service? That’s what we’re here for.

Stinky Disposal Problems and Solutions

Home remedies for disposal smells include running a vinegar mixture through from time to time, grinding a couple of cups of ice and then some salt with the water flowing throughout the process, and processing a few well-chopped lemons. These techniques will help remove slimy residue and help deodorize your disposal. If you’ve still got problems and smells, the situation may be more complex, involving the main pipes or sewer, in which case you may need a professional drain cleaning service.

Regular Maintenance of Your Disposal

First, wash carefully around the entrance to the disposal when you do the dishes. Then perform a “stinky disposal” treatment or take a little time and put two cups of baking soda in with a cup of vinegar, let it fizz for an hour or so, get the cold water flowing and turn on the disposal to process the solution. Beyond that, you may want to have us take a look to see what’s up if you have any leaks, noises, or other concerns, and consider drain cleaning service to clear things up.

Dishwasher and Garbage Disposal Share Your Drain

In many homes, the dishwasher and garbage disposal share the same drain pipe into the wall and so it helps to pay attention to which is operating. Have you ever found that your sink fills up when you run the dishwasher? Running the faucet and disposal for a few seconds can clear out lingering food debris which causes the backup — this is also a great preventive measure to do each time you run the dishwasher. Here is one case where you might be able to quickly fix a backed-up sink yourself, without any drain cleaning service.

Ensuring a Good Flow

Even though water conservation is important, keeping water flowing through the disposal while it’s working is essential. What happens when the flow is too low is that material sticks and accumulates, limiting flow over time and reducing the effectiveness of your disposal. Eventually, you could need a drain cleaning service if you find the sink is mostly or totally clogged.

Self-Help Doesn’t Address Any Damage

One issue with fixing your disposal issues yourself is that you don’t know what condition the disposal is in once it seems to be working. You may have issues with the blades, seals, or motor which will arise again and eventually require professional repair or disposal unit replacement. For safety and peace of mind, call in the professionals to take a look. In addition to drain cleaning service, we offer expert plumbing services.

It’s Possible That It Was Just the Disposal’s Time

Here’s a reminder – disposals have a finite lifetime. Eventually the blades, mechanism, motor and seals start to give out, and your best bet is to invest in a new and efficient replacement.

For Expert Garbage Disposal Care

We can help you with a few hints over the phone or hop to it and put our expertise to work. Give bluefrog Plumbing + Drain a call for drain cleaning service and other professional plumbing at 1-844-HOP-TO-IT.

CALL NOW For Emergency Service!

Find A bluefrog Plumber Near You
Proactive Protection Program - Plumbing Company

bfpad Proactive Protection ProgramTM

Many of our customers are so happy with our service that they become a bfpad Proactive Protection Program™! Contact us to learn more.

  • Priority Service
  • Free Annual Plumbing Evaluation
  • 15% OFF Service