If you have a garbage disposal in your apartment, you are probably well aware of how convenient it is to have one! There are some specific “dos” and “donts” to running your disposal and keeping it in the best shape possible. Keep your disposal running smoothly by taking a few preventative measures before problems occur. Always run cold water when putting food into the disposal, and keep water running until you turn the disposal off. Run the disposal for a few seconds after you have placed all your waste inside, which will ensure that all food is disposed of. Add items slowly to avoid clogs. Grind eggshells, small chicken bones and fruit pits in the disposal to keep the inside of your disposal clean and working properly. Ice cubes will also clean the blades and the inside of the disposal, and lemon or other citrus fruits will keep your disposal smelling fresh.
Below are some tips for what to avoid putting in your garbage disposal:
- Liquid fats, like cooking grease or cooking oil, should be avoided. Instead place grease inside a disposable container and throw it into the garbage once the fat is solid. Similarly, do not put raw animal fat inside your disposal as it will cause clogs.
- Do not place large bones, like those found in steak, pork chops or lamb chops into the garbage disposal. Such bones will be too large for the blades to chop. Small bones, like those from chicken and fish, may be placed in the disposal and will actually clean the blades and the inside of your disposal.
- Bulky, fibrous items should not be placed into a garbage disposal. Such items include corn husks, the skins from onions, and celery stalks. Potato peels cause clogs, so put them in slowly a few pieces at a time. Give your disposal time to grind up the peels before adding more. Similarly, peelings from apples, pears and other starchy fruits and vegetables can be placed in the disposal with caution.
- Foods that expand when they come in contact with liquid can cause clogs in garbage disposals and sink drains. For this reason, do not place rice or noodles in your garbage disposal.
- Your garbage disposal is not designed for non-food items. Do not place paper, glass, plastic or other materials in the disposal. While coffee grounds will clean and deodorize your disposal, they also cause clogs. Similarly, tea bags contain paper and should not be put in the disposal. When in doubt, dispose of questionable items in the trashcan to avoid any problems.