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Garbage Disposal Use, Care, and Cleaning

The kitchen garbage disposal has become one of the most favored appliances of today. It helps keep your kitchen smelling fresh by eliminating or reducing the amount of food filling up the garbage can. It also makes the chore of cleaning up after meals quick and simple. To keep your disposal running smoothly, plumbers recommend paying attention to what you do while using the disposal, things to avoid, and cleaning the disposal.

When Using the Disposal

When you use your disposal, always use cold water. Hot water can liquefy fat and grease. This allows the grease to adhere to the blades and build up sludge.

Use plenty of water while you are running the disposal. After the food is chopped up, let the water continue to run for 10 to 20 seconds so all food particles will be washed out of the appliance and flushed down the drain.

Don’t stuff the appliance full and then turn on the blades. This can make your blades jam. Instead, put the peelings or food into the disposal a bit at a time and allow the blades to grind away before adding more.

Run the appliance every time that food is put down the drain to prevent the food from decaying and smelling.

Things to Avoid

Some foods and items are very hard on the blades and gears and should never be put down the disposal. Don’t put down fibrous particles such as onion skins, celery stalks, artichokes, egg shells, or corn husks. The fiber from these things can wrap around the blades and make them jam.

Another group of things to avoid are hard items. This includes popcorn kernels, pits from plums or peaches, apple seeds, bones, or nuts. In addition, non-food items such as plastic, glass, or metal should not be put down the disposal. The appliance can’t chop up these things. Moreover, the little bits, such as apple seeds can get wedged underneath the blades and make them jam.

Don’t put your hands down the disposal. If something is wedged, use pliers or tongs to get it loose or call one of your favorite plumbers to fix your disposal for you.


It is natural for sludge to build up along the sides of the appliance and on the blades. An easy, quick cleaning method is to grind up a rock salt and ice cubes. When doing so, allow the cold water to run for about 30 seconds. The salt and ice will remove the grime. For a sweet smell, you can use frozen lemon cubes.