Garbage In – Garbage Out: Garbage Disposal Etiquette
No one ever told me that you could not grind up all your leftovers in the garbage disposal. (I thought it was a Food Dispose ALL). I am here to give you some good advice and perhaps save you a dime or two. Do NOT grind up your leftovers, the dogs leftovers, or the crap from your refrigerator that’s un-identifiable. Really – no matter what you think and what it says on the box – this is not going to keep your garbage disposal in working condition.
Recently I had a call to fix a disposal. It was wound up tight with strings from the flower vines. What? My customer thought she could prune her plants over the sink and then grind it all up. What a mess. I slowly cut the vines out and put them in the trash where they belong.
So – this is my advice and you can choose to take it or pay me later to come fix the monster under your sink (the one that growls at you from time to time).
- Scrape the leftovers into the garbage CAN and then rinse the rest into the garbage disposal. Run cold water during and immediately after putting anything in the hole (ugh – why does that sound disgusting?).
- Do not try to ground up fibrous foods such as banana peels, corn husks, celery, or plant vines.
- If you want to fix it yourself be sure to unplug the disposal and turn it off. Check out to see if anything is stuck inside and clear it out. Insert the Allen wrench into the socket at the bottom of the disposal and turn it to try and free the jam. Turn it back on and if it doesn’t work make sure you press the red reset button on the bottom.
- If you have a disposal with no place on the bottom for the Allen wrench you can stick a wooden broom handle in the hole and try to turn the flywheel. Again, try the reset button.
- If the water backs up while the disposal is working correctly, the problem is in the drain pipe – not the disposal.
- Do not use a disposal if you have a septic system because too much food waste and interfere with the normal decomposition of septic waste.
- To keep the disposal hole smelling fresh grind up lemon or lime rinds every once in awhile (no comments please).
- To keep the disposal assembly clean grind up ice cubes every once in awhile.
Remember that the systems we use in our lives (including our disposals) operate under the rule that if you put too much garbage in – you will get a clog or too much garbage out.