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How to Treat Your Garbage Disposal Better

plumber-at-kitchen-sinkThe garbage disposal in the kitchen sink makes life easier, doesn’t it? If you’ve ever had to work in a kitchen without a disposal, you’ll know how difficult it is to handle food waste and clean dishes when you have to scrape off leftover food into a composting container and take it to the trash. Not only does a garbage disposal save you time and labor, it helps keep organic waste out of the landfill, instead sending it into the municipal sewer system.

You want your garbage disposal to keep working for you for many years. The best way to see that it lasts is to know how best to treat it. Below are tips for helping your garbage disposal keep at its useful job for a long time to come.

Keep fats, oils, and grease out of it

Fats, oils, and grease (or FOG) are one of the primary enemies of drains and disposals. They’re liquid when hot after cooking, and this deceives people into believing they can go harmlessly down the disposal like other liquids. But as soon as FOG cools off, it turns solid. A waxy solid that sticks to drain pipe walls—and to the moving parts of a garbage disposal. To avoid gumming up the works, we recommend you pour out all FOG into a separate container, place it in the freezer, then later remove it to an outside trash receptacle.

Don’t put organic items you can’t chew in the disposal

A kitchen sink garbage disposal is designed to grind food waste. That doesn’t mean all food waste. There are many leftover items that are too hard for its grind ring to handle. The best way to determine what food you can put down the disposal is to ask yourself if it’s something you can chew. Chicken bones? Nope. Peach pits? Nuh-uh. Unpopped popcorn kernel? That’s a “no.” Place these items in the trash, not the disposal.

Don’t use the disposal as a trash can

This means never put standard, inorganic garbage in the garbage disposal. (This is where we wish the word “garbage” wasn’t in the name.) Paper, cigarettes, plastic, etc.—if it shouldn’t go down any drain in the house, it shouldn’t go down the disposal.

Don’t use ice to “sharpen” the blades

Here’s a bit of advice that has made the rounds for years: if your disposal isn’t doing as well as it once did, pour ice cubes into it and turn run it. This will sharpen the blades. The problem is this advice is 100% wrong. There aren’t any blades in the disposal. What rotates in the center are blunt impellers that push food to an outer grind ring. Not only will ice cubes not help, they’re hard enough to potentially cause damage. If you have a garbage disposal that isn’t working its best, call for actual repairs.

When you do need assistance with your Edison, NJ plumbing, only call on a licensed plumber. Don’t try to make any of the repairs on your own, as it may be dangerous (and you won’t be able to fix the problem anyway).

Fix that garbage disposal—or get a new one—with the local plumbing pros. Scaran has served Staten Island and its neighbors since 1930.

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