Garbage Disposal Maintenance Tips

23 October 2014
 Categories: , Blog

If your kitchen sink is equipped with a garbage disposal, you know how much easier it can make your kitchen chores. If, however, your disposal is not maintained properly or if it's not operated correctly, you may encounter a breakdown that could necessitate extensive repairs and plumbing work. Here are some do's and don'ts when it comes to operating your garbage disposal:


  • Maintain disposal cleanliness. To keep your garbage clean, pour a couple drops of liquid dish washing soap inside and let the unit run for about a minute after you wash your dishes.
  • Use your garbage disposal on a regular basis. Frequent use helps prevent corrosion and rust, and it also helps prevent obstructions from building up between the blades.
  • Grind up hard materials such as ice cubes, small fish or chicken bones and egg shells. Doing so helps promote a scouring effect inside the chamber, helping to keep the walls of the garbage disposal clean.
  • Turn on the cold water with a brisk flow when running the garbage disposal. This will help solidify oils or grease so that can be ground up before they reach the trap.
  • Occasionally grind the peels from oranges and lemons to help clean and freshen unpleasant drain odors.
  • Cut big pieces of food into smaller pieces, and place them into the disposal separately instead of shoving them in all at once.


  • Don't grind flammable items.
  • Don't grind paper, metal plastic or glass.
  • Don't grind coffee grounds. While coffee grounds won't really harm your unit, and may actually help cut down on bad smells, over time, they can accumulate and cause a clog.
  • Don't grind cigarettes
  • Don't grind celery, onion skins or corn husks because these items are very fibrous and the fibers can get tangled up and jam the motor, as well as cause a clog.
  • Don't pour hot water down your disposal when grinding food because this will cause existing grease to turn into a liquid state, potentially causing a drain obstruction.
  • Don't turn off the water or garbage disposal until the grinding is thoroughly complete. Then, turn off the disposal before turning off the water, which should run for an additional few seconds or so to allow any remaining particles to get flushed away.
  • Don't overload the disposal with potato peels because the starches will form into a paste and may cause the blades to stick.
  • Don't put rice or pasta in your disposal. These foods expand in the presence of water, and when they expand in your garbage disposal or pipes, clogs can develop.
  • Don't put large pork or beef bones in your disposal
  • Don't use drain cleaners or bleach in your garbage disposal because these harsh chemicals can damage the pipes and blades.

If your garbage disposal malfunctions despite following the above do's and don'ts, call a plumber. Experienced plumbers have the knowledge and tools to address just about any problem you have with your garbage disposal.

Also, even if the unit is not broken, but if you have dropped an object down the disposal, it's still a good idea to rely on the experience of a plumber to retrieve the item. For Dummies states, "never put your hand in the disposal. Remember that the switch may be defective, so keep your hands out of the disposal even when power to the machine is turned off."

Unless the power is cut from the circuit breaker or fuse box, you are risking an accident if you try to retrieve an object from your garbage disposal. In addition to repairing your garbage disposal, your plumber from a place like Bishop Plumbing can offer additional tips and tricks to help keep your unit running smoothly.