How to Keep Your Garbage Disposal Running Problem-Free

We put everything down our garbage disposals: potato peels, various food that falls on the floor, leftover scraps from our dinner plates, and other—sometimes more questionable—things. This article will detail items that shouldn’t be thrown down the garbage disposal, as well as a few things you can do to keep your garbage disposal running as problem-free as it possibly can.

Items you should avoid putting down the garbage disposal include:

1. Potato and yam peels. These peels are extremely dense and stand a high chance of getting your garbage disposal stuck with them, which can cause a huge backup. The blades on your garbage disposal—no matter how sharp and industrial-grade they seem—can’t cut through large amounts of peelings. This goes for other “peels” as well: banana peels, cornhusks, and the likes.

2. Fat, grease and oil. You’ve probably heard that oil and grease should never be put down the drain, and that’s true. While it might seem like hot water could liquefy and take care of the oil, it can’t. Instead, the oil clogs up and coats the drain pipes and blades of the garbage disposal. Over time, this can cause pipes to be clogged.

3. Bones. Bones and all other ultra-tough materials prove extremely hard for the blades to cut through, which leads to a dulling of the blades. 

4. Eggshells and fruit pits are also bad for the garbage disposal, for the same reasons as listed above for bones.

5. Bleach and other harsh chemicals. These chemicals have a laundry list of ingredients that have no business making contact with the blades. Doing so will ruin the garbage disposal’s seals and eat through the drain pipes.

6. Fibrous materials. Extremely fibrous vegetables (such as celery and asparagus) are extremely bad for your garbage because the “strings” (of fiber) can wrap around the blades and cause the motor in the disposal to seize up and work incorrectly.

Here are some maintenance tips to help keep your disposal working at its best:

1. Add lemon, lime or orange slices to your garbage disposal and let the disposal run. Doing it once per week is best, but any amount of regular citrus cleaning regimen will work. The natural oils and juice of the fruit naturally cleans and lubricates the inside of the garbage disposal, cleansing and scrubbing away at anything that is caked on the inside.

2. Run vinegar down the disposal regularly (a couple of times per month will do fine). This will help safely kill the bacteria growing inside, as well as help get rid of any odor.

3. If you have a particularly stubborn odor problem, pour baking soda down the disposal and let it set for a few hours.

If your garbage disposal is clogged up, not working as it should, or if the motor inside it has seized up, we can help! There hasn’t been a single garbage disposal problem that the plumbing specialists at Ace Plumbing couldn’t tackle. Give us a call at (916) 596-1632 to talk to a specialist and schedule your appointment today.