We’ve got important news for you: Your kitchen garbage disposal is not invincible. It will break one day and need to be replaced. Considering how much work it does every year (and even just November and December alone) it makes sense a disposal can’t last for the entire lifespan of a home.
We’ve got other important news: You can extend the life of your kitchen garbage disposal if you know a few basics about its care.
We wish more people understood these simple “garbage disposal wellness” facts, because it would save them plenty of grief and emergency calls. (Fun fact: the day after Thanksgiving is the busiest for plumbers, and busted disposals are one of the reasons.) Below are some basic tips to help your garbage disposal last for many years.
Don’t use chemical drain cleaners on it
This is good advice in general to protect your drains. Chemical drain cleaners do a poor job of clearing out clogs, usually only enough to let water through. The big problem is the damage the acidic chemicals can do to the pipes. Or to the parts of the disposal. Have plumbers take care of clogs in the disposal.
Pour FOG somewhere else
FOG stands for “fats, oils, and grease,” an evil trio of liquids used in cooking that are incredibly harmful for a disposal. FOG appears innocent enough when it’s hot and in liquid form. But when it cools down, it changes into a sticky wax that gunks up the disposal and is hard to remove. We recommend pouring FOG into a separate receptacle and putting it in the trash.
Run water down the disposal after turning it off
Don’t turn the water off immediately after you flick off the disposal. The disposal needs help to flush the waste down the drains, so keep the water running for a few seconds afterwards to ensure it’s cleaned out. Use hot water, since this will help break up and remove any grease that’s gotten into the hopper.
No non-food items!
The name garbage disposal tricks too many people into thinking they can put actual garbage, like paper and plastic, down into one. A disposal is designed to handle only organic waste and nothing. Make sure that actual trash goes into a trash receptacle.
If you can’t chew it, don’t feed it to the disposal
Not all food waste can go down the disposal either. Hard items like fruit pits, chicken bones, and un-popped popcorn kernels shouldn’t be put into the disposal. The rule of thumb is that if your teeth can’t chew it, the disposal can’t grind it.
Keep these other food items away
There are a few other types of food that can create problems for a disposal: pasta and other food that expands with water, stringy vegetables and onions, and coffee grounds.
When you run into a broken disposal, rely on our plumbers for the kitchen plumbing in Santa Barbara, CA to either repair it or replace it.
Husted Plumbing has been family-owned and operated since 1935. Call us for your kitchen plumbing needs in the Greater Santa Barbara and Ventura County Area.