shutterstock_134206400A garbage disposal is a handy thing to have in the kitchen, but it’s easy for things to go wrong with the mechanisms if they aren’t taken care of properly. If a problem occurs, not only could it damage the garbage disposal itself but it could also damage your kitchen’s plumbing, leading to expensive repairs.

The best way to avoid this is to take preventative measures that will keep you, your garbage disposal system and your wallet happy. Our tips include:

  • Be aware of what is being disposed of – A common mistake that homeowners make is to treat their garbage disposal system the same as a trash can, and this can lead to major problems with your drains. It’s important that you never put anything like fibrous foods (eg. corn husks, celery etc), large pieces of food, expandable foods (eg. pasta, rice etc) or bones down your garbage disposal as this can lead to blockages and items of food being caught. Grease and oils should also never be poured down kitchen sinks or into garbage disposals as it can solidify and cause other debris to be caught.
  • Use frequently – The more often your garbage disposal is used, the smoother the system will run, as it will prevent rust and corrosion from forming in the mechanisms. You should always run cold water when using the garbage disposal as this will not only maintain the integrity of the machinery and keep it clean, but will also prevent it from overheating.
  • Keep it clean – Great ways to keep your garbage disposal system clean include sending a few ice cubes through the system while it is running, as this will dislodge any debris that has accumulated in the pipes. If there is a foul odour coming from your pipes, then citrus and vinegar are great environmentally-friendly disinfectants that can remove bad smells and clean your drains.

If your garbage disposal system does become clogged, do not try to fix it yourself! It is especially important that you never put your hand down the drain, even when the disposal system is turned off. Call a professional plumber that has been trained in unclogging garbage disposals in order to prevent further costly damage from being done.