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  • Writer's pictureTony Cunha

Garbage disposal dos and don'ts

These are tips and tricks I've found working on garbage disposals over 15 years.

The purpose of garbage disposal is to decrease kitchen waste and grind up small food scraps into smaller particles and liquid, allowing existing infrastructures, like underground sewers and wastewater treatment plants, to manage their disposal.

There are many brands of garbage disposals varying prices usually dictated by the horsepower of the motor. You will see sizes range from 1/3 to 1 1/2 hp or horsepower. The larger the motor the more food material it can handle and the better the food will be broken down.

Running your disposal frequently is very important. Not doing so will cause slow draiing issues. Rust and small food particles from rinsing and washing dishes will get stuck in the small holes of the garbage disposal. What to avoid putting in your garbage disposal and subsequently down your drain. This is broken-down to 3 categories. These items will damage or disable your disposal most disposals that are smaller than 1 hp.



Large chunks of meat and vegetables

Foreign objects such as broken glass, bottle caps, plastic pieces, silver wear and anything small enough to fit down the the sink opening.

Over the years I have seen many items in the disposal. All of the above can jam the disposal causing you to call me to clear it out. Some items can do much more damage than just jamming the disposal. They can break parts and or cause leaks. These next items will wreak havoc on your drains costing you hundreds to clear.


Oil and grease


Fibrous vegetables and peels

Do not overfill your disposal. Run small amounts at a time while cold water is running. Cold water will ensure your disposal won't overheat while running. This will help insure you drain keeps flowing at a good rate clearing all the debris. Running hot water 30 seconds after turning off the disposal is a great idea as well.

Your disposal needs maintenance. Below are a few tasks you can do on a regular basis. Make sure to turn on cold water then turn on disposal before introducing the following.

Add ice cubes to clean the disposal and make margaritas. Please don't try the margaritas!

Run a little bit of household degreaser or garbage disposal cleaner while running the disposal. Run small pieces of your favorite smelling fruit peels through the disposal for a fresh smell.

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