Garbage disposal systems are important appliances in the kitchen; they help to break down food particles and waste from the sink so that your drains aren't clogged by large food particles. However, without proper use and maintenance, your disposal system can break down and increase chances of drain clogging and other major plumbing problems. The following simple practices can help keep the garbage disposal system working properly, saving you thousands of dollars in easily avoidable repairs or drain cleaning services.
1. Keep It Clean – After every use, pour a small amount of dish-washing soap down the garbage disposal system, let warm water flow and allow the system to run for a little while. The soap and water will clean out loose debris that could build up into a clog.
2. Use Often – Run your garbage disposal system regularly, because using it frequently will prevent accumulation of particles or other matter, and corrosion and rusting, and ensure that moving parts work smoothly.
3. Clean Thoroughly Once a Week – Use half a cup baking soda followed by a cup of white vinegar, and allow the combination to fizz before following with a generous amount of boiling water. Follow this with a cup of ice and a lemon wedge to wash grime off the grinders and remove odours. Open the tap for a while to allow everything to be rinsed away.
4. Cut Up Large Pieces – Cut up large food waste items into smaller pieces to ensure easy and complete grinding. Large pieces may not be ground up properly and can remain stuck in the system, resulting in a blockage. Also, put them in one at a time and not all together.
5. Pour Water After Food – Follow up any fatty food wastes with a burst of cold water. This is to solidify fats in the food wastes, so that they can also be ground up properly before getting to the trap.
6. Only Put Biodegradable Food Down the Disposal – Garbage disposal systems are only intended to process food wastes; putting non-food particles can damage the motor and blades of the system. Do not put any paper, glass, plastic or metallic materials through the system. Do not put anything that can burn either.
7. Avoid Grease and Oils – As much as possible, avoid shoving oil, fat or grease directly into the garbage disposal. Even though these will be broken down, the grease and oil will slowly build up on the walls of the disposal systems, and food particles will begin to stick to it, eventually blocking the drain. Oil or grease accumulation will also impede the system's grinding ability.
8. Avoid Hot Water During Use – Hot water liquefies grease, causing it to cool down and accumulate on the drain walls and eventually clog up the drain.
If you do find that your drain is clogged or otherwise struggling to drain, consider calling a local drain cleaning specialist.