How to Keep Your Garbage Disposal Happy

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A garbage disposal is an excellent kitchen helper, but improper care can turn your disposal into a smelly and dangerous appliance. Learn how to carefully operate a garbage disposal and ways to improve its performance and lifespan.

Do’s and Don’t’s of Garbage Disposals

Protect your disposal and yourself by sticking to these do’s and don’ts guidelines:


  • Run your disposal frequently. When you operate your disposal on a regular basis, you help keep it clean and free of rust and the moving part from sticking.
  • Cut down larger pieces of food
  • Run cold water when grinding food waste, particularly if the food is greasy. Cold water helps to solidify grease and oil to allow the blades to grind the fat into smaller pieces.
  • Put chicken, fish, small fruit pits and other semi-hard items in your disposal. These kinds of materials can help to keep the walls of your disposal clean and smelling fresh.


  • Don’t turn off the water when you are running the disposal. Always run water for at least 15 seconds after you hear the motor stop.
  • Attempt to grind any plastic, metal or paper products.
  • Clog your drain by disposing of coffee grinds, potato peels, onion skins, corn husks or liquid oil or fat through your disposal.
  • Shove large amounts of food into the disposal at once. Instead, feed the disposal slowly.
  • Try to remove an object from the disposal with your hand. Always use pliers or another tool to grab whatever fell into the drain.

What is that smell?

Dirty garbage disposals stink. That smell comes from decaying food particles which remain caught in the pipes or on the disposal’s blades. Many homeowners find regular cleaning can prevent these pungent odors. After using your disposal, you should always let it run for a few seconds with the water flowing. This can help to loosen any pieces of food and push it down the drain.

Once a week, stop up your sink and fill it with water. Add detergent and the unstop the drain and turn on the disposal. Switch off the garbage disposal before the sink completely empties. When all the water has gone down the drain, use a scrub brush to completely clean the black plastic flaps.

Every month, cut a lemon or oranges into sections and run them through the disposal. If you do not want to waste fruit, try freezing vinegar into ice and out five or six of them in place of the fruit.

As a last resort, you can pour a few tablespoons of Borax into the drain and let it sit for an hour. Then turn on the warm water and disposal to rinse it away.

Are you still having a problem garbage disposal or another plumbing issue? Roto-Rooter in Denton, Texas is always available to help you with all your plumbing needs. There is no job too big or too small. Call 940-387-7909 to schedule service from one of our friendly plumbers.