Garbage Disposal Upkeep and Maintenance

Garbage Disposal Upkeep and MaintenanceTo keep your drains running properly and avoid clogs, garbage disposal upkeep and maintenance are important. While our plumbers at Lakota Plumbing in Westminster can always help you unclog drains and provide any other plumbing services you might need, we know how frustrating it can be when the pipes back up. Here, we’ll give you some tips to help avoid any problems.

A garbage disposal provides a ton of convenience in your kitchen. To prevent clogs, keep your disposal in good working order and extend its life, the most important thing you can do is to be mindful of what you put into it. It’s not a magic and it has its limitations. Let’s take a look at what you can and can’t do.

Don’t Put This in Your Garbage Disposal 

  • Large bones in your disposal is a bad idea and can instantly cause issues.
  • Avoid putting potato peels, banana peels, and other starchy foods down your drain because it can make a paste that slows down the disposal blades.
  • Never put coffee grounds and egg shells down the disposal. It can accumulate in pipes and clog your drain.
  • Always throw fat and grease in the trash, not your drain. Grease coats the disposal blades and drain pipes, which can then cause clogs and lead to horrible smells wafting out of your drain.
  • Any fibrous vegetable like celery and asparagus should not be put down the garbage disposal because the fibers can tangle up around the disposal blades.
  • Don’t put paste and rice down the drain because it can expand in the pipes and create clogs.

Okay to Put in Your Garbage Disposal 

  • Garbage disposals are able to grind small pieces of ice which can help scour the inside of the disposal. You can also add a little bit of rock salt to help clean it.
  • The disposal can process small pieces of biodegradable food. You should throw away any large pieces of food so it doesn’t clog the drain.
  • Small citrus peels can help clean and deodorize your disposal.

When in Doubt, Throw it Away

How strong your disposal is and what it can handle depends on the type of disposal you have. Durability levels and motor power vary by manufacturer and model, but we don’t recommend pushing its limits.

If you have doubts about what you can put down the garbage disposal, just throw it in the trash can. It’s better to be safe than having to call us out on a Sunday night because you put 5 pounds of potato peels down the disposal and hoped it was up to the task.

Run Your Disposal

You should use your disposal periodically to keep it in good shape. As mentioned above, grinding ice, rock salt, and citrus peels can help keep your disposal clean, fresh and in good working order. Not using it can be equally detrimental, allowing gunk to build up and create clogs, stinky odors, corrosion, and possibly mechanical failure.


If your drain gets clogged, there are a few things you can try before picking up the phone:

  • Some disposals have a small wrench attached to the bottom. Use this wrench to turn the blades from the outside and hopefully dislodge whatever is stuck.
  • After unplugging the disposal, use a flashlight to locate the obstruction, then attempt to remove it with long-handled tongs or needle-nose pliers. Never, ever, ever stick your hand in there.

One last tip that we pass along to our customers is to avoid using a drain cleaner or other chemicals on your disposal. This can damage or corrode your blades and pipes.

Garbage disposal upkeep and maintenance can prevent clogs and extend the life of your disposal. If you follow the tips above, you should be good to go. However, if you run into any problems or need a new disposal, call our plumbing experts at Lakota Plumbing in Westminster. Serving the entire Denver metro area, we’re available 24/7 for clogged drains, frozen pipes and much more. Call or contact us today.