Garbage Disposal Tips – Cleaning, Repair, & Care

A garbage disposal is a handy appliance primarily used to shred food waste into smaller pieces that won’t clog pipes. As such, only biodegradable items should be places in the disposal.

Many homeowners and/or tenants take for granted the practicality of this appliance as well as the continuous upkeep it requires. When was the last time you placed small pieces of lemon or orange peels in your disposal? If you’re thinking to yourself “you shouldn’t put citrus rinds down your disposal”, think again!

Once a month, small pieces of lemon or orange peels should be ground in the machine. This will not only keep the disposal smelling fresh, but the natural acidity of the fruit peels will help suppress the growth of bacteria. For stubborn odors, try sprinkling baking soda and let it sit for several hours before running the water. Who knew!

Now you may be thinking, “I’ll just stick to my routine of bleach or other household cleaning products”. Stop right there! Bleach or other harsh chemicals will damage the blades and pipes in your garbage disposal.

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Speaking of damaging the blades and pipes, there are a few biodegradable items that just aren’t a good idea to put in your disposal. These items include large bones and starchy foods such as potato peels, pasta, and rice. Although biodegradable, these items expand when soaked with water and can clog your pipes. While we are on the subject of clogging your pipes, don’t even think about putting grease or anything too fatty down the disposal! This is a huge pipe-clogger.

If you find that your disposal is not functioning properly, don’t worry just yet.  We may have a quick fix for you!

If your disposal is not making any nose at all, this means it needs to be reset. There is a red button on the bottom of the disposal; just push!

If your disposal makes a humming sound, this means the disposal is stuck. If you have an allen key, you’re in luck! Just insert the allen key into the hole at the bottom of the disposal. If you turn it back and forth, it will unstick the disposal.




If neither repair method works, please contact a handyman for further assessment.

For a full list of Garbage Disposal Do’s and Don’ts, please click here.