Keeping Your Kitchen Fresh: A Guide to Cleaning and Maintaining Your Garbage Disposal - Biard & Crockett

Keeping Your Kitchen Fresh: A Guide to Cleaning and Maintaining Your Garbage Disposal

Your garbage disposal is a vital component of your kitchen, responsible for breaking down food waste and preventing odors and clogs in your plumbing system. Understanding how it works and how to properly care for it is crucial for maintaining its efficiency and longevity. In this article, we’ll dive into the dos and don’ts of garbage disposal, provide step-by-step instructions on cleaning and maintenance, and offer tips for keeping your kitchen smelling fresh and clean.

Understanding Your Garbage Disposal:

A garbage disposal unit consists of several key components, including a motorized grinding chamber, shredder ring or impellers, and a drain pipe connected to your plumbing system. When you turn on the disposal, the motor powers the impellers, which rotate rapidly to shred food waste into tiny particles. These particles are then flushed down the drain pipe with water, preventing clogs and keeping your pipes clear. Understanding how your disposal works will help you appreciate the importance of proper maintenance and care.

Dos of Garbage Disposals:

  1. Run Cold Water While Operating: Running cold water while using your garbage disposal is essential for several reasons. First, it helps solidify any foods in the disposal, making it easier to grind up and flush away. Additionally, cold water helps keep the motor and grinding components cool during operation, preventing overheating and extending the life of your disposal.
  2. Use Small Pieces of Food: To prevent clogs and jams, it’s important not to put large, whole pieces of food into the disposal. Avoid dumping large quantities of food waste at once, as this can overwhelm the disposal and lead to blockages. Instead, feed the disposal gradually, allowing it to grind up each batch of food waste thoroughly before adding more. And remember, your garbage disposal is not a trashcan.
  3. Clean Regularly: Regular maintenance cleaning is essential to keep your garbage disposal smelling fresh and functioning properly. To clean your disposal, fill the sink with warm water and a few drops of dish soap, then turn on the disposal and let the soapy water flow through the unit. This will help dislodge any food particles or residue clinging to the grinding chamber and drain pipe, leaving your disposal clean and odor-free.
  4. Grind Citrus Peels: Grinding small citrus peels such as lemon or orange rinds is an effective way to freshen up your disposal and eliminate odors. The natural oils in citrus fruits help break down grease and food residue while leaving behind a pleasant scent. Simply toss a few citrus peels into the disposal and run it with cold water to enjoy a fresh-smelling kitchen.

Don’ts of Garbage Disposals:

  1. Avoid Hard or Fibrous Foods: Hard or fibrous foods such as bones, fruit pits, eggshells, potato peels, and coffee grounds should never be put into your garbage disposal. These items can damage the grinding components and lead to clogs, resulting in costly repairs or replacements. Instead, dispose of these items in the trash or compost bin to avoid potential damage to your disposal.
  2. No Grease or Oil: Pouring grease, oil, or fats down your garbage disposal is a major no-no. These substances can solidify and clog the drain pipe, leading to unpleasant odors and potential plumbing issues. Instead, pour grease and oil into a heat-resistant container and dispose of it in the trash once it has cooled and solidified.
  3. No Non-Food Items: Non-food items such as paper towels, plastic, glass, or metal objects should never be put into your garbage disposal. These items can damage the grinding mechanism and cause serious damage to your disposal. To avoid costly repairs or replacements, always dispose of non-food items in the appropriate waste receptacle.

Cleaning Your Garbage Disposal:

Now that you’re familiar with the dos and don’ts of garbage disposals, let’s discuss how to clean and maintain your unit for optimal performance. Regular cleaning is essential to prevent odors, clogs, and bacterial growth, keeping your disposal in top condition for years to come. Follow these step-by-step instructions to clean your garbage disposal effectively:

  1. Start by turning off the power to the disposal at the circuit breaker or fuse box to prevent any accidental activation. Safety should always be your top priority when working with electrical appliances.
  2. Let’s start by taking care of the rubber guard or baffle. Grab a soapy sponge or towel and flip it inside out to get into all the little nooks and crannies.
  3. Next, clean out the grinding chamber by shining a light down the drain and clearing away any food scraps or debris. Use the same soapy sponge or towel to scrub away any remaining grime from the grinder as best as you can.
  4. Once you’ve removed any visible debris, the final step is to freshen up your garbage disposal. To begin, plug the disposal back in. Let’s start by finishing the cleaning of the blades using the ice method. Simply pour 2 cups of cubed ice down the drain, followed by one cup of kosher or rock salt. Turn on the disposal and cold water, allowing the salt and ice to grind up and clean the blades.

Once that’s done, let’s eliminate any lingering odors from the drain. You can pour a cup of baking soda and vinegar down the drain and let it sit for 30-60 minutes. This will trigger a chemical reaction that removes any remaining grime and odors.

Another effective method to freshen your garbage disposal is by grinding citrus fruit peels. Cut up citrus fruits like lemons, limes, and oranges, and insert them into the drain. Turn on the water and the disposal, and enjoy the fresh, fruity scent that remains after the process is complete.

When in doubt, call Biard and Crockett for a professional drain unclog or repair. We’re here to help.

Conclusion: A clean and well-maintained garbage disposal is essential for a fresh and functional kitchen. By following the dos and don’ts and regularly cleaning your disposal, you can ensure optimal performance and longevity for years to come. If you encounter any issues or need professional assistance with your garbage disposal, don’t hesitate to contact the local plumbers at Biard and Crockett at (714) 602-1299 for expert advice and service.

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