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Since 1984

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Serving the Lubbock Area

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JD's Prompt Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning Blog

Proper Care Tips for Your Garbage Disposal


Do you think of your kitchen garbage disposal as an indestructible force that can cause anything you drop down it to vanish? We hope not—because garbage disposals, while far from fragile, have a set of limitations. 

If you want your garbage disposal in Anton, TX to continue to work for years doing its useful job, you need to know how best to take care of it. A bit of caution will go a long way toward getting your kitchen garbage disposal to its estimated fifteen-year service life.

Know What You Can and Can’t Put Down the Disposal

The most important “care and feeding” tip for your garbage disposal is the “feeding” part. Disposals aren’t industrial-strength grinding machines. If you put the wrong items down one, it can lead to a short life for the unit. 

What can go into the disposal? That’s easy to explain: soft, grindable organic food waste. The way to know if something is “grindable” is to ask yourself if your teeth can chew it up. If your teeth can, then the grind ring in the disposal can effectively grind down the food waste and send it into the drainage system of your house.

What about what can’t go into the disposal? This is a longer list:

  • Inorganic material. (I.e. actual garbage.) It’s unfortunate that garbage disposals have a misleading name, because they cannot grind down what people often think of as garbage. So no plastic packaging, no paper products, no cigarette butts, etc. Put all that in the garbage you take out to the street.
  • Hard food waste you can’t chew with your teeth. This includes meat bones, fruit pits, and unpopped popcorn kernels.
  • Fats, oils, and grease, collectively known as FOG. These materials may look harmless in their hot liquid state, but when they cool down, they turn into waxy solids that can rapidly ruin a disposal.
  • Any fibrous or stringy food, such as asparagus, celery, and onion skins. These food items often get entangled in the moving parts of the disposal.
  • Kitty litter. It’s inorganic, but worse, it clumps, and that can mean quick clogging.

Other Disposal Tips

  • When you turn on the disposal, always have water running down it. A dry disposal risks creating too much friction that can damage the moving parts.
  • You can’t “sharpen the blades” of a disposal by pouring ice cubes into the hopper. A disposal doesn’t have blades, but blunt impellers. Ice is too hard for a disposal to easily handle.
  • If you want to keep your disposal smelling pleasant, you can place lemon peels down into the hopper and run it. 
  • Another way to freshen the disposal is to pour a mixture of vinegar and baking soda into it and then run hot water through it. 

If you encounter trouble with your garbage disposal, please call for repairs right away. If your disposal is still relatively new, repairs will get it back to work without causing further damage. 

Rely on JD’s Prompt Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning to handle all your kitchen plumbing needs, including service for garbage disposals.

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