Like all mechanical things, garbage disposals don’t last forever…not even close.

So to give it a little (or even a lot) more longevity, there are some simple “care and feeding” steps you should know and follow:

  • Feed the disposal gradually. Take care to keep utensils and your hands out of the drain.
  • Corn husks and other fibrous items shouldn’t be placed in the disposal as they are a frequent cause of clogs, some of which can require a professional plumber to repair.  Other fibrous foods to avoid include onion skins, celery, and most soft vegetables.
  • Deodorize. Cut a lemon into small pieces and drop the fruit into the disposal along with some baking soda or distilled white vinegar. Turn on the cold water faucet and then the disposal. The unit will clean itself as it grinds up the mixture.
  • Use a strong flow of cold water and keep it running at least 30 seconds after the grinding noise has stopped.  This helps to flush food all the way down the drain line.
  • Do not put uncooked meat fat or liquid fats into your disposal.


Common Repair Problems

What happens if it clogs up anyway, or other things go wrong?  Here’s what to look for:

  • If the disposal won’t run, check the circuit breaker or fuse and replace or reset as necessary. Also check to see if the overload switch has tripped. Find the reset button at the bottom of the disposal unit and push it.
  • If the motor hums but the disposal doesn’t run, you may have a jammed impeller, and that’s a repairable problem.
  • If the disposal runs intermittently, the switch or stopper may be defective…if so, you’ll need to have it replaced.
  • A leaky garbage disposal isn’t necessarily a sign of rust.  The cause might be as simple as a loose connection, which can readily be tightened.
  • If your unit starts rattling and clanking, chances are you’re trying to grind up something your disposal wishes you wouldn’t.  The result could be a damaged blade, impeller or motor.  But don’t be too quick to repair, since it’s probably more practical to replace than repair.


If your garbage disposal needs professional attention or if you’re ready to upgrade to a new and more efficient model, contact the plumbing professionals at Burton today.  We’ll do the job quickly, expertly, and with a guaranteed upfront price…just like always.

Click here for answers to your questions or to schedule service now