By Zoe Eisenberg
A garbage disposal is a clean and cost-effective way to manage waste. But what happens when your disposal starts to smell, gets backed up, or is otherwise in a funk? Below are five ways you can better maintain your disposal.
Baking soda bath. Once a month, pour a little baking soda and vinegar down your disposal. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then flush with hot water and turn the disposal on for 30 seconds.
Avoid troublemakers. Certain scraps and fibrous items should never make their way into your disposal, as they can jam up the blades. Peach pits, seeds, popcorn kernels, bones, onion skins and celery stalks are a few troublemakers you'll want to avoid.
Cold water flush. While instincts may tell you to flush scraps with hot water, you should actually use cold water unless you're cleaning. Why? Hot water will liquefy greases and fats you're trying to wash away.
Run water for 30 seconds. A simple splash of water won't do when washing down food. Each time you run your disposal, turn on the cold water for 20 - 30 seconds.
Never run a dry disposal. Even if you're only grinding up a small item, never run the disposal without the water running. Water will carry any remaining particles out of the disposal and will more completely flush the pipes.