Hi beautiful readers! I have Ali from Homey Improvements here today to share tips for how to clean your kitchen disposal, and how to maintain your disposal once it’s clean. Thanks for being here, Ali!
Last week our dishwasher stopped working. Thankfully the plumber said it was an easy fix. Unfortunately, he also told us it was a problem largely of our own making.
Turns out, we haven’t been taking proper care of our drains. Who knew? Fortunately we had the best plumber ever, and he left us with a great set of tips for cleaning and maintaining our drains and disposals.
1. Take Steps to Avoid Clogs
Avoid clogs. Seems simple. But it’s a hard step to implement if you never think about it.
This kind of clog prevention only takes a few seconds. Every month simply put a few tablespoons of baking soda into your sink drain and follow it with a cup of white distilled vinegar. Wait a few seconds for it to fizz up and then run hot water for 30 seconds. Afterwards, I like to add several ice cubes while the water is still running and turn on the disposal to really give it a good clean.
To make this process easy, I like to have a few vinegar ice cubes on hand to deodorize, sanitize, and sharpen the blades. Or save your citrus peels: they do the same.
- Learn What Not to Dispose
Did you know ground-up potato peels can turn into paste, building up and clogging even the toughest disposals? Or that pastas and rice can slip past the blades and then expand in the pipes?
Are you careful about keeping fibrous materials out of your disposal? Items such as corn husks, celery, and onion skins can tangle in blades, clogging or damaging the disposal.
Oils, greases, coffee grounds can all build up over time and cause major clogs. Instead of dumping good grounds down the drain, sprinkle them in plant beds to ward off ants. Oil and grease should never go down any of your drains. Learn how to properly dispose of them so you’re not tempted to rinse them down.
Even though we have a disposal in our kitchen sink it ended up sending some food to our dishwasher which would dry tiny flecks of food onto our cups. If you don’t have one, buy a good sink strainer (it’ll only set you back about $4). Once it has done its job catching food chunks, dump it into the trash can. Tiny food flecks can still get through the strainer so never start you dishwasher right after or while you are washing dishes.
- Washing Your Dishwasher
Surprise, surprise: chemical cleaners can be hard on your pipes (not to mention bad for the environment). Thankfully, you can clean just about anything with baking soda and vinegar.
Clean your dishwasher by setting a glass measuring cup of vinegar with a few drops of lemon essential oil in the top rack for a hot rinse. If it is extra dirty, sprinkle the bottom with baking soda.
- Start a Maintenance Schedule
Just keeping your drains chunk-free and your disposals smelling clean isn’t enough.
Try dedicating a day each season to knocking out all of your important, seasonal plumbing maintenance to-dos at once. Maintain your plumbing, check or change HVAC filters, test fire extinguishers, change smoke alarm batteries, etc.
Giving up a few hours a year to maintenance isn’t much when you consider the hassles, breakdowns and money you’ll save by caring for your home.
Some people have the gift of DIY. Other should stay far away from any and all home repair. You may be able to handle some plumbing issues yourself (or learn to), but it’s important to weigh the costs before trying amateur plumbing work.
Will you really save money fixing your plumbing yourself? Which will cost more: hiring a pro for a little problem, or bringing someone in to fix a DIY blunder?
Only you know your comfort, budget, and skill level. Weigh all three before deciding whether to DIY or call a pro.