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Everything You Need to Know About Garbage Disposal Care

If you're anything like us, you're using your garbage disposal regularly to keep leftover food out of your trashcan and from stinking up your kitchen.

And even though, according to Consumer Reports, more than half of Americans live in homes with one, and more than half of the people that do own one only have it because it was previously installed in their home, many of us don't know how to properly care for one in the first place!

Or we may be under the impression that we do know how to care for our garbage disposal when, in fact, the do-it-yourself maintenance performed on the system may be causing more harm than good, eventually speeding up the need for replacement.

We're Trusted Plumbers Experienced in Garbage Disposal Care

As the trusted plumber for areas throughout Prescott and various counties throughout Arizona, Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Yavapai, Coconino and Maricopa Counties is here to provide you with everything you need to know about caring for your home's garbage disposal.

Why Is My Garbage Disposal Not Working?

Our garbage disposals are frequently used, so there's no wonder why they face their fair share of problems after a considerable amount of wear and tear. Even without accidentally turning on the disposal when silverware is in between the blades, normal use will lead to a variety of common issues, including:

  • Leaks
  • Needing to be reset often
  • Stuck
  • Grinding very slow
  • Making loud noises
  • Vibrating violently

Disposals traditionally last around 11 years, so depending on when you moved into your home and when it was installed, you may have inherited a one that needs to be replaced rather than repaired. Either way, a plumber can complete an inspection and let you know if it's more cost-effective to repair or replace your disposal altogether.

What Happens if You Leave a Garbage Disposal On?

If you leave your garbage disposal on for long periods, you risk causing your motor to wear out quickly over time. Leaving it on for long periods, like disposing of large volumes of food, for example, occasionally won't kill your motor, but doing this often should be avoided, and any large volumes of food should be broken down into smaller amounts before being put down the drain.

What Happens if You Run a Garbage Disposal Without Water?

A common question our local plumbers get is: what happens if you run your garbage disposal without water? The answer: nothing good.

Without some sort of water working alongside your garbage disposal, the broken down food particles will have nothing flushing them away, causing an eventual build-up that leads to a clog in your disposal and drain pipes that won't go away without professional help.

Why Does My Garbage Disposal Smell?

Even though your garbage disposal is a very efficient way to ensure your kitchen drain doesn't get clogged, food waste doesn't always get flushed away as it should. Micro food particles and gunk left behind can cause horrid smells if regular cleaning is put off for long periods of time.

Looking for ways to keep your garbage disposal smelling great? Consider these options:

  • Throw lemon, lime, or other citrus peels into your disposal – the scent is amazing!
  • Use a little elbow grease and your trusted cleaning supplies to scrub in and around your disposal – just stick to a long nylon brush when cleaning the blades.
  • The classic combination of baking soda, vinegar, and a flush of hot water can provide you temporary relief against clogs but also eliminate odors that may be lingering in your drain.

While all the above solutions will provide your garbage disposal and drain with a refreshed smell, it's important to note that they may only provide a temporary solution if the smell is being caused by a clog in your drain, in a sewer line, or even in your garbage disposal. Proper clog removal and drain cleaning should still be performed every year!

If you're noticing an inefficiency in draining along with the offensive smells, be sure to request a professional inspection before performing any DIY garbage disposal methods.

Maintenance Tips for Your Garbage Disposal

While the team at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Yavapai, Coconino and Maricopa Counties is here to solve any of your garbage disposal and kitchen drain problems as they pop up in your home, the efficiency and reliability of your system begin with the use and weekly care of your garbage disposal.

To help you make sure you're getting the absolute most out of your home's garbage disposal, we've compiled a quick list of general do's and don'ts of garbage disposal care and maintenance:

The Do's of Garbage Disposals

Here are some general, safe-to-rely-on tips for garbage disposal care:

  • Run cold water with pasta, rice, and other grains that swell with water
  • Run hot water with food that is greasy or fatty to avoid congelation
  • Break down any large food items to avoid running your motor for longer than 30 seconds
  • Complete routine cleaning of your disposal's blades and flappers to avoid build-up
  • Do use strainers and grates that protect large scraps of food from going down drain

The Don'ts of Garbage Disposals

Be sure to avoid the following when caring for your home's garbage disposal:

  • Don't dispose of any of the following items down your garbage disposal:
    • Coffee grounds
    • Fruit seeds and pits
    • Banana peels
    • Bones
    • Nuts
    • Fish scales or shells
    • Potato peels
    • Popcorn kernels
    • Large amounts of grains
    • Any cooking grease or oil
    • Corn husks
    • Inorganic materials of any kind
  • Don't ignore your disposal needing to be reset often – this is a sign that it needs to be serviced
  • Don't try to remove any garbage disposal clogs or obstructions by hand. Instead, use tongs, pliers, or turn to the professionals for help

Request Your Professional Garbage Care Maintenance

If you're looking for a less care garbage disposal, turn to the team at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Yavapai, Coconino and Maricopa Counties for help. We'll take the time to discuss your needs and establish a comprehensive plan that'll not only capture what kitchen drain services you need, including garbage disposal cleaning, maintenance, and repairs, but also the routine plumbing services you need to keep the rest of your system flowing as it should.

All of this will help you worry less about your garbage disposal and plumbing and let you enjoy the benefits of having one!

Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Yavapai, Coconino and Maricopa Counties provides a wide variety of kitchen drain services throughout Camp Verde, Prescott, and Flagstaff – contact us online or call us now to schedule your free estimate!