Sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t! But, this holiday season, your garbage disposal will likely be on over-drive with all the prepping and cooking going on in your kitchen. The last thing you need is a backup or a breakdown! So, the guys at G&C Plumbing and Heating suggest you start the New Year off right with a good old cleaning of the garbage eating machine.
Little Back Ground Info
We all know and love that a garbage disposal chews up all the food scraps we toss down the drain. But, do you know how it works?
“The disposal operates with an electric motor that is either hardwired or plugged into a 120-volt box,” said Grand Master Plumber, Greg Sheck. “Inside the disposal is a grinding chamber where shredding blades grind up whatever you toss down the sink. From there, tiny impeller blades and a plate force the particles and liquid down the drain which is why it’s super important to run cold water while the disposal is on. The dishwater is what carries the garbage through the entire process.”
If you learn anything from Greg about your garbage disposal today…
“It’s not a trash can. Only put biodegradable food in your garbage disposal. No gum, garden debris or chemistry experiments,” said Greg. Other things to avoid include fibrous, oily, starchy and expandable material that can tangle or clog up the system:
- onion skins
- grease and fat
- corn husks
- celery stalks
- potato peels
- rice and pasta
- coffee grinds
- egg shells
“When you run your garbage disposal, let it keep going a few seconds after the grinding you can hear stops,” said Greg. “There may still be small pieces, so leave the water and everything on for a few seconds before you shut it down.”
Also, when you are cleaning up after a good chicken fry, use a towel or paper towel to wipe off as much grease as you can from pans before rinsing.
Finally, if you accidentally toss a big chicken bone down there (small chicken and fish bones actually help clean the blades) Physically remove objects by first turning off the fuse that supplies power to the disposal. “So you don’t chop your hand off,” said Greg. “You can then use pliers or tongs to remove the trapped object. A flash light will be helpful. “Be careful, damaging the grinder while sticking metal objects down the disposal is easier than you might think. Bottom line – Don’t stick your hand down there!
The Big Cleaning
There are a few routes you go when it comes to cleaning a disposal. If you kept your owner’s manual, that would be a good place to start. If not, Greg recommends the following options:
Grinding ice cubes and salt in your garbage disposal is a great way to remove sludge and debris. In addition to cleaning the garbage disposal, grinding ice will sharpen the blades and salt will help with stinky smells.
- Turn the cold water on
- Turn on the disposal
- Empty four cups of ice cubes into the sink
- Feed the cubes down the disposal as quickly as it will take them – This will freeze all the gunk, causing it to chunk off the impeller blades and the plate
- Add one cup of rock salt
- Let everything continue to run a minute beyond the grinding noise
“Don’t use drain cleaners,” said Greg. “These are mainly caustic chemicals that can corrode your disposal’s guts and kill it.”
Instead – order a tub of BIO-CLEAN from the G&C guys. “BIO-CLEAN is a blend of bacteria and enzymes. The bacteria are natural, and the concentration is the most powerful on the market,” said Greg. Interestingly, one $49.95 tub of BIO-CLEAN can clean your garbage disposal about 100 times. And, it cleans pretty much anything involving organic waste.
Bottom line, it works better than anything you can pull out of your freezer, but either option should do the trick and keep your disposal running smoothly through the holidays.
From all of us at G&C Plumbing and Heating
We hope you had a restful holiday that is full of peace, love and absolutely no plumbing emergencies. However, if your sister-in-law clogged up your disposal with potato peels, your kids gunked up your washing machine with that magic snow, or your heater just finally gave out – you know how to contact us! We promise to get you back on track for relaxation as soon as possible.