5 Garbage Disposal Do’s and Dont’s

Jan 28, 2020 | Plumbing Tips | 0 comments

The garbage disposal is a handy appliance to make dinner cleanup easier, but it is also one of the plumbing fixtures we get asked to fix most often. Follow our top 5 tips to keep your disposal running without a hitch.


  1. Don’t put the wrong foods down the disposal.

    Your disposal is not a garbage can, only put foods down it that will easily grind into small pieces. Avoid any hard foods that can’t be ground up as well as fibrous/starchy foods, such as onion skins, potato skins, celery, rice, pasta etc. as they can get wrapped around the disposal blades. When in doubt, throw it out!

  2. Use plenty of water.

    Use COLD water when running the disposal and continue running water for approximately 10-20 seconds after you shut the unit off. This will help carry any remaining food particles out of the disposal and flush them down the pipes. Hot water will liquefy grease and fats, causing them to cling to the blades and build up on them over time, so be sure to use cold water.

  3. Don’t forget about the reset button.

    Sometimes all your disposal needs to get up and running again is to be reset. If the unit overheats, runs too long, or something is wrong with it it will shut down automatically and need to be reset. The location can vary by model, but most disposals have a button on the bottom of the tank.

  4. Don’t use drain cleaners

    If you experience a clog, avoid putting any harsh chemicals down the drain that can damage your disposal. If you have a clog, call a plumber or you can try unjamming the disposal by using an allen wrench in the slot at the bottom of your unit and manually cranking the blades to free it up.

  5. Keep things fresh

    If you start to notice an odor, cut citrus fruits into small pieces and put them in your running disposal. Throwing ice cubes into your disposal and powering it on is also a good way to clean waste that is in your unit and sharpen the blades.

Following these tips should keep your disposal in top condition throughout it’s lifespan (typically 5-7 years.) Should you need service, don’t hesitate to contact Olympia’s top rated plumber for assistance.