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Experience Counts: Garbage Disposals

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Experience Counts: Garbage Disposals

If you have a garbage disposal, you know how handy it can be when you are the washing dishes and disposing of waste. Frequently, we get calls from our tenants, complaining about clogged or frozen garbage disposals or the kitchen drain backing up. Unfortunately, some of our tenants think the garbage disposal can dispose of everything but the kitchen sink, leading to problems and a mess.

If not operated or maintained properly, a garbage disposal can break down or lock. Clogged or blocked disposals can cause nightmares for the tenant, owner and property manager.

Here are a few tips and tricks for the proper care and feeding of your garbage disposal.

Garbage Disposal Do’s:

  • To keep your garbage disposal clean, pour a little dish soap in the disposal and run it for a minute or so with cold water to get rid of any foul smells. Running a little ice in it is also helpful.
  • Try to remember turn on your disposal once in a while to prevent rust and corrosion and ensure that all parts stay spinning. This prevents obstructions from accumulating.
  • Grind food waste with COLD WATER. Cold water helps keep grease or oils in a more solid state so that they can be ground down.
  • Lastly I like to recommend that my tenants use the disposal for only the smallest scraps or those miscellaneous items that manage to make it down the drain. If you are cutting veggies for a salad or juice for example, place a paper towel in the sink and save all the scraps for a compost pile or toss in your green waste trash. Either way, the greens don’t easily grind up, so throwing it in the trash is the best option.

Garbage Disposal Dont’s:

  • Don’t put anything in the disposal that is not biodegradable. A garbage disposal is not a trash can and is for food scraps only. Non food items can damage both blades and the motor.
  • Don’t pour grease, oil or fat into your garbage disposal or drain. Grease will slowly accumulate and impede your garbage disposal’s grinding ability as well as clog drains.
  • Don’t use hot water when grinding food waste. Hot water will cause grease to liquefy and food to soften clogging the disposal and causing drains to clog.
  • Don’t grind extremely fibrous material like corn husks, celery stalks, onion skins, and artichokes. Fibers from these can tangle and jam the garbage disposal motor and block drains .
  • Don’t turn off the motor or water until grinding is completed. When grinding is complete, turn off the the garbage disposal first. Let water continue to run for at least 15 seconds, flushing out any remaining particles. Then turn off water.
  • Don’t put too many potato peels down the garbage disposal. The starches in the potatoes will turn into a thick paste and may cause blades to stick.
  • Don’t put large amounts of food down the garbage disposal. Feed food into the garbage disposal a little at a time with the cold water running; this will help the food scraps flow down freely through the drain pipes and plumbing.
  • Don’t put expandable foods into your garbage disposal. Foods like pasta and rice expand when you add water in a pot; they do the same thing once inside your pipes or garbage disposal and are the cause of many jams and clogs.
  • Don’t grind animal bones. (throw in the trash)
  • Avoid  putting coffee grounds down the garbage disposal. They won’t harm the garbage disposal and they’ll actually help eliminate odors. However, they can accumulate in drains and pipes, causing clogs. Best to avoid.
  • Don’t use harsh chemicals like bleach or drain cleaners. They can damage blades and pipes. Borax is a natural sink cleaner and sanitizer that effectively works on odor-causing mold and mildew that accumulates in garbage disposals.

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