Garbage Disposal Tips and Tricks

A clogged kitchen sink – a home cook’s worst nightmare. 

Whether you’re a seasoned in repairs or new to the world of disposal maintenance, this article holds some simple tips and tricks to keep this often-underappreciated appliance running smoothly and efficiently. Prepare to bid farewell to clogs, jams, and unpleasant odors as we unveil the secrets to maintaining a well-functioning garbage disposal. Let’s dive right in!

Know the Reset Button:
Sometimes, your garbage disposal’s motor might get jammed due to overloading or an obstruction. In such cases, it’s crucial to locate and utilize the reset button. Most disposals have a small red or black button underneath the unit. When the motor jams, press this button. Always remember to turn off the disposal before attempting to reset it.

Use a 1/4″ Allen Wrench for Jams: 
If your garbage disposal is jammed and the reset button doesn’t solve the issue, you can try using a 1/4″ Allen wrench to manually free the impellers. Locate the bottom center of the disposal and insert the Allen wrench into the hex-shaped hole. Rotate the wrench back and forth to loosen the jammed impellers. Be sure to turn off the disposal at the switch before completing this work.

Use Cold Water:
When running your garbage disposal, always use cold water. Cold water helps solidify any greasy substances, making them easier to chop up and flush away. It also helps prevent the motor from overheating during prolonged usage.

Avoid Overloading:
To ensure your garbage disposal operates smoothly, avoid overloading it with large quantities of food waste. Instead, feed it small amounts of waste gradually, allowing it to chop and dispose of each batch before adding more. Overloading can strain the motor and increase the chances of clogs and jams.

Clean with Ice Cubes:
Cleaning your garbage disposal is important to remove any built-up grime and maintain a fresh smell. One effective and easy method is to drop a few ice cubes into the disposal and run it. The ice helps clean the blades and dislodge any residue. Additionally, the grinding action of the ice can help sharpen the blades, ensuring efficient performance.

Freshen Up with Citrus:
If you notice an unpleasant odor coming from your garbage disposal, adding a citrus rind can help to freshen things up. Simply toss in a small piece of lemon, lime, or orange peel, turn on the disposal, and let it run for a few seconds. The natural oils in the citrus rind will help eliminate odors and leave a refreshing scent behind.

Use Vinegar and Baking Soda:
For a more thorough cleaning, you can use a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. Pour half a cup of baking soda into the disposal, followed by one cup of white vinegar. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes to fizz and break down any buildup. Then, run cold water and turn on the disposal to flush away the residue. This method helps remove odors and keeps the disposal clean.

Avoid Non-Food Items:
To prevent damage to your garbage disposal, never put non-food items down the drain. This includes bones, metal, glass, plastic, and fibrous materials like paper towels or potato peels. Stick to disposing of biodegradable food waste to keep your disposal working optimally.

By following these garbage disposal tips and tricks, you can ensure a smooth and trouble-free experience in your kitchen. Remember to know the location of the reset button, clean the disposal regularly, and avoid overloading it with excessive waste. Taking care of your garbage disposal will not only extend its lifespan but also contribute to a cleaner and more pleasant living environment. 

If cleaning the disposal does not resolve your slow draining sink, you can always submit a maintenance request to the RENU team here:

Happy disposing!