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Garbage Disposal Maintenance Guide

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Hands washing a dish in a white kitchen sink.

Wondering how to keep your garbage disposal running smoothly? Here are the dos and don’ts you need to know for at-home disposal maintenance.

Disposal Maintenance: What to Do

Flush it Out

After each use, flush the garbage disposal with hot water and soap for about 15 seconds in order to flush out excess debris and grease buildup. It’s important to use hot water and soap because this will break down grease build up on the blades and mechanism which will help push any excess debris through the smaller pipes into the main drainage stack.

Run it Regularly (Even if You Don’t Need to)

You should run your disposal every few days, even if you didn’t use it. Simply run hot water with a bit of soup and turn it on for a few seconds in order to prevent the blades from rusting due to lack of use. This will also help flush out any excess food bits that may be clinging to the blades.

Use Vinegar and Baking Soda

If your garbage disposal starts to smell, the first step is to flush it out with hot water, but if there is still a lingering odour, pour a mixture of vinegar and baking soda down the drain while running the disposal, then flush with hot water again. This will get your sink smelling fresh again.

Don’t Ignore Problems

If your garbage disposal develops a consistent problem, such as an odour that will not go away after flushing with water, baking soda, and vinegar, or frequent clogging, it’s time to call in a plumber to identify the issue. The sooner you have your garbage disposal looked at after noticing the problem, the better. Ignoring a problem will likely just mean that the problem gets worse until you can no longer ignore it.

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Disposal Maintenance: What Not to Do

Use Your Garbage Disposal as a Trashcan

Garbage disposals are meant to get rid of excess food bits that accidentally wash down the drain, they are not meant to dispose of large amounts of food waste. Toss your extra food waste into the compost and try not to let too much food waste go down the drain. Use the disposal to get rid of those bits that inevitably end up going down the drain, and nothing more.

Use Bleach or Other Harsh Chemicals

It may seem like a good way to clean out your disposal, but bleach and other harsh chemicals are corrosive and will actually damage your drain. 

Use Lemon Peels to Deodorize

It’s a common myth that it is a good idea to put citrus peels down your garburator in order to get rid of undesirable odours, but this can actually dull the blades and cause more problems than it solves.

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