If you are like most people, your garbage disposal is one of the things you use very frequently. Yet it seems to become clogged more often than you would like. If this happens to you, then you will want to know why that is.

In this article you will learn why it may be hard to keep garbage disposal drains clean and how you can do so in order to keep your garbage disposal working the way it should be.

Clogs in your garbage disposal can be caused by three main factors:

  • A problem with the components of the garbage disposal such as a dull blade, worn out drain trap, etc.
  • The wrong type of item was put into the garbage disposal such as egg shells, pits or bones, grease, a small object, etc.
  • No water or not enough water running through the disposal while it's running

If the problem is a mechanical component, we recommend that you call in a plumber to fix or replace your unit. The average life span of a garbage disposal is about 10 years so if yours is older than that - it may be time to replace it.

If the issue is that you've been putting just about everything down that disposal thinking that it will just do it's job and grind everything up - well - that's a bit of a myth. Garbage disposals actually do not have the capability of grinding everything.

What NOT To Put Down Your Garbage Disposal

Here's a list of items that you should avoid putting down your disposal unit.

  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Banana Peels
  • Barley
  • Beans
  • Bones
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Coconuts
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Corn Husks
  • Couscous
  • Cucumber Peels
  • Eggshells
  • Flour of any kind
  • Grease and Fats
  • Grits
  • Lettuce
  • Meats
  • Millet
  • Oatmeal
  • Onion Skins
  • Pasta
  • Pineapple Rinds
  • Pits and Seeds
  • Popcorn (popped or unpopped)
  • Potato Peels
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Watermelon Rinds

This seems like a very long list and you may be surprised of some of the items on this list but garbage disposals are connected to your plumbing pipes and what goes down the disposal ends up going through your pipes. Although the disposal unit may be able to break apart what you put down there - it does not mean that those remains won't collect and create a clog somewhere along the pipe.

This is especially true of oil, grease and fats. These items start off as grease, but further down the pipe they can solidify and create a clog that can cause you a lot of headaches.

Tips On How To Unclog Your Garbage Disposal

There are a few easy things that you can try to unclog your unit before you call in a plumber.

** Use baking soda and vinegar
** Use baking soda and salt
** Use salt and boiling water
** Use boiling water
** Use a plunger
** Use a plumber's snake

NOTE OF CAUTION: We do NOT RECOMMEND pouring boiling water down your water pipes UNLESS your pipes are made out of Iron, Copper or Galvanized Steel. If your pipes are made out of Pex, CPVC or PVC we recommend that you avoid using any of the solutions requiring boiling water.

Read the details of these Do It Yourself tips here.

How To Maintain Your Garbage Disposal

Like any other appliance in your home - to keep your disposal unit running smoothly for as long as possible, you want to follow a maintenance schedule.

Here are out tips on proper maintenance of your garbage disposal unit:

  • Avoid putting any of the items listed above that should not go into your disposal. This helps to avoid any clogs in the unit or your pipes.
  • Always run water for a few seconds after you are finished using and and have turned off your disposal unit.
  • Use dishwash detergent that helps to de-grease your dishes (you want to avoid as much possible any oil or grease or fats in your unit)
  • Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda followed by 1/2 cup white vinegar down your disposal every month - let that sit for a little while (it should foam up). When it's done foaming, rinse it with hot running water. This helps to clean out the unit.
  • Grind up small pieces of lemon or orange peel followed by a few ice cubes every other week or so. The citrus helps to keep the unit smelling nice and the ice cubes help to sharpen the blades.

Following these tips will help you to keep your disposal unit running for many years in tip top condition.

If you have any questions about garbage disposal or are having some problems with it, call Atlantis Plumbing today at 770-443-8229. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.