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How To Make Your Garbage Disposal Last

We’re now in the high season for garbage disposal problems, and as a result, we often hear questions about how they can be better maintained. Fortunately, making your garbage disposal last is pretty easy as long as you avoid some big no-nos and use a few quick tricks. Following our tips below will help you escape the need for plumbing repairs and keep your garbage disposal as good as new.

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1. Always Check Disposal Before Running It

When the sink is full of dishes and the water is getting backed up, your first instinct may be to flip the switch on your garbage disposal. But that snap decision can have bad consequences. It’s quite common for eating utensils, tea strainers, skewers, and other kitchen items to slide into the drain, where a running garbage disposal can swiftly mangle them.

The resistance of hard metal or wood on your disposal’s system can damage the grinding mechanism or the blades. It may require total replacement of your disposal, or at least diminish its effectiveness in the future.

*Safety tip: If you’ve found something stuck in the disposal, it’s best not to use your hands to remove it. There’s a chance that removal will release tension in the blades, causing them to spin at the moment you’ve gotten the item loose. This could put your fingers in the line of fire. Instead, try to use pliers or another tool that can reach down and grab hold. For items that are seriously jammed, it’s always safest to contact a professional plumbing service.

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2. Avoid Inserting Tough Foods

Putting the wrong foods down your garbage disposal doesn’t just increase the risk of clogs, it can also damage your disposal fairly quickly. Animal bones, melon rinds, corn cobs, eggshells and other dense, hard foods will wear down both the blades and the grinding mechanism. In the case of bones, you can actually end up with sharp shards clogging the disposal after running it, creating risk of injury.

It’s best to pitch all of those hard foods straight into the trash. If you are hosting a gathering at your home and are afraid of guests dumping such food into the disposal, put up a sign by the sink, or use paper plates to discourage use.

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3. Give it Extra Time to Run

This is a simple trick but it can really go far in helping your disposal endure. Keeping it running for a few seconds after the grinding has stopped will decrease the chance that any food pieces are left stuck in the disposal. Additionally, make sure that you run the water for about one minute before using the disposal as well as one minute after grinding is complete to ensure proper water flow and prevent clogs.

Doing this will prevent substances from hardening around the system, which can dull your blades or create resistance in the grinding mechanism.  


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4.Establish a Regular Cleaning Routine

Cleaning your garbage disposal on a regular basis is one of the best ways to ensure that it keeps working as it should. Keeping the system clean will prevent buildup that can cause erosion and wear. 

Borax powder can be a good choice among general household cleaners. However, there are also options made specifically for garbage disposals that can be especially effective at eating away gunk. Many double as fresheners as well, so you’ll be able to rid your disposal of foul odors during the cleaning process. 


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5. Run Ice Cubes Through

While it’s a common myth that ice cubes can sharpen dull blades, they actually don’t; however, running ice cubes through your disposal can help to loosen buildup on the blades and help them perform optimally. This can also help to clean the disposal’s chamber.

The ice cubes fall into the sweet spot of being easy enough to grind, but coarse enough to clean up the edges of your blades. Do this at the end of your regular cleaning routine, or whenever you notice that your disposal isn’t chopping as well as it used to.

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