Garbage Disposal Do’s And Don’ts: Holiday Edition



Two men preparing food in kitchen while smiling

Everyone seems to have an overly-helpful family member who surfaces during the holidays. Sometimes that relative, let’s call him Uncle Steve, causes major plumbing problems. (Sound familiar?) Keep reading for tips on how to take care of your garbage disposal this holiday season.

After a big holiday meal, one problem that can manifest in a hurry is when Uncle Steve is cleaning up the dishes and tries to shove everything he can down the garbage disposal to set some sort of disposal-grinding record. It seems as if he enjoys or takes pride in almost breaking the system, perhaps because it’s not his own.

Before your relatives ruin your disposal and clog your pipes, make sure to give them this list of items to never put in the disposal. Make sure they read it, and keep an eye on them just in case. Never put the following items down your disposal:

  • Bones
  • Celery (and other stringy vegetables)
  • Coffee grounds
  • Egg shells
  • Fruit pits
  • Grease
  • Pasta
  • Potato peels

You may also want to teach your family to compost these items instead of forcing them down the drain. Composting can turn organic matter into what some gardeners call Black Gold, as it is so rich in nutrients. When added to garden soil, it promotes soil microbes that makes plants happy.

Post-Holiday Clean Up

The relatives have gone, but there may be a lingering odor left behind in the disposal. Here’s a couple of quick tips to get it back in shape and smelling fresh:

  • Put a couple of handfuls of ice into the disposal, and then top that with a half cup of rock salt. Turn the water on, and then turn on the disposal until all the ice is crushed up and washed away.
  • Pour a cup of vinegar and a half cup of baking soda into the (non-running) disposal. Let this disposal volcano fizz for 20 minutes or so. This will naturally kill any stinky bacteria.
  • Finally, put the drain stop in, and fill the sink up about three-quarters of the way with hot water. Add a couple drops of liquid soap, pull the drain stop out, and then run the disposal until all the water is gone.

After following these steps, you will have a much cleaner and fresher disposal for the next time your relatives are in town.

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