Garbage Disposal Care: Usage, Maintenance & Troubleshooting Tips

A garbage disposal unit is a convenient and essential appliance in many modern kitchens, efficiently grinding and disposing of food waste. However, improper use and inadequate maintenance can lead to clogs, unpleasant odors, and even damage to your plumbing system. In this blog post, we will discuss the best practices for using and maintaining your garbage disposal unit, helping you prevent common issues and extend its lifespan. We will also provide troubleshooting advice for common garbage disposal problems.

In this article, we will cover the following topics related to garbage disposal care:

1. Garbage Disposal Do’s and Don’ts: Proper Usage Tips

2. Garbage Disposal Maintenance: How to Keep Your Unit Running Smoothly

3. Troubleshooting Common Garbage Disposal Problems

4. When to Call a Professional Plumber for Garbage Disposal Issues

By the end of this blog post, you will have a thorough understanding of how to properly use and maintain your garbage disposal to keep it running efficiently and avoid potential issues. Join us as we explore the world of garbage disposal care, offering practical tips and guidance to keep your kitchen running smoothly and prevent unnecessary plumbing issues.

Garbage Disposal Do’s and Don’ts: Proper Usage Tips

To keep your garbage disposal unit functioning efficiently and avoid potential problems, follow these do’s and don’ts for proper usage:


1. Run cold water before, during, and after using your garbage disposal. Cold water helps solidify grease and prevents it from sticking to the sides of your pipes.

2. Cut large food items into smaller pieces before placing them in the disposal. This helps prevent clogs and strain on the motor.

3. Regularly clean your disposal by running ice cubes and a small amount of dish soap through the unit. This helps dislodge buildup and keeps the unit smelling fresh.


1. Put grease, oil, or fat down your garbage disposal, as these substances can solidify and cause clogs.

2. Dispose of fibrous or stringy foods such as corn husks, celery, or onion skins, which can wrap around the blades and cause motor issues.

3. Put hard or dense materials such as bones or fruit pits in the disposal – these can dull or damage the blades.

By following these simple tips, you can extend the life of your garbage disposal unit and prevent the need for frequent repairs.

Garbage Disposal Maintenance: How to Keep Your Unit Running Smoothly

Regular maintenance is essential for keeping your garbage disposal unit running efficiently and reliably. Implement these maintenance practices to ensure your unit remains in peak condition:

1. Clean Your Disposal Regularly: To maintain good hygiene and prevent buildup of food particles and bacteria, clean your disposal at least once a week. To clean the unit, first unplug it or turn off the circuit breaker. Then, use a long-handled brush or an old toothbrush to scrub the grind chamber’s interior walls and the rubber splash guard. Finally, run a mixture of ice cubes, coarse salt, and cold water through the unit to break down any remaining residue.

2. Sharpen the Blades: One of the essential components of your disposal is the blades. Keep them sharp by running ice cubes through your unit monthly. The ice helps to sharpen and clean the blades, preventing dullness and enhancing grinding efficiency.

3. Deodorize Your Garbage Disposal Unit: Unpleasant odors from your garbage disposal can be eliminated by using natural deodorizers. You can use lemons, oranges, or limes: first, cut them into small pieces and then toss them into the disposal while it’s running, followed by a stream of cold water. This will not only break down food particles and grease but also leave your disposal smelling fresh.

Troubleshooting Common Garbage Disposal Problems

Even with proper care and maintenance, you may encounter some common garbage disposal problems. Here are a few troubleshooting tips that can save you from calling a plumber:

1. Humming But Not Grinding: If your unit is humming but not grinding, turn it off immediately. This likely indicates that the blades are jammed. Unplug the unit and use an Allen wrench to gently remove the jam by turning the hex nut at the bottom of the garbage disposal.

2. Disposal Won’t Turn On: If your disposal won’t turn on, check the circuit breaker, and reset the red reset button under the unit. If these steps don’t resolve the issue, it could indicate a problem with the motor or electrical connection, in which case it’s time to call a professional plumber.

3. Slow Draining: If your garbage disposal is draining slowly, use a plunger or plumber’s snake to clear the clog. Avoid using chemical drain cleaners, as they can damage your pipes and disposal unit.

When to Call a Professional Plumber for Garbage Disposal Issues

While many common garbage disposal problems can be resolved through troubleshooting, there are situations where professional help is necessary. Call a professional plumber if you encounter any of the following:

1. Persistent clogs or slow draining, despite attempts to clear the issue.

2. Leaking water from the garbage disposal unit or pipes.

3. Loud or unusual noises from your disposal, even after checking for jams or obstructions.


Proper usage, maintenance, and troubleshooting of your garbage disposal unit will ensure its longevity and prevent unnecessary problems. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can keep your disposal running efficiently and consistently.

Advanced Gen Plumbing is your trusted source for top-rated plumbing services in Ontario, CA, and beyond. Our team of expert plumbers is committed to providing high-quality plumbing solutions, including assistance with garbage disposal care, installation, and repairs. If you need help with your garbage disposal or any other plumbing concern, contact us today – we’re here to help keep your home’s plumbing system in top condition!

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