The Do’s and Don’ts of Garbage Disposals

The garbage disposal is one of the most convenient appliances in the home and we often take for granted the ability to simply rinse dishes and wash leftover food scraps right down the drain. That is, until something malfunctions and it needs to be repaired, or it becomes clogged and isn’t able to do its job. However, most garbage disposal problems are avoidable with proper use and care! Here are some quick tips for how to help keep your system running smoothly for years to come:


  1. Run Your Garbage Disposal Regularly: Even if you don’t have anything to grind, turn on your water and run the disposal every few days in order to move any particles around and to prevent rust, corrosion and clogs.
  2. Grind Citrus Peels In Your Disposal: The oils in citrus peels will naturally freshen up the smell of your garbage disposal. Run them through your unit every now and then to prevent bad odors.
  3. Grind Ice Cubes In Your Disposal: Grinding a few ice cubes in your garbage disposal every once in a while will help sharpen the blades and clear out any waste that has gotten stuck.  
  4. Keep Your Disposal Clean: After using your disposal, keep it running for a few extra seconds with cold water and pour a small amount of dish soap down the drain. This will help keep your unit clean and prevent bad smells.


  1. Use Warm or Hot Water When Running Your Garbage Disposal: Hot water melts the food in your disposal, rather than grinding it up, which causes the waste to cling to the sides. Cold water keeps the food particles solid, allowing them to be pushed out of the drain pipe easier.
  2. Try To Force Large Objects or Food Chunks Down The Drain: Large food scraps can easily get stuck and clog your disposal. Help your unit out by breaking them up into smaller pieces before grinding them.
  3. Allow Certain Foods to Run Through Your Disposal: 
    • Grease, oil or fat
    • Eggshells
    • Coffee grounds
    • Rice, pasta or bread
    • Fibrous or stringy fruits and vegetables
  4. Use Drain Cleaners On Your Disposal: The harsh chemicals in drain cleaners can cause damage to your garbage disposal. If your unit is clogged, call a plumber to handle the problem professionally.

By following these tricks, reading your owners manual and using good sense when operating your garbage disposal, you can prolong its life and keep it running properly. However, if you find yourself in a situation where your unit has gotten seriously clogged or has otherwise malfunctioned, be sure to call a professional, like our licensed plumbers at Miller’s Services. Give us a call today at (804) 758-4314 for more information or to schedule a visit!

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