No kitchen is complete without that handy device that grinds morsels of food that are rinsed with the tap. Of course I am talking about elimination. This machine has kept kitchen sink plumbing running since it became available for purchase around the 1940s. A disposer can have its own set of problems, however, and can sometimes malfunction. Here are some tips you can use now to avoid later garbage disposal repairs.

1. Use it only when necessary

This advice sounds like simple common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t fully understand the ideal way to use the device. You should run it only after rinsing the dishes or throwing some biodegradable food scraps down the sink. Some people run it each and every time they use the sink and sometimes even walk away for minutes. This type of use wears out the engine very quickly.

2. Do not crush non-biodegradable food

Anything that is synthetic and non-biodegradable should be disposed of in the trash. This can include items such as artificial candies, especially gummies, play dough, clay, sand, etc. These items will wear down the motor, likely continue to clog the plumbing system, and could possibly clog the unit.

3. Don’t grind items at random.

Some people imagine that disposal is like a wood chipper that can destroy any unwanted items. It is not! Avoid throwing things into the machine simply to get rid of or destroy it. Not only will it fail, it will damage or jam the machine, requiring repair and effort to dislodge items caught in the blades. This can be dangerous and time consuming if not done correctly.

4. Do not crush very fibrous peels / fruits / vegetables.

The unit gets its most use during cooking and food preparation. Often times, we may be in a rush to rinse the cutting board and throw inappropriate food down the sink. Anything that is stringy or contains a thick, durable crust will damage the unit. Shells can get stuck in the blades to bind or create friction that damages the engine. When in doubt, throw the items away.

5. Avoid expandable foods and carbohydrates.

Foods like pasta and rice will absorb more water and expand inside the unit and the sink. This expansion can damage the unit in the long term, as well as create bad odors.

6. Make sure to rinse and clean the unit.

From time to time, it will be important to rinse and clean the unit to keep everything in good working order. Avoid using chemical decongestant agents, they often don’t work long term and cause more problems.

Use these tips to make sure your kitchen sink stays in top working condition.

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