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The kitchen garbage disposal makes short work of smelly food scraps, easing dinner prep and cleanup. But many people don’t know how to properly care for their garbage disposal, leading to frequent jams, leaks, clogs, and other problems. Keep your disposal running trouble-free by following these dos and don’ts.

Garbage Disposal Dos

  • Do run water while grinding food: To help things flow down the pipe, always run the garbage disposal with the water running. Leave the tap on for several seconds after turning off the disposal to flush out any lingering residue.
  • Do keep the disposal clean: Dump a handful of ice cubes and a few squirts of dish soap down the drain. Then, run cold water at full blast and turn on the garbage disposal to clear gunk from the unit.
  • Do remove nasty odors: Periodically toss lemon or orange peels into the disposal. You can also freeze vinegar in ice cube trays and use this in place of regular water when freshening your disposal.
  • Do learn how to reset your garbage disposal: Most garbage disposals that appear to not be working simply need a reset. Press the garbage disposal reset button on the bottom of the unit and try running it again. If the impellers are jammed, insert an Allen wrench into the corresponding hole to give it a push-start.

Garbage Disposal Don’ts

  • Don’t treat your garbage disposal like a trash can: The most important rule is to never put anything besides food in the garbage disposal. Used cooking grease is also a big no-no because this solidifies into a gelatinous glob and slowly clogs your drain lines. Other things to keep out of your drains include fruit pits, animal bones, coffee grounds, and stringy or starchy foods.
  • Don’t dispose of high-volume waste: Your garbage disposal is designed to grind up small food scraps. If you have a lot to dispose of, feed the food into the drain a little at a time. Also, cut any large items into smaller pieces the unit can handle.
  • Don’t bother “sharpening”: It’s a common misconception that garbage disposals have “blades.” In reality, impellers mounted to a spinning plate are used to break down food waste into fine particles. These impellers do not need sharpening. Even if they did, ice would not be the way to do it.
  • Don’t use bleach or drain cleaners: These harsh chemicals could splash onto your skin or into your eyes when you run the disposal. For your safety, stick with natural products like citrus rinds, vinegar, or a good old-fashioned sink plunger.

Is your garbage disposal or other plumbing appliance acting up? Let Parley’s PPM Plumbing, Heating & Cooling lend a hand. We can install, repair, and maintain any aspect of your home’s plumbing system. Call us today at 801-226-3033 if you live in Utah County, or dial 801-229-2665 if you’re a Salt Lake County resident. You can also contact us online to ask questions or request an appointment.

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