Your food waste disposer, or garbage disposal, is one of the hardest working appliances in your home. This device is found in more than half of American houses and is typically used on a regular basis. However, just because you use your food waste disposer all the time doesn’t mean you’re using it correctly. Here’s what you need to know to use it right and extend the life of your machine.
What You Can Put in Your Food Waste Disposer
This appliance is great for getting rid of leftover food waste. When preparing meals or clearing the dinner table, you can dump many food items into the disposal. Make sure that none of the food waste is too large or hard.
Although many people use hot water to flush their garbage disposals, it is actually better to use cold water. Hot water can melt the fat in food, causing it to stick to the sides of the machine instead of flushing it through your plumbing. Cold water, on the other hand, makes it easier for the machine to move foods along.
After using your food waste disposer, let the water run just a little longer. This will ensure that everything gets flushed out through the pipes. You can also add a bit of dish soap for extra cleaning power.
What You Can’t Put in Your Garbage Disposal
Food waste disposers are quite durable, but they can’t handle everything. You should never put hard items like bones, fruit pits, and similar items down your garbage disposal. A food waste disposer is exactly that, to dispose of food waste. Never put non-food items, such as matches or napkins, in the disposal.
Aside from hard items, you should also avoid putting grease and other fat down the disposal. As the grease cools, it hardens, and it can clog your pipes if enough of it builds up over time. Similarly, nut butter and other sticky foods shouldn’t go in either.
Starchy items, like potato skins and rice, shouldn’t go in the food waste disposer. When they get wet, they release starch, which can make them stick to the inside of your appliance instead of exiting through your pipes. This can lead to odor over time and can damage your food waste disposer. In addition, rice and pasta expand when they get wet, which can cause them to create a blockage in your pipes.
Care and Maintenance Tips
Caring for your food waste disposer is relatively easy. Most of the work takes place when you are using the device. As mentioned above, let the water and machine run a bit longer than needed to ensure that no lingering food remains. You can also use your disposal to grind up leftover lemons and their peels. Their juice acts as a deodorizer, eliminating any odors that have developed.
When using your food waste disposer, start running the water first. Then turn on the appliance. When adding the food, put it in slowly, just a few pieces at a time. This will prevent you from overloading or breaking the machine. Let the water continue to run for a few seconds after you turn off the disposer.