Secrets of a Garbage Disposer

While conducting my normal home inspection of the kitchen, the sink and faucet area is always of outmost importance. I routinely check all kitchen appliances for water leaks, proper water pressure, adequate drainage and any loose or improperly installed electrical wires.  The garbage disposal is operated and I peek below the sink to see that it is firmly mounted in place, as there is a possibility for these disposers to loosen over time. While operating the garbage disposal I will check the hot and cold water controls at the same time.

A question sometimes arises, while doing my home inspection, as to if there are any benefits  to running  either hot or cold water into the operated garbage disposal; and what the proper procedures are for proper maintenance.

Here’s my ”to do and what not to do list”:

  • During the operation of disposing most food waste  always use  a strong flow of cold water to flush all food debris down the drain.  This helps any grease or oils to solidify, making them more easily chopped up/and cut up before reaching the P-trap located within the drain line under the sink. Putting chicken bones down the drain is acceptable
  • NEVER use hot water when disposing normal food waste.  Hot water can cause grease or oils to build up excessively on the blades, and  may eventually cause your drain to clog.
  • However, when cleaning time arrives for the disposer, now it’s ok to use the hot water. Using equal parts of white vinegar and baking soda, then flushing with very hot or boiling water usually does the trick.  Afterwards put ice cubes in to help clean the blades.
  • Don’t forget to scrub under the rubber flapper, something that many people have no idea about. This is an area that may not be affected by the liquid cleaners because the under part of the rubber flappers remains hidden. Use a glove and a sponge soaked with a strong liquid cleaner that contains bleach. This will stop the bacteria in it’s tracks and odors coming up from the drain.
  • I also      like to fill the sink part way up with some hot soapy water and drain the sink while operating the disposer.  You can see that this does a really good job of getting rid of the debris that may still be left inside the disposal unit.

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