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How To Avoid Problems With Your Garbage Disposal

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A garbage disposal is a handy kitchen appliance, but it can sometimes do more harm than good. You have to be careful about what you put inside it. Remember, the food bits come out the other side and flow through your drains. Even if the food you put in it doesn't hurt your garbage disposal, it may still clog up your drains. Here are a few tips for avoiding common problems.

Avoid Damaging Food Scraps

While you can safely put a lot of foods in your disposal, there are some you want to avoid. Hard foods such as beef bones and avocado pits may be too much for your disposal to handle. They may even cause damage to the blades. Greasy foods should be avoided at all costs because they will clog up your drains. A garbage disposal doesn't break up grease at all. In fact, the grease can accumulate and clog up your disposal just like it can clog up your drains. Stringy foods should be avoided too. For example, the strands from celery can wrap around the blades and cause problems. As long as you dispose of soft food that falls apart easily when blended, you should be okay.   

Prevent Bad Drain Odors

When food accumulates in your garbage disposal and the drain beyond it, a bad odor can waft out of the opening. One thing to try is flushing the disposal with soapy water. Use dish soap designed to break up fat and grease. Vinegar and baking soda may work well too. Pour in some baking soda and add some vinegar. The solution will fizz and clean the disposal and drain. You may also want to run lemon or orange peels through the disposal every few days to give it a clean smell. If the odor persists, it may attract drain flies, which is very annoying. If you can't get rid of the odor, call in a plumber to hose out your drains to get rid of the accumulated waste that's causing the bad smell. 

Limit Using The Disposal

To reduce the risk of problems with your disposal and drains, consider using it sparingly. Food scraps can be saved for a compost pile and put to good use. Limiting the use of your garbage disposal may not only reduce the number of drain problems you have, it also puts less stress on your septic system. Since all the waste goes into your septic tank, it fills up faster over time when you use your garbage disposal on a daily basis. 

A garbage disposal is nice to have, especially when you have company or a large family that leaves a lot of dirty dishes after a meal. As long as you're careful about what goes inside it, your disposal should last a long time without giving you problems. If you are careless about what you send down your disposal, you'll probably have to call in a plumber (such as one from Lewis Plumbing) occasionally to keep your drains flowing smoothly.