One of the best things you can do for your disposal is to always run cold water when you are grinding. Fats and greases will congeal and harden in the cold water and therefore they will flush through the system more easily. Do not use hot water, as this will have just the opposite effect. Hot water will dissolve the fats and grease which will then accumulate in the drain system and may cause clogging.
For the most, part if it is biodegradable it can be thrown down the disposal. However, shellfish such as clam and oyster shells are not good for the disposal and neither is anything with a high fiber content such as cornhusks. Potato skins can also cause problems for your disposal as potato skins have so much starch and often cause clogging. You should never, under any circumstances throw glass, plastic, or metal objects down the disposal, including small items such as bottle caps, tin covers or aluminum foil.
To keep your disposal running smoothly try grinding small bones or egg shells. This will actually help clean the disposal by scraping away surface deposits that tend to build up over time. Try throwing a few ice cubes down the drain, this is another way to clean out deposits and help you get rid of odors. For a little freshness in the disposal throw down some baking soda, this will eliminate odors.
Some basic Do’s and Don’ts
• Always remember the cold water rule
• Peels from citrus fruits also work well to eliminate the smell in the drains and citrus rinds will leave a fresh odor
• You can dispose of coffee grinds whether you are on a large metropolitan sewer system or a septic tank
• Flush your disposal for cleaning
• After washing dishes in your sink flush the disposal with cold water. Some detergents are caustic and by flushing the system such materials will pass through the system without causing problems
• Use a disposal cleaner, degreaser or deodorizer whenever necessary
• While it is all right to run hot water down the disposal when it is not grinding, always grind with cold water
• Don’t turn off the cold water until the grinding is complete
• Don’t be alarmed if brown discoloration appears on the face of the grinding disc. It is discoloration only and will not affect the disposal
What if the disposal gets stuck?
If your garbage disposal becomes stuck, first TURN IT OFF. Then try using a broom handle end or a strong wooden spoon and push in the direction that will twist it out of the stuck position.
If the disposal does not seem to want to turn on, shut-off the switch and look at the bottom of the disposal under the sink for the reset button. NEVER put your hand into the disposal without disconnecting the electricity to it.