Garbage disposals make washing food-coated dishes a breeze, but they’re not as durable as you think. Putting the wrong types of foods down your garbage disposal can end up causing clogs in your pipes and even breaking the unit entirely.
Though you can always replace your garbage disposal, keeping it running for as many years as possible is far better. To keep your disposal running well, use caution when choosing which foods to run through the unit.
Let’s look at what you can put at your disposal and how you can keep your unit running well for years to come.
What Can I Put In Garbage Disposal?
Though there are some foods you should never put down your garbage disposal, a few are always safe and won’t hurt your unit, even if you flush them down every day. Here are a few of the safest foods for your disposal that won’t cause unexpected damage or require extensive repairs every few months.
1. Soft or Liquid foods
Garbage disposal blades spin at high rates and can pulverize many foods into harmless pulp that flows down your drain. However, your garbage disposal can easily handle soft or liquid foods like cooked vegetables, chicken, beef, leftover salad, soups, and even some fruits.
Generally, you’ll want to break down those foods into smaller pieces before flushing them through your disposal. If you’re disposing of leftovers, make sure they’re cut into bite-sized pieces or throw larger pieces in the trash before you wash your dishes. Doing so will help the blades to chew through the food without getting damaged and dramatically reduces the risk of clogs in your pipes.
2. Ice Cubes
Believe it or not, ice cubes are completely safe for your garbage disposal. In fact, they can even be helpful for the blades and the housing. As your garbage disposal breaks up the ice cubes, the hard ice scrapes away food buildup and debris. This helps reduce odors in your garbage disposal and even keeps the blades sharper for longer.
Make sure to only put a handful of ice cubes through your garbage disposal at once. Adding too many can clog the blades and your sink until they thaw.
3. Citrus Rinds
Citrus rinds may seem incredibly fibrous as you’re peeling fruit, but they’re safe for your garbage disposal. Why? Because the rinds contain beneficial citrus oils. These oils break up food and oil residue in your garbage disposal, which helps to keep the unit clean and working properly for longer.
As with anything you put through the disposal, make sure to cut the rinds into small pieces and only put a small handful in at once. With citrus rinds, you don’t need to add tons to see results. Next, run the unit with a steady stream of cold water and wait until the disposal is empty before turning the water off. Once you’re done, your kitchen will smell fresher, and your garbage disposal will be cleaner.
4. Cold Water
Garbage disposals should never run without a steady stream of water. The water helps keep the food moving and reduces the risk of buildup sticking to the blades after each use. However, many homeowners think that running hot water through the system is acceptable. While it won’t hurt the garbage disposal in most cases, it can present a safety hazard for you and your loved ones. If the hot water splashes up as the disposal runs, you risk getting burned.
Instead, use cold water anytime you run your garbage disposal. It will flush away food debris just as effectively as hot water but won’t hurt you if it splashes out of the disposal.
5. Dish Soap
Manufacturers design garbage disposals to work with dish soap without a problem. You can even squirt a small amount of soap directly into the disposal and run it without food to get rid of oil and residue between uses. However, you don’t have to. Often, the soapy water that flows down the drain as you wash dishes will be enough to keep your unit clean.
Just make sure to use dish soap. Bath soaps often contain moisturizing oils that are great for your skin but can be food magnets for your garbage disposal. If you’re not sure if you’re using the right type of soap, ask your plumber or check the label to make sure it’s okay for use on dishes.
Garbage Disposal Maintenance Tips
Putting the right foods down your garbage disposal will help reduce the risk of unexpected damage and breakdowns. However, there are a few easy maintenance tips you can follow to keep your disposal working properly.
Run your disposal every few days, even if you’re not sending food down the chute. This will reduce the risk of corrosion on the blades and ensures that food residue gets flushed away correctly.
Clean your unit every week or two. Put approximately one cup of ice cubes down the chute, turn on the cold tap, and run the unit until the ice is gone. Then, toss a few citrus rinds into the chute and repeat the process. This will keep your disposal smelling fresh and the blades clean and free of debris.
Get your unit serviced with your trusted plumber. They’ll be able to inspect your garbage disposal for damage and make any necessary repairs so you can keep using it with confidence.
Call Maitz Home for Garbage Disposal Maintenance
Keeping your garbage disposal in good condition means staying on top of routine maintenance and only putting suitable foods through the system daily. As long as you do, you’ll keep your disposal working well for years to come.
If you’re ready to schedule a maintenance appointment or are worried about the way your home’s garbage disposal sounds, don’t wait. Book an appointment with Maitz Home Services today and let our team keep your unit running smoothly. Our experienced and dedicated team will do everything we can to keep your garbage disposal working properly so you can wash dishes with ease.