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Schlueter Plumbing Blog

Garbage Disposals 101

Garbage Disposals 101

For more than 90 years, garbage disposals have been a handy accessory in American kitchens. Despite their long history and popularity, questions still arise, however, about what they can handle and what they can’t, how to fix them and how to keep them going. Are you putting things into your disposal that could damage the blades or clog your drain? Do you regularly maintain your disposal? Find out now by checking out these garbage disposal care and maintenance tips.

What Can Go In

The first important rule about garbage disposals is to remember that they can handle small amounts of food waste at one time. When a garbage disposal’s blades get jammed, it’s usually because the disposal was overloaded. Cut big pieces into smaller pieces before gradually feeding them into the disposal. Second, put only easily pulverized food into your disposal. Most fruit and vegetable waste, egg shells and even ice can be safely put into a garbage disposal.

What to Keep Out

Tough, stringy or hard items such as corn husks, popcorn kernels, nut shells or peach pits can jam your disposal and seriously dull the blades. As well, soft or gooey foods such as noodles, bread, and rice can cling to the disposal’s blades and clog your sink’s drain trap. Non-food-items such as paper, plastic, and foil should never be put into a garbage disposal for the same reasons, even if they were used to cover or wrap food or are considered to be environmentally friendly.

What If It Stops?

Never put your hand or fingers into a garbage disposal to clear it without first doing two things: turning off the electric power to the disposal and wearing a steel mesh glove. However, you can usually avoid putting your hand into the disposal by first trying two other methods: After turning off the garbage disposal, use an Allen wrench to hand-crank the blades from the bottom of the unit to clear whatever is jammed. Or, try pressing the reset button on the underside of the unit. If these methods fail, call a professional plumber.

Keep It Going Strong

You can usually avoid most common garbage disposal problems with regular maintenance. The first way to keep your disposal running strong is to always run cold water into the drain while the disposal is running. Cold water will solidify any food grease or oil and allow the blades to chop it up. Secondly, when the disposal is clear of any debris, run water into the drain, turn on the disposal and pour in a tablespoon of dishwashing detergent. The detergent will clean the blades and the grinding chamber. Additionally, it will help eliminate drain and food odors.

Is it time for a new garbage disposal or need help fixing your current one? Schlueter Plumbing installs Waste King garbage disposals that feature a lifetime warranty and corrosion-proof grinding chamber. Contact us today via phone or text to 513-771-7588 to schedule your appointment.

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