Do you take your garbage disposal for granted? Or do you routinely maintain it as you should? Though most homeowners rarely think twice about their kitchen plumbing, when a garbage disposal is involved in the mix, performing routine maintenance is essential. Why? To ensure the long-term functionality of both the disposal apparatus and the drain, of course!

At Steve’s Plumbing & Heating, we know drain problems aren’t anyone’s cup of tea. So to help you avoid an emergency plumbing situation, we’ve outlined a few tips to keep your garbage disposal functioning in top form.

How Garbage Disposals Function

Before we get into our maintenance tips, let’s cover how your disposal functions, so you understand why maintenance is so important. Here’s what happens each time you turn on the apparatus:

1.      When you place food waste in the garbage disposal, it sits in the hopper chamber while the apparatus is off.

2.      When you power up the disposal, the motor begins turning the flywheel. The impellers and shredder ring attached to the flywheel then grind up the food waste inside the hopper chamber.

3.      As your faucet runs water into the garbage disposal drain, that water flushes the ground waste into the sewer system and out through a waste discharge outlet. 

Because your garbage disposal handles more solid matter than any other drain in your home, without routine maintenance, it’s more likely to develop clogs. If you neglect regular cleaning and use the apparatus improperly, you risk damaging the disposal beyond repair and potentially, damaging your plumbing, too.

Proper Disposal Use: Items That Don’t Belong

To preserve the functionality of your garbage disposal, first and foremost, you must use it according to its design. That means there are several food items that never belong in the hopper chamber, which include:

●        Coffee grounds

●        Grease, oil, and fatty substances

●        Bones and seafood shells

●        Starchy foods, such as potato peels, rice, and pasta

●        Fibrous vegetables

When you attempt to grind the above items in the disposal, they can become stuck in the shredder blade, rendering the unit non-operational. And, because the disposal cannot fully pulverize these items, they can also contribute to severe clogs in the plumbing system. To avoid creating a clogged drain, familiarize yourself with all of the items that don’t belong in your disposal and refrain from stuffing them down the drain.

Flush and Clean the Disposal Regularly

Though your garbage disposal is designed to remove food waste from the hopper chamber and drain, food particles will inevitably collect over time. The easiest way to prevent a clogged drain is to run plenty of water down the disposal each time you use it. When it’s finished grinding up waste, continue running water down the drain for 30 seconds.

In addition to flushing the apparatus with water, more thorough cleaning is also necessary. You can perform a simple cleaning by pouring baking soda and vinegar into the disposal to dissolve buildup. After the two substances finish reacting, flush the disposal with tap water for 30 seconds. Periodically running lemon peels through the apparatus can help prevent or resolve unpleasant odors if they develop.

If you’re dealing with a slow drain or finicky disposal, opting for professional drain cleaning or plumbing services is the best course of action.

Need Drain Cleaning or Plumbing Services? Contact Steve’s Plumbing & Heating Today

If your garbage disposal is acting up, don’t hesitate to contact our team at Steve’s Plumbing & Heating for help! With over 85 years of experience and four convenient locations in Wisconsin Rapids, Stevens Point, Marshfield, and Wausau, our 24/7 expertise is right around the corner whenever you need it. To learn more about our services, schedule your appointment, or request a service estimate, give our team a call at 715-421-1800 or send us a message on our contact page, and we’ll be in touch promptly.