You probably don’t think about your garbage disposal unless you’re flipping it on. But like every other appliance, it needs maintenance to run smoothly. Learn how to take care of a garbage disposal, so you won’t need repairs in your Muncie home as often.

Add Garbage Disposal Preventive Maintenance to Your Chore List

Adding a few chores to your kitchen care routine can keep your garbage disposal in tip-top shape. Follow our favorite garbage disposal care tips when you clean your kitchen:

  • Run the garbage disposal every few days to prevent food from sitting in your sink and rotting.

  • Once a week, rinse your sink with a kettle full of boiling water. This helps break up any potential clogs that might be forming, either in your disposal or the pipes beyond.

  • Dislodge stuck food with a bottle brush and dish soap.

  • Clean regularly with a big handful of ice and half-cup or cup of kosher or rock salt. This does double-duty of cleaning messes and sharpening your disposal blades.

  • Unplug the unit before sticking your hand in the garbage disposal to remove objects.


How to Make a Garbage Disposal Smell Better

Many household items can be used to make your garbage disposal smell fresh again, including:

  • Baking soda and vinegar. Pour ¼ cup of baking soda and one cup of white or cleaning vinegar directly into your sink drain. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes before rinsing it out with cold water.

  • Citrus peels and wedges. If you like citrus fruits, don’t throw away the peels when you’re done! Toss the rinds or used wedges from oranges, lemons, limes, and other citrus fruits into the garbage disposal and turn it on for a few minutes (with the water running) to clean the blades and get a delightful scent.

  • Borax. Pour half a cup of borax into the drain every week to cut down on terrible smells.

  • Mouthwash. If you have extra laying around, a cup of mouthwash in the drain can get rid of the bacteria that cause a lot of bad smells.


How to Fix a Garbage Disposal Leak

Your best option is to call a plumber for garbage disposal repairs. Until you can get a professional in, tighten the screws and bolts that hold your unit in place and those that attach the drain lines to the garbage disposal. Place a bucket under the leak to catch any drips. Your plumber can tell you whether the unit can be repaired or if it needs to be replaced.

Can Garbage Disposal Blades Get Dull?

Yes! Over time, the blades in your garbage disposal can get dull, lowering the efficiency of your disposal and making it hard to handle tougher items.

To sharpen blades and minimize odors at the same time, drop a handful of ice, a cup of rock salt, and half a lemon sliced into wedges into the garbage disposal. Turn on the cool water and the disposal, running both until you can’t hear any more grinding noises.

What Should I Keep Out of the Garbage Disposal?

Part of maintaining your garbage disposal is keeping the wrong things out. Here’s what should never go through your disposal if you can help it:

  • Fats, oil, and grease

  • Latex or oil paint

  • Coffee grounds

  • High-fat products like cheese

  • Bones

  • Large amounts of foods that expand in water, such as pasta, rice, or oatmeal

  • Nuts

  • Fruit pits and stones

  • Onion or potato skins

  • Eggshells

  • Fibrous veggie waste like celery, rhubarb, pumpkin guts, and corn husks

  • Seafood shells and skins

  • Non-food items

  • Harsh chemical cleaners

Many of these items will coat your pipes or garbage disposal, are too fine to be cut properly by the blades, can be ground into a sticky paste, or are too hard for your disposal to handle.

When the Garbage Disposal Breaks, We’re Here to Help

Sometimes, maintenance isn’t enough. Even the most well-cared-for garbage disposal can still break! Don’t just live with a broken garbage disposal; get the experts at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing of Muncie to fix or replace your broken machinery.

We’re just a call away, and we’re willing to fish out whatever’s causing the trouble (once the disposal’s unplugged, of course). Call us at (765) 248-3693 or book an appointment online.