Garbage disposals are big helpers in family households. Actually, more than half of all American households own at least one garbage disposal. These powerful devices are very useful but also come with a possibility of injuries, that is if you are not careful and if you don’t have proper safety measures in place.
I don’t know if you’ve ever seen how a human hand can look if it gets stuck in a garbage disposal, but trust me, you don’t want to see or worse, experience that. My point is not to scare you or be unnecessarily morbid, but I feel like these kinds of warnings make you think twice about safety first.
While a garbage disposal is not the most dangerous appliance in your house, that doesn’t mean it can hurt you – however unwillingly.
With that being said, let’s take a look at a few tips and tricks on how to make your garbage disposal perfectly safe for you and your family.
Power? What Power?
Before you even think about sticking your hand in the disposal, turn off the power. I know, I know, it sounds so basic, but you’d be amazed at how many people forget this crucial step. Not to mention those who just love playing Russian roulette with their fingers.
These three main rules will prevent 90% of accidental injuries. 3rd one is the final nail and might be optional, but the first two are a must.
- 1. Turn off the disposal switch
- 2. Unplug the unit if possible
- 3. Finally, turn off the circuit breaker
Think of it as a three-step recipe for not becoming an urban legend.
Tools: Because Your Hand Isn’t a Swiss Army Knife
Did you accidentally drop something in your garbage disposal sink? No worries, it can still be saved.
When you need to retrieve something that’s fallen into the disposal, resist the urge to just shove your hand down there like a brave spelunker. Instead, use a tool – a plier, a tweezer, or even a wooden spoon (if you’re feeling fancy) – to retrieve the lost treasure.
And because you so dutifully followed the three main rules, you still have all five fingers on each hand. Perfect, huh?
The Art of Un-Jamming: Patience Is a Virtue
If your disposal is jammed, don’t just keep hitting the reset button and hoping for the best. Be the responsible adult that you are and assess the situation. Remember to:
- Turn off the power (yes, again – always double or even triple-check this)
- Inspect the disposal with a flashlight
- Use an Allen wrench or a broom handle to gently un-jam the flywheel
If these tips weren’t helpful, we have a guide dedicated to properly unjamming your disposal.
Water: The Disposal’s Secret Sidekick
To keep your disposal in tip-top shape, always run cold water while it’s grinding. Hot water might be great for your showers, but your disposal needs the cold stuff. Cold water solidifies grease and oil, making it easier for the disposal to grind and wash them away. Who knew your kitchen sink was a little Ice Age fan?
If you want to get an A+ in our garbage disposal school, you can also use ice – it really does wonders for the machine.
The No-No List: A Roster of Rejection
If your disposal keeps jamming more often than you like, maybe you are stuffing down its throat something that doesn’t belong there.
Here is a list of several things that do not belong to your disposal sink:
- Fibrous vegetables (think celery or corn husks)
- Grease, fat, and oil
- Bones and fruit pits
- Coffee grounds and eggshells
Basically, if it sounds like something that could break or clog your disposal, don’t put it in there. Unless, of course, you want to become best friends with your plumber.
Maintenance: A Disposal’s Best Friend
Your garbage disposal needs love too. Show it you care by giving it some regular maintenance. A little TLC goes a long way:
- Use ice cubes and salt to clean and sharpen the blades
- Refresh the disposal with citrus peels to keep it smelling like a tropical paradise
- Run the disposal regularly to prevent rust and corrosion
Well, I guess that’s it. If you can take at least one sentence from this article, let it be the shutdown button along with unplugging the disposal’s cable from the outlet.
I know it sounds like I’m stating the obvious here, but you would be surprised how many people forget about something so simple and yet so important.
These tips will also increase the life expectancy of your garbage disposal, not to mention it will stay clean and won’t stink over time.
Peace out, folks.