Garbage Disposal Dos and Don'ts

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Garbage Disposal Dos and Don'ts

We’re going to look into our crystal ball to see what things looked and sounded like in a fictional Waterford, MI home during the cleanup following Thanksgiving dinner. Glenda looked at the mess and said, “The garbage can is full. What am I going to do with these turkey bones?” Her husband Gary (who’s in a hurry to watch even more football) said, “Oh just go ahead and put them down the garbage disposal, it will be fine.” The bones were quickly followed by fatty scraps from the ham, oily pan drippings and stuck-on skin from the turkey pan, heavy whipping cream, and finally a big plate of stuffing because there’s always one family member whose eyes are bigger than his stomach. 

Is it any wonder the day after Thanksgiving is one of the busiest days of the year for plumbers, including at Kotz Heating, Cooling & Plumbing?


Garbage disposals add convenience to our lives, but sometimes they might be a little too convenient. It’s easy to put things in the disposal that really should go in the garbage. The result is a need for plumbing maintenance in your Waterford, MI home. As such, let’s talk about some do’s and don’ts.


  • Read the owner’s manual and follow the directions. Each garbage disposal is unique and recommendations can vary.
  • Make sure the disposal is installed by a professional plumber. It’s not a complicated plumbing job, but it must be hooked up correctly.
  • Teach children the disposal is dangerous and to keep their hands away.
  • Run cold water when using the garbage disposal. This helps turn fats into solids so they can be ground up instead of sticking to the drainpipes.
  • Be sure to check the disposal for things like silverware, bottle caps, and jewelry before turning it on.
  • Grinding citrus peels (lemon, orange, etc.) can give your kitchen a clean fresh scent.


  • Never put your hand in the garbage disposal. If something accidentally falls in, turn it off and use tongs to retrieve the item.
  • Do not pour grease or oil into the garbage disposal.
  • Metal, wood, sponges, or glass should never be ground up.
  • Be careful with fibrous foods. For example, a small piece of celery is OK, several stalks of celery are not. The fibers can wrap around the disposal blade.
  • Don’t overdo starchy foods. Only small amounts of things like pasta, potatoes, and potato peels. They can build up in the pipes and cause a clog.

Best ways to clean a disposal

  1. Ice & salt—Put some ice cubes (maybe a half-dozen) into the garbage disposal along with rock salt. Run cold water and turn it on. The grinding action of the coarse salt and ice chucks remove oil and grime.
  2. Baking soda & vinegar—Poor 1 cup of baking soda into the disposal, pushing it down with a rubber spatula. Then pour in 1 cup of vinegar and let the bubbling chemical reaction do its cleaning magic.
  3. Detergent flush—Fill the sink about one-fourth full of water and add a few drops of dish soap. Remove the drain stopper and turn the disposal on. 

Call on Kotz

If things ever do go wrong with your garbage disposal, Kotz Heating, Cooling & Plumbing is here for professional plumbing maintenance. We’ve been delivering quality without compromise since 1929. Be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.