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We can all agree that garbage disposals are one of the greatest modern inventions. They’re great for throwing out expired food and getting rid of unwanted leftovers. They also prevent us from having stinky garbage cans before the trash man comes.

But, we have a tendency to take our garbage disposals for granted – until it’s too late and the unit becomes clogged or breaks down for good. To extend the life of your garbage disposal, follow these tips and you’ll be preventing clogs and jams before they start.

Tip #1. Run the disposal for good measure.

It’s important to run your garbage disposal on a regular basis, even if you don’t eat at home often or you travel frequently. We recommend turning on the water and running the disposal every few days to get the parts moving. Otherwise, the unit can rust, corrode, or freeze up. Also, leftover food that’s inside the unit can harden, thereby causing clogs and bad odors.

Tip #2. Run cold water only.

Hot water works great for cleaning dishes, but it’s not good for your garbage disposal. You want to run cold water – not hot – when running the garbage disposal.

When hot water melts the food in disposal, it causes the waste to cling to the sides. Instead, cold water helps harden food so it’s easier for the disposal to grind up and push down the drain.

Tip #3. Keep it grinding.

After the disposal finishes grinding up the waste, continue running the water and the unit for a minute. This will ensure that all of the food has been flushed down the drainpipe to prevent clogging.

Another option is to run cold water with a little dish soap down the drain after you’re done grinding up waste. This cleans the disposal out and ensures that nothing’s left behind or clinging to the sides of the unit.

Tip # 4. Cut the food into small pieces.

Like our teeth, the blades on garbage disposal are only so big and can’t efficiently grind up large chunks of food. So, you can’t expect miracles if you feed the unit large chunks of meat or other food.

Go easy on your unit, and treat it with respect. Cut large chunks into smaller pieces and only put a few pieces down at a time. Otherwise, the disposal can get overworked and clog or jam, or worse, the unit can break altogether.

Tip # 5. Grind up some citrus fruit.

Soap and cold water work great for keeping the disposal clean. But once in a while, it’s a good idea to toss the peel of a lemon, orange or lime down the disposal. The peel clears excess waste and it’s great for eliminating unpleasant odors.

What Not to Put Down the Garbage Disposal

There are some foods that just don’t grind up easily, so you want to avoid putting them down the disposal. These include:

  • Grease
  • Oil
  • Potato peels
  • Large bones
  • Seeds or pits
  • Expandable foods, such as rice or pasta (starch can lead to clogs)

Following these tips can help prolong the life of your disposal. If your disposal clogs, jams or stops working altogether, call a qualified Austin plumber from Excalibur Plumbing to handle the repairs or replacement for you.

Call 512-259-7222! We gladly offer emergency services.