Garbage Disposal Tips

August 15, 2009



The garbage disposal has become very popular in the United States. In new homes, it is a standard amenity. When used properly, the garbage disposal can provide years of service.

Help! My Garbage Disposal STINKS!

Garbage disposals and kitchen sinks are havens for bacteria causing odors. Some have speculated that the kitchen sink hosts more bacteria than most toilets. Therefore, thorough cleaning of the kitchen sink is recommended.

To rid the disposal of odors, first fill the disposal with ice cubes and lemon slices and then engage for about a minute or more. This will help remove food deposits from its interior and alleviate unpleasant odors.

It is good practice to always run the disposal with running water. Failure to do so, will certainly allow bacteria attracting food particles to accumulate. In extreme cases, the p-trap and drainware may need to be removed and thoroughly cleaned to alleviate strong and unpleasant odors.

Help! My Garbage Disposal QUIT!

Garbage disposals are electric appliances. If the unit has quit, always check the circuit breaker first. If the circuit breaker has not tripped, the disposal’s reset button (red button, see photo below) should be engaged.

Bottom of a typical disposal.
Bottom of a typical disposal.

If, upon engaging the reset button, there is no improvement, the disposal is likely jammed. Most disposals come with a “disposal wrench” (see photograph below).

Disposal Wrench

Insert the wrench into the center of the disposal and turn.

Wrench Slot

Should the disposal turn freely yet fail to operate, there may be a faulty circuit breaker, switch or other electrical problem and may require professional assistance. However, it is very possible the disposal is bad and needs to be replaced.