Garbage Disposal Questions: Are You Using it Correctly?

Are you using your garbage disposal correctly?

Here are a few garbage disposal do's and don'ts to keep in mind.

Garbage disposals are incredibly useful parts of kitchen plumbing - after all, nothing beats the convenience of tossing a few vegetable scraps straight into the disposal when you're fixing dinner. But many homeowners don't realize that there are certain don'ts when it comes to using the disposal. Do you know if you're using yours correctly? Here are a few garbage disposal do's and don'ts to keep in mind:

Do use it for most food scraps

Garbage disposals are made to dispose of many types of food scraps so landfills aren't quite so full of them. They're great for this purpose, as long as you're using them for the right types of foods. So what should you use your disposal for? Vegetable scraps, softer foods (such as mashed potatoes), small animal bones and eggshells are ideal. Keep in mind that disposals are meant for smaller quantities of food - putting too much down the drain at once may be a bit more than your machine can handle. Run cold water before and after you use it to help the disposal flush the waste down.

Are you using your garbage disposal correctly?

Don't use it for certain foods

One of the most common ways homeowners misuse their garbage disposals is by putting certain foods that aren't easily ground down the drain. Here's a list of things that should never go into your garbage disposal:

  • Fibrous vegetables, like celery
  • Poultry skins
  • Large bones (anything bigger than small poultry or fish bones)
  • Banana skins
  • Grease, fat or oil
  • Some vegetable waste, including quantities of potato peels and onion skins

Follow this rule of thumb: If you aren't sure whether to put scraps in the disposal, just toss them in the trash or compost pile.

Do keep up with regular maintenance

Maintain the machine's cleanliness and fight odor by regularly flushing it with cold water and a half cup of baking soda. You can keep the impellers sharp by putting a few ice cubes into the disposal and running it for a minute or so.

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