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The Do’s and Don’ts of a Garbage Disposal

Serving Glendale, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Peoria, Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, and more of AZ with professional plumbing services since 2001

Garbage disposals are an extremely common feature that most of us have in our kitchens. They are convenient and super easy to use but many of us don’t know a whole lot about our disposal other than, well, they dispose of scrap foods. To get the most out of your garbage disposal there are some do’s and don’ts that you will want to be aware of. Read on for tips to help maintain your disposal and extend the life of the unit. 

DO: Run water for a few seconds before turning your disposal on and leave the water on for another few seconds after turning it off. This will help ensure that any loose food scraps are rinsed from the side walls of the disposal, chopped up, and flushed through the drain. If you find that you don’t use your disposal very often, we recommend still turning it on once in a while to ensure it is in proper working order for when you do need it. Regular use can help prevent the blades from seizing up and rusting. 

Don’t: Run hot water for long periods. Hot water can soften the scraps and cause them to break down and become mushy which can lead to them getting stuck inside the disposal and not being rinsed out. 

Do: Feel free to put citrus peels such as orange or lemon peel down the disposal. The disposal will chop the soft peel and the peel will help your sink smell citrusy fresh!

Don’t: Do not put cooking oils or grease down your sink! This can clog your line and cause a full  plumbing back up. Also avoid putting things like egg shells, cooked pasta, and coffee grounds down your disposal. If a small amount gets down the drain, it should be fine, but try not to make it a regular practice. Potato skins and vegetable peelings also fall under the don’t category. They are thin and can easily get stuck to the inside walls of the disposal and cause a nasty smell as they decompose. 

Do: Unjam your garbage disposal from the bottom. Got a jammed up disposal? The good news is it might be an easy fix! Clear out any items from around the disposal underneath your kitchen sink. Look under the bottom of the disposal, there should be a socket for an allen wrench. You can use an allen wrench to turn the blades manually and hopefully free them up from the jam they’re in. 

Don’t: Do not put your hands down a jammed or clogged garbage disposal! If manually turning the blades didn’t work, give us a call to schedule one of our expert plumbing technicians to come out and take care of the backup. 

If you are having troubles with your garbage disposal, feel free to reach out to us for assistance! We are happy to schedule an appointment to repair or replace your garbage disposal when and if it is needed. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Should I run hot or cold water when using my garbage disposal?
A: It’s better to run cold water when using your garbage disposal. Hot water can soften food scraps, making them mushy and more likely to get stuck inside the disposal. So stick with cold water to keep things running smoothly.

Q: Can I put citrus peels like orange or lemon in my garbage disposal?
A: Absolutely, go ahead and put citrus peels down the disposal! Not only will the disposal chop them up without a problem, but the peels will also leave your sink smelling citrusy fresh.

Q: What should I absolutely avoid putting down my garbage disposal?
A: Great question. You should avoid putting cooking oils, grease, eggshells, cooked pasta, and coffee grounds down your disposal. Potato skins and vegetable peelings are also a no-go as they can stick to the walls of the disposal and cause unpleasant odors as they decompose.

Q: I don’t use my garbage disposal often. Is there anything special I should do to maintain it?
A: Even if you don’t use your garbage disposal regularly, it’s a good idea to turn it on once in a while. Running it occasionally can help prevent the blades from seizing up and rusting. Remember to run cold water for a few seconds before and after you turn it on.

Q: My garbage disposal is jammed. How can I fix it myself?
A: If your disposal is jammed, you can often fix it from the bottom. First, clear out any items from around the disposal under your sink. You should find a socket for an allen wrench at the bottom of the unit. Use the wrench to manually turn the blades and hopefully free them from the jam. But remember, never put your hands down a jammed or clogged garbage disposal. If you can’t fix it yourself, give us a call, and one of our expert technicians will take care of it for you.

About Us

Instant Plumbing and Rooter LLC is a family-owned and operated plumbing business in Phoenix, AZ. We’re a family of reliable professionals that use the latest techniques for dependable plumbing services. Since 2001, we have been taking care of our community’s plumbing needs promptly and professionally.

Through our work, we aim to change the perception of plumbers in our community. Our goal is to make homeowners like you more informed, as well as show others that being a plumber is not just about unclogging toilets.

A plumber brings hygiene, sanitation, and comfort to everyone, and that’s what we’re here to help you with.

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