Thursday, April 21st, 2016
Garbage Disposals: Best Kitchen Tool Ever!
With six people in our household, our garbage disposal is used from dawn until late in the evening. We LOVE our disposal. It’s a super-sturdy ¾ horsepower ISE model; we’ve been using it for over 20 trouble-free years. It liquefies our morning coffee grounds, lunch and dinner scraps, and past-due leftovers in seconds, with nothing more than a heavy dose of cold water to wash them down.
Gasket Gunk — It’s Gross
When people complain of smelly garbage disposals, the culprit is almost always greasy buildup on the large rubber gasket at the mouth of the disposer. That gunk is toxic.
Clean the Gasket Weekly
Typically, gaskets are fairly simple to clean, especially if they are removable (a point to consider when purchasing a new disposal)*. We keep an old toothbrush on hand for cleaning the disposal gasket nooks and crannies.
• To clean, pop out the gasket, slather grease-removing dish soap onto the toothbrush, hold your nose and scrub away the greasy food waste that coats the gasket. If the odor is too much, hold the gasket under warm running water while scrubbing. We recommend cleaning the gasket weekly to prevent smelly build-up.
• With the gasket off (and good lighting at hand), peer into the disposal – typically, they are clean. You may spot a rogue twisty or rubber band from produce or a piece of gristle from a roast but that’s usually about it. Carefully remove any non-food objects from the disposal (making sure the disposal is OFF).
• Lastly, use the soapy toothbrush to clean the metal drain rim that holds the gasket. Scrub underneath as much as possible – greasy ick hides under the rim and holds odors.
• When finished, replace the gasket, turn on the cold water (ALWAYS use cold water when running the disposal) and run the disposal for several seconds to let the suds wash away any loose grime.
If your gasket is not removable, the toothbrush-and-dish-soap approach still works, but it’s a little more cumbersome.
Disposal Cleaning Maintenance Tips
To help keep your garbage disposal shiny between gasket cleanings, try cleaning tips below.
• Citrus fruit rinds (lemons, limes and oranges) – We use citrus fruits weekly in our cooking, so this tip is one of our favorites. Spent orange rinds, leftover limes from margaritas, and used lemons from iced tea/lemonade/lemon chicken are perfect for a quick freshening of the garbage disposer. Cut the rinds into halves or quarters. Turn on the cold water and grind away the gunk in your disposer!
• Ice cubes – Some people suggest making vinegar ice cubes, but we find that plain old ice cubes from the icemaker are just fine. If you want to get crazy, combine the ice cubes with the citrus rinds and let harness the cleaning power of both, at one time. As always, run cold water along with the ice cubes.
• Baking soda + vinegar – Before retiring for the evening, pour about ½ cup of baking soda into the disposal. Let it sit overnight (or at least for an hour). Add 1 cup of vinegar, let the fizzing reaction take place. Rinse the mixture down the drain with… you guessed it: cold water.
Cold, Running Water – It’s Key to a Clean Disposal
For those who are sensitive to first world concerns and water conservation issues, a garbage disposal may seem like an extravagance. It is. Disposals are a luxury convenience that keep modern kitchens running smoothly. If you are pro-garbage disposal, we recommend three things:
1) Purchase the most horsepower you can afford, it will make a YUUGE difference in successfully using a disposal. A ¾ hp motor is the bare minimum in our home; we are feeding many people and use the kitchen sink at least 2 hours a day for food preparation.
2) Successful garbage disposing depends on running a lot of cold water during and after the disposal process. Fully open the cold water tap at the start of the disposal process. Keep the water running 5-10 seconds after turning off the disposal, to ensure the waste is washed fully away. Failure to fully flush away food waste is one of the chief reasons people experience clogs with garbage disposals.
Disposal Don’ts – Never put any of the following items into your garbage disposer:
• Stringy vegetables (celery, rhubarb, artichokes, etc.)
• Papery vegetable (onion skins)
• Meat gristle or fat rinds from steaks/roasts
• Beef or pork bones. Note: Chicken bones can be garbage-disposed at your discretion (they’re hollow). It’s noisy, but doable with LOTS of cold running water. Or you can toss them into the garbage. Your call.
Water You Waiting For? If you have questions about garbage disposals, kitchen drains, clogs, or plumbing in general, the professionals at Allied Reddi-Rooter are on hand to serve you. Call Ray today for a free quote or consultation. 513.396-5300.