Preparing for the Holidays: Garbage Disposal Maintenance Tips to Extend the Life of Your Unit

The holiday season is filled with joy, family, friends, an abundance of food, and lots and lots of dishes. Keeping your garbage disposal in tip-top-shape will make sure you can focus on what matters most during the holiday festivities.

Avoid over stuffing your disposal

It’s a misconception that garbage disposals can act as a secondary trash can. Really, garbage disposals are meant to handle the bits of food left on dishes. When washing dishes, avoid any large pieces of meat, large vegetable pieces or any foreign objects that could be difficult for your unit to break down and dispose of.

Stay away from fibrous foods

Foods that are fibrous in nature (think of foods like potatoes and celery) tend to latch onto the garbage disposal components, causing the disposal to clog up. If you’re considering tossing these foods, the best place to do so is in the trash can.

Don’t forget the water

Water is key for the longevity of a garbage disposal. Water should always be running while your disposal is on. Prior to turning on your disposal, run your water for a few seconds to prime the components. When washing dishes for an extended period of time, be sure to check if your drain is getting full with food particles. If so, be sure to keep the water running and turn on the disposal for about 10 to 20 seconds. By doing this, you’ll break up the gunk in the sink before it becomes overloaded and difficult to breakdown.

Cold water is best

The natural tendency is to use hot water to when running your disposal. However, running hot water through the disposal for a lengthy period of time can cause the entire unit to get hot, which can lead to overheating. Excessive overheating can decrease the lifespan of your unit. When running water through your disposal, it’s best to use cold water. Cold water prevents the garbage disposal motor from overheating, leading to a happier, more productive unit.

Eradicating smelly sinks

Using your disposal frequently can sometimes lead to smelly odors. A great way to take care of this issue and clean your disposal is by using ice. Turn on the water and stuff a handful or two of crushed or cubed ice down the drain. Keep your hands away from the sink and turn on the garbage disposal until the ice has disintegrated. The grinding of the ice helps clean any stuck particles from the disposal blades.

What to do when it stops working

If your garbage disposal stops working during the middle of your holiday fun, don’t panic! Most garbage disposal units have an overload protection that kicks in if the disposal gets jammed, gets too hot, or if something electrical goes wrong. If you have trouble, try resetting the unit to see if it restarts. Make sure the garbage disposal is off, then locate and push a red reset button, usually at the bottom of the disposal. Then try to turn it back on. If it begins working again, you should be all set! If your disposal doesn’t turn back on after resetting it, you should call your local plumber for assistance.

If you find yourself resetting your unit frequently, that’s an indication that something larger may be happening and you may need a new disposal. Alternatively, if you turn it on and the disposal doesn’t spin but you hear the humming of the motor, it may just be clogged. In this event, call your local plumber who can help you dislodge the clogged object.

Thinking about a holiday party and want to avoid any garbage disposal mishaps? Contact North East Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing today and ask about our fall and winter garbage disposal specials.


Call: 210-658-0111