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Garbage disposals are a modern kitchen convenience that many people take for granted, and these useful devices will typically last for 10 to 15 years if properly maintained.

Still, many garbage disposals sometimes become clogged and foul-smelling, and homeowners take it upon themselves to clean them. But believe it or not, these common cleaning methods can actually hurt your garbage disposal’s lifespan. The following are the most frequent myths about cleaning your garbage disposal yourself:

  • Myth 1: Garbage disposals have blades that need to be sharpened.Garbage disposals do not have blades but rather use mechanical teeth that grind up the food into smaller bits. You should avoid grinding up eggshells in the disposal because they can damage the teeth and clog them up.
  • Myth 2: Running hot water through your garbage disposal cleans greasy foods and oil.It is better to use cold water when rinsing the garbage disposal because it will allow the food particles to stay in solid form so they can be ground up easier by the mechanical teeth.
  • Myth 3: Putting lemons or other citrus fruits in the garbage disposal will clean it and make it smell fresh.The fresh smell of citrus may actually mask unpleasant odors that are an indication your garbage disposal may have other problems that need your attention.
  • Myth 4: Ice can sharpen your garbage disposal’s blades. As noted above, there are no sharp blades in the disposal but rather impellers that grind the discarded food. Ice will not help to sharpen them, and it could actually cause more harm than good.
  • Myth 5: Use bleach to clean and deodorize your disposal.Since bleach is powerful, it is best not to use it to clean your disposal. Baking soda and vinegar are milder.

Garbage Disposal Maintenance Tips

Fortunately, there are a number of simple steps you can take that actually will extend the life of your garbage disposal:

  • Use natural cleaning products like baking soda and vinegar.The solution will pull up grime and sludge from your disposal that can be wiped away and disposed of. You can also grind up rock salt to clean the disposal.
  • Stick to a consistent cleaning schedule.Clean your garbage disposal every two weeks, depending upon usage frequency. Regular cleaning is an important maintenance technique that prevents unpleasant odors from emitting from your disposal.
  • Prevent food clogs proactively by running the water for about a minute after the disposal has ground up food.Running dish soap and water down the disposal will also help prevent clogs.
  • Do not dispose of tough or fibrous foods in your disposal. Chicken bones, fruit pits, banana peels, corn husks, celery, and potato peels are all items that should be put in the garbage can.

If your garbage disposal is clogged, be sure to clear it and fix it safely. It is never a good idea to stick your hand down a garbage disposal to remove an object. The grinding teeth may have stopped rotating because of the foreign object and may start rotating as soon as you remove the object. Remove the object with a pair of pliers instead.

If your garbage disposal needs maintenance, Plumbing Outfitters are experienced professionals who can assist you. Call Plumbing Outfitters today to set up a house call so that we can help keep your home safe and well-maintained.

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