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A well maintained garbage disposal is an integral part of a healthy plumbing system. Although it is true that garbage disposals are designed to shred up materials so they flow down the drain and travel through the plumbing without creating clogs, there are some things that you should never put down the disposal. Our plumbers in Sausalito remind you to never put anything harder than the blades, like utensils, oyster shells, peach pits and avocado seeds into the disposal. Items like this can dull the blades and prevent them from working properly.
Dulling the blades isn't the only thing that can cause a problem in the disposal. Items that are fibrous can tangle around the blades. Banana peels, corn husks, artichokes, full celery stalks and onion peels fit into this category.Some items reduce to a powdery substance that lines the pipes of the plumbing system. Egg shells and coffee grounds are the most common.
It is important to cut larger items into smaller pieces before putting them into the disposal. This will allow the disposal blades to grab it and chew it more easily. Large items can bounce around, fly out of the machine or cause the motor to seize.
Run cold water whenever you are running the disposal. Cold water prevents the bearings and shredder assembly from overheating. It also flushes the ground up waste down the drain easier.
If your disposal smells, it's often a sign that there is some bacteria building up in the area. Throw some ice down into the blades to clear them of debris that may be stuck to them. You can make special ice cubes that have a biodegradable cleaning agent in them to destroy the bacteria build up. You can also run citrus peels through the disposal to freshen up the smell.
If your disposal jams and shuts off, turn it off at the switch and clear it out. Then look underneath the sink. There should be a reset button (usually red) on the bottom of the unit. If there is debris stuck that cannot be moved, use a manual Allen wrench driver to turn the motor until the debris is loosened.