It’s the holiday season again! As you make plans to have company and host holiday dinners, the thought of maintenance is probably pretty far from your mind. But a little planning can help assure that all your drains and the garbage disposal don’t back up and fail at the worst possible time. Garbage disposals are handy, but need proper use and maintenance.

A few simple tips to keep your garbage disposal happy:

1. Use it oftengarbage-disposal-cutaway-st-paul-mn

Run your disposal every week, even if you have nothing to grind. Turn the water tap on, flick the switch, and let it run for a minute or two. Keeping all the parts moving regularly helps ensure that it will work when you need it.


2. Use only cold water

Turn the faucet on full to cold water when running the disposal. Hot water encourages any grease or food to melt and soften, allowing bits and grease to cling to the drain pipes on the way down. You may think hot water will encourage it to go down, but instead it helps create clogs and jams.

3. Run the disposal longerice-cubes-garbage-disposal-st-paul-mn

After all of the food waste has been ground up, keep the disposal and water tap running for another minute to ensure that all food bits have been flushed down the drain.

4. Ice cubes help

Put a tray of ice cubes down the disposal to sharpen the blades. Remember to keep the cold water tap running. To help with smelly drains, freeze white vinegar in cubes to run in the disposal.


5. Small pieces onlycitrus-in-garbage-disposal-st-paul-mn

Cut food waste into smaller pieces and feed them into the disposal. Larger chunks can jam up the unit. Its motor is only so big.

6. Citrus and dish soap

To keep the drain sweet-smelling, at the end of the cycle put a squirt of dish soap, some white vinegar, or few small pieces of citrus peel down the disposal. Keep the water tap on at all times while the switch is on.



garbage-disposal-clog-st-paul-mn7. No grease or oil down the drain!

Grease and oil can solidify and cause clogs in the drain pipe, sometimes far down the sewer system. Use a paper towel to wipe off greasy plates and pans. NEVER dump oil, bacon grease, or other fats down the drain, it’s the one of the most common problems our drain cleaners find in the home.

 8. Other no-no stuff for the disposal

  • No potato peels, pasta, and rice – they are all starchy foods that expand with water. They can cling to the disposal and jam it, or expand down the sewer line to cause problems later.
  • No glass, metal, plastic, or paper. Throw into the trash instead.
  • No big bones, seeds, or pits. Ditto into the trash.
  • No egg shells, they can jam up the disposal also. Into the trash.

Happy holidays, and may your drains always run clear. If not, call Jake the Plumber for all your plumbing issues.


Deb at Jake the Plumber