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Disposal Do's and Don'ts

Disposal Do's and Don'ts

We've all been there (unless you don't have a garbage disposal, and in that case I feel your pain, my current place doesn't have one either), you clean up the dishes, you scrape off the food, you run the disposal and ACK! you're hit in the face with a horrible smell. The onions from tonight's dinner are wafting back through the sink and your otherwise beautifully spotless kitchen is beginning to stink. Well, I'm happy to say, this problem can be easily eliminated. To read my simple disposal tip and other garbage disposal hints,

To prevent the nasty garbage disposal smell, I simply take a quarter of a lemon and toss it into the disposal. When I run it, the oils from the lemon permeate through and you're left with a lemony-fresh scent. If you think it's a waste of a lemon, then be sure to squeeze out the juice first (you can save it for salads, etc.) I'll actually keep the leftover lemon parts in a bag in the fridge and use them as needed.

To help keep the disposal in good condition, try the following:

  • Occasionally toss a few pieces of ice into the disposal. The grinding of the ice will help to keep the blades sharp.
  • You can also freeze vinegar in ice cube trays and run those down the disposal. You'll keep your blades sharp and get rid of any lingering odors.
  • For stubborn odors pour baking soda into the drain and let it set for several hours before running the water/disposal.
  • Don't put too many peels (especially potatoes) down the disposal. The starches in the potatoes will turn into a thick paste and may cause the blades to stick.
  • It's fairly obvious, but don't run glass, plastic, metal and other non-food items down the disposal.
  • The remains from crab, oysters, etc. should also not be put down the disposal.
  • Avoid grinding fibrous food like onion skins, celery and corn husks.
  • Small amounts of eggshells or small bones are actually good for the disposal and can help scour the sides of the grinder.
  • Be sure to run cold water before, during and after using the disposal. This will help run debris through the pipes. The cold water will help solidify any grease in the pipes.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals like bleach or drain cleaners. If there is a clog, check and clean out the disposal unit first.
Join The Conversation
mag4966 mag4966 10 years
At our old house our garbage disposal was super senstitive. I couldn't put much down it. It got backed up all the time! So frustrating. But, after a few visits from the plumber I also learned that putting pasta and potato peels in the disposal can cause problems! I'm paranoid now, at our new house I don't want anything to cause a back up in our sink.
ishop2much ishop2much 10 years
Thanks for the helpful hints!!!
Twinkle1 Twinkle1 10 years
We don't have disposals in Finland and man do I miss them. They're supposedly not very environmentally friendly though.
JennyJen2 JennyJen2 10 years
People should also never put grease or oils down th edrain - with or without a disposal. It really messes up teh pipes and utimatel effects teh water treatment. ( Sorry - it is the inner dork coming out).
audreystar audreystar 10 years
i have these little yellow ball things to clean the disposal. i just had to replace our disposal because the hubby put a small shotglass on that side of the sink and it slipped down. i didn't realize it was there and ran the disposal and you can imagine what happened next - horrible sound and poof disposal quit working.
rubialala rubialala 10 years
Ugh, this girl at my office ran a ton of lettuce in the disposal after a lunch meeting and it make a huge mess. It didn't work and it caused a leak in the diposal/sink. My maintenance guy was not happy.
a-nonny-mouse a-nonny-mouse 10 years
Wow, you mentioned a lot of stuff that I never knew. (I always thought dropping ice cubes in the disposal would be harmful to the blades -- and *now* I understand why Hubby always reminds me to use cold water when running the disposal. I'd never considered using lemons to remedy lingering odors -- great idea.) Timely advice, and much needed. Thanks for all your tips.
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