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How to Maintain Your Garbage Disposal

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You know, that switch by the kitchen sink that everyone accidentally turns on every now and then makes that grinding noise that then makes you cringe. That’s it! The garbage disposal serves a greater purpose than to test your reflexes.

It’s a very important part of your kitchen plumbing, working to eliminate large pieces of food waste and prevent them from clogging your sink and causing large plumbing issues in the future.

Like most appliances throughout your home, they do so much work for us that we need to return the favor to keep them maintained and functioning properly.

What Does the Garbage Disposal Actually Do?
Contrary to popular belief, it does more than save the hassle of scraping dinner dishes. That mentality is a surefire way to abuse your garbage disposal.

The purpose of a garbage disposal is to decrease kitchen waste and grind up small food scraps into liquid, allowing existing infrastructures, like underground sewers and wastewater treatment plants, to manage their disposal. Think about it — our plumbing and wastewater treatment facilities are designed to handle liquid waste. Solid food scraps can be damaging to these infrastructures.

Sharp edges in the grinding portion of your garbage disposal use water as a lubricant and grind up food particles until they are small enough to fit through openings that then send it down the drain.

What Can You Put in the Garbage Disposal?
There’s one item that absolutely must go into your disposal: cold water. It works as a lubricant for the blades and prevents them from grinding together. Not using adequate water can cause significant damage to the equipment.

The easiest items for your garbage disposal to handle are soft and malleable. This includes:

• Fruits
• Most vegetables
• Breads, pasta, rice, or cereal

Keep in mind that if the above leftovers on plates are large, they should really be put into your garbage rather than forced down your disposal.

What Should You Not Put in a Garbage Disposal?
Not all scraps are created equal and some can even cause damage (and odor) in your sink. Avoid putting the below items in your garbage disposal as they aren’t ideal for the longevity of your equipment or your wastewater system in general.

• Bones, frozen items, popcorn kernels or hard seeds and nuts. These items are not easily broken down by your disposal and can cause damage to the blades.
• Pieces of celery. This vegetable is so fibrous that its strings can get caught in the blades of the disposal and not pass through entirely.
• Meat fat and gristle. Because of the gummy texture of meat and fat, the blades have a difficult time chopping it up into tiny pieces.
• Foreign objects. It goes without saying, your kitchen plumbing is not meant to dispose of foreign objects.

Not only are some of those items difficult for your garbage disposal to process, but if they do not properly pass through the drain, they can become stuck in the in-between, grow bacteria and cause a dreaded odor.

How Do You Clean a Garbage Disposal?
Even though water and soap make their way through your kitchen sink, you should still pay individual attention to these items and clean them thoroughly.

• Vinegar works in many kitchen appliances as a way to clean the lines and eliminate odor. Depending on usage or odor, running some vinegar along with water down the drain every other week will help.
• If you put ice cubes in the drain and pour vinegar or salt on top and run it with the water on for 10-20 seconds, the ice will grind up in the disposal trap, scraping along the sides, dislodging any buildup.

Garbage Disposal Repair & Replacement
The garbage disposal is a helpful kitchen feature in many homes. If you are in need of garbage disposal repair or garbage disposal replacement, work with the plumbing experts in Virginia. Call John C. Flood at (703) 783-0247 or schedule service online.

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John C FloodWith more than 100-years of experience serving the DMV area, John C. Flood provides excellent plumbing, air conditioning, heating, and electrical services! Their experience, expertise, and reliability make them the area’s go-to for homeowners and renters needing maintenance, repair, and service on a variety of HVAC and plumbing needs! Plus, it’s easy to book an appointment online, and John C. Flood will put you on their convenient list of check-up customers, so you’ll always have regular inspections and catch plumbing problems before they grow!

Call them today at (703) 752-1267 and mention "DULLES" for 15% off your first service call!

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