The Renter’s Guide to a Clean Garbage Disposal
Never underestimate the handiness of a garbage disposal. If you’re lucky enough to have one in your rental home then you know how convenient it is to wash away small food particles into the sink knowing that they will be obliterated by the garbage disposal rather than end up clogging the home’s pipes.
As a renter you shouldn’t take your garbage disposal for granted. Your appliance needs care to continue working as intended. Trust me –a simple machine clean here and there is far better than the alternative: a garbage disposal obstructed by a greasy ball of food remnants, stinky water sitting in your sink, an appointment with the plumber to remedy the issue, and a potential charge to you, the renter, should the plumber find that the garbage disposal blockage was caused by a large piece of raw chicken breast.
Don’t laugh. That imagery was drawn from a real life example.
Avoid those hassles by following a few simple steps to keep your garbage disposal clean and in good working order. Here are the top four tips from the experts in the Provident Partners Maintenance Department:
1. DO NOT put large pieces of food down the garbage disposal. Many people (read: my mom) will suggest that you cut up a lemon and grind a piece in the garbage disposal to fill your kitchen with the scent of fresh citrus. I do NOT recommend this practice. The garbage disposal is intended to pulverize left behind food scraps. Rinsing out your cereal bowl? Have a few wayward chopped onions on your plate that fell off your Chicago dog? Your garbage disposal is equipped to handle these types of food waste. It is not for actual hunks of food –citrus included. If you are chasing that fresh lemony scent I’d suggest throwing a few small pieces of lemon peel down the drain with the garbage disposal running.
2. DO NOT put grease down the garbage disposal. Of course there will be times that you need to wash a greasy dish or pan. I am by no means advocating that you cut bacon out of your diet. But once you’ve fried up your breakfast you should not dispose of the grease by pouring it down the kitchen sink drain. Grease will accumulate and impede the garbage disposal’s grinding ability. Instead, pour your grease into a closed container (old coffee cans are great for this), wrap that up tightly in a plastic grocery bag, and toss it in the trash.
3. DO give the garbage disposal a quick cleanse each day after you finish cleaning the dishes. Throw a good amount of ice down the drain, turn on the cold water tap and run the garbage disposal for at least 30 full seconds. For extra grease-fighting power put some rock salt on top of the ice.
4. DO give the garbage disposal a deep-cleaning at least once a month. I do NOT recommend Draino to clean the garbage disposal and kitchen pipes. The abrasive chemicals in this product can cause burns if it touches your skin and explosions if it reacts with other substances that may be in your pipes. A baking soda and vinegar rinse is safer, more natural, and more cost effective. Sprinkle a half cup of baking soda down the disposal, then add one cup of white vinegar. Quickly cover the drain with the black rubber sink stopper. The fizzy mixture will help to clean the disposal and push grime down the pipes. Let the baking soda mixture sit for a few minutes and then turn the hot water tap on for a few minutes.
If you keep up on these four steps your garbage disposal will remain clean and useful! If you’re a Provident Partners tenant with a clogged disposal please reach out to your Maintenance Coordinator at (480) 314-1414.