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How to Care for Your Garbage Disposal

garbage-disposal-repairOne of the most convenient kitchen appliances can also be one of the most annoying. Your garbage disposal helps to protect your plumbing. More importantly, for most homeowners, it helps make cooking and cleanup into a much easier job. While some things must go into the trash, you can often scrape your plate into the disposal and not worry about what goes into the pipes.

However, some people take this too far. You should be worried about your garbage disposal—to an extent—and everyone in the home should work to minimize the number of times it breaks. In the following guide, read some tips for preventing your garbage disposal from struggling in the first place.

The Number One Rule: No Trash

The first rule of keeping a garbage disposal in the best shape possible should be the same in every home: no trash! This is something to repeat to your children over and over again. Only food belongs in the garbage disposal—and even then, only certain foods apply (but we’ll get to that later).

Even seemingly small bits of paper and plastic can be harmful to the disposal. Plastic wrappers, paper products, cigarette butts, bottle caps, broken glass, paper towels, and other products won’t get broken down in the disposal, so keep a trash can close to the sink!

Ask Yourself: Could I Chew This without Cracking a Tooth?

Your garbage disposal does not have sharp “blades” as you may think. It’s the speed at which the motor turns, along with a grinding plate below that grinds up pieces into even smaller bits, that really does the job. So instead of thinking about sharp blades when you scrape food scraps into the disposal, ask yourself this: could I chew this with my own teeth? If the answer is “probably not,” then it doesn’t belong. Examples include:

  • Seed and Nutshells
  • Avocado Skins
  • Meat Bones
  • Popcorn Kernels
  • Onion Skins
  • Ice
  • Fruit Pits

Limit Portion Sizes

It’s good advice for many parts of life: limit portions. Even if the food you put down the garbage disposal is known to be safe, it can really cause damage when you have several heaps of food in the drain. You may have to cut up food into smaller bits, waiting until some goes down before adding any more.

This especially applies to stringy foods like celery and asparagus, which could wrap against the impeller. We recommend putting these and expandable foods, like rice and pasta, in the trash if possible instead.

Keep It Clean

Finally, you can care for your garbage disposal by keeping it clean. This means avoiding greasy buildup by keeping fats, oils, and grease out of the drains. (That’s not to mention how badly these can clog up the pipes).

Do not clean pipes using cleaning chemicals, which are harsh and can damage pipes. If you notice smells from the drains or worry about them moving slowly, you can always try a combination of baking soda followed up by vinegar.

Whatever you need for your plumbing in Broomall, PA, contact Murphy’s Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning.

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