Do’s and don’ts of garbage disposals



A garbage disposal can make your life a whole lot easier...or, it can stink up your kitchen. It all depends on how you use and maintain it.

Some homeowners get frustrated with their garbage disposal because it smells or doesn't effectively grind food waste. However, these are both signs that it just needs a little more care. Here are some do's and don'ts when it comes to using your garbage disposal.

Do: Clean it regularly
Because you're putting all sorts of food particles down there, chances are that some will get lodged and start to rot. That's why it's important to clean it. Horizon Services recommended using a few vinegar ice cubes to simultaneously clean the disposal, sharpen the blades and kill odor-causing bacteria. Just put a few down into the disposal, then run the grinder. If the odors still persist, you can pour a little bit of baking soda down the drain and let it sit for a few hours before flushing with cool water. Do this at least twice a month to keep it running efficiently.

Don't: Grind certain foods
Just because a food is biodegradable, that doesn't mean it's safe to put into the disposal. As a general rule, avoid grinding the following items:

  • Fibrous vegetables, like celery, asparagus or corn husks
  • Food that expands when wet, such as pasta and rice
  • Anything that's very greasy
  • Animal bones
  • Large quantities of any food.

Do: Use the appliance correctly
If you haven't looked at your disposal's user manual in a while, you may benefit from quickly refreshing your memory on proper use. Many people forget that you should only use cold water when grinding waste and should only place small amounts of food in there. Take a few minutes to find out if you're following best practices with your garbage disposal, and make sure to explain proper use to your family as well.

Do: Use a sink strainer
You may think that you don't need to cover your drain because you have a garbage disposal, but you should always use a sink strainer. This inexpensive piece will prevent foreign objects, such as utensils, jewelry and large pieces of food, from falling down the drain when the machine is idle.

Don't: Just assume it's broken
There's often a quick fix to get your disposal up and running again. When it isn't grinding, look for a reset button on the motor. This will be the quick and easy solution for the majority of your problems.

Finally, don't forget to invest in a TotalProtect® Home Warranty to protect your garbage disposal and other major systems and appliances in the event of a mechanical problem.

The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.