What NOT to Put Down Your Garbage Disposal


Aztec Plumbing is often called when homeowners are having “disposal issues.” What we often find is that the issues have occurred due to improper use or by putting the wrong things down the garbage disposal. Our Fort Myers plumbing experts put together a list of things NOT to put down your disposal as well as a few tips for cleaning and keeping those blades sharp.

Proper Way to Use Your Garbage DisposalAztec plumber working on sink & garbage disposal

First, we wanted to discuss how to properly use a garbage disposal. Many homeowners assume they are using their garbage disposal correctly but the majority are not. Here is the proper way to run your garbage disposal.

  1. If there is a stopper in the sink remove the stopper from the drain opening and run cold water into the sink.
  2. After the water is running, turn on the garbage disposal switch to begin the disposal
  3. Slowly put food waste into the disposer, If you fill up your disposal too fast this may cause it to clog the disposal or possibly break it.
  4. After you have completed disposing of food contents, turn the disposer off but continue to run water to allow the drain to clear leftover residue.

How to Maintain Your Garbage Disposal

Now after you have properly ran your disposal system. Here are some tips on maintaining it to keep it from breaking or wearing down:

  • Always run water after using your garbage disposal. This helps keep the drain line clear and unclogged for future disposals.
  • Even though this may seem unusual you should put hard materials such as small bones, pits from fruits and ice cubes in the disposal. This creates a scouring action and leaves your drain cleaner than before.
  • Grinding the peels of citrus fruits such as oranges or lemons can freshen up your drain masking the odors some drains leave behind.
  • Occasionally use a disposer cleaner, degreaser, & deodorizer as necessary to relieve odors caused by grease build-up.

If you follow these simple guidelines, your garbage disposal should stay in pristine condition! If you would like information about upgrading your disposal to the new ISE Evolution Pro 880 Stainless Series we can schedule an appointment for one of our technicians to explain all the benefits.

What Not to Do with Your Garbage Disposal

Now that you know how to clean and maintain your disposal here is what NOT to do:

  • When using your disposal make sure you are using COLD water. It is okay to use hot water in between disposals but using hot water directly with your disposal can damage it.
  • When peeling vegetables do not put peels into the drain at once. Instead, turn on sink and disposal, then gradually feed peels into the disposer.
  • Don’t turn off disposer until grinding is complete and only the sound of the motor and water is heard.

What Should Not Go Down Your Garbage Disposal?

  • Never put stringy/fibrous waste into the garbage disposal such as poultry skins, celery, asparagus, and banana peels. These can get caught and possibly damage the motor.
  • Avoid grinding bread, pasta, rice, and all other starchy leftovers that can expand in your drains.
  • Grease, oil, and fat are a big no-no! They can solidify and cause stoppages. The best way of getting rid of excess grease is by letting it harden and throwing it away.
  • Coffee grinds might seem to go down just fine, but they can get clogged in the trap below the garbage disposal. It’s best to just throw them out the old fashioned way.
  • Standard garbage disposals aren’t designed to handle hard items such as fruit pits, seeds, and bones. It’ll only damage the unit.

water going down sink drain

How To Get Rid of the Odor From Your Disposal

Food build-up in your garbage disposal can cause unpleasant odors. To get rid of those odors, you can grind ice cubes and lemon rinds in the disposal for 30 seconds. Once that’s clear and the garbage disposal is still running, pour a small amount of dish soap down the garbage disposal and run cold water to rinse.

What If Will Be Leaving Your Home for Long Periods of Time?

When leaving for your northern homes at the end of this summer, remember to put a teaspoon or two of cooking oil into the basket of the disposer and, without running any water, turn it on just briefly enough to get the grinding disk and teeth up to speed and turn it off right away.

This will put lubricate those parts and delay any rust or oxidation from occurring prematurely.

Call Aztec Plumbing & Drains Today! 

We hope these tips are beneficial in keeping your disposal clean and clear. If you do notice a blockage in your garbage disposal system, do not hesitate to call Aztec Plumbing & Drains. We are here to help you from A to Z!

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