Bob Vila Radio: Garbage Disposal Care

While they’ll grind and send most kitchen scraps down the drain in small batches with a good strong flow of cold water, there are some things that you can’t expect your garbage disposal to handle without problems.

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Listen to BOB VILA ON GARBAGE DISPOSAL CARE, or read text below:

“While they’ll grind and send most kitchen scraps down the drain in small batches with a good strong flow of cold water, there are some things that you can’t expect your garbage disposal to handle without problems. Fibrous foods like celery, broccoli, potato peels and corn husks can tangle and stop the blade, as can bones, eggshells and—oops–that spoon. And large quantities of coffee grounds or starchy food can gum up the works and clog your pipes.

For sluggish grinding or clogs, never pour bleach or drain cleaner in a disposer. Hot water’s not ideal either as melted fats can add to the clog. The best way to clean the unit is to fill it with ice cubes and a cup of rock salt and run it for 5 seconds. Here’s another tip: grind a lemon under warm water to get rid of any bad smells.

Before working on a malfunctioning disposal, turn it off. Never use your hand to pull out any foreign objects—use tongs or pliers. You can untangle fibers wrapped around the blade by using the wrench that came with your disposer that turns the nut on the very bottom of the unit. Then press the small red re-set button in the center and flip the switch to get things started again.

Get more info at BobVila.com… and right here at home with me, Bob Vila!”

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 60 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day. 

For more on garbage disposals, consider:

How To: Install a Sink Disposal
Bob Vila Radio: Installing a Garbage Disposal
Installing the Dishwasher, Sink, and Garbage Disposal (video)