You may use your garbage disposal for its convenience. After all, it doesn’t get easier than having a mechanism in your sink that grinds food scraps and disposes of them with the flip of a switch. As an added bonus, though, your disposal may also be the most ecologically friendly way to get rid of scraps.
While composting for your garden is the most efficient use of vegetable scraps, your garbage disposal is a close second. Compared to other appliances, the energy and water your disposal uses is negligible. You also minimize the amount of trash that goes to the landfill, where the methane produced as it degrades is not as easy to contain.
Here are four things you can do to make your garbage disposal even more efficient.
1. Keep It Clean
Nothing mechanical works well when it gets clogged. Your garbage disposal is no different. Keeping it clean not only keeps odors out of your sink but also keeps it running smoothly.
A frequent rinse with vinegar or solution comprised of vinegar and baking soda can loosen grease or food particles from the machine. If you don’t have vinegar on hand, a rinse with dish detergent after every use will also do the trick. Keep blades sharp by grinding ice cubes periodically. For a fresh scent, grind citrus peels last any time you use them.
2. Run Cold Water
Cold water is inherently more efficient than hot water. It doesn’t require heating, so you don’t have to use extra energy just to change the water’s temperature. It also helps you avoid garbage disposal repair.
It also keeps your garbage disposal running well. It changes the structure of any oil or grease that has gotten stuck by making it more solid and less likely to cling to the pipes. This allows it to release and flow down the drain.
3. Use It Properly
You can’t just shove large pieces of vegetables down the drain and expect everything to go well. If you are going to put something in the garbage disposal, start by chopping it roughly into small, manageable pieces. If it’s not small enough to slip into the drain’s opening without a lot of pushing, it probably needs to be smaller before you turn on the disposal.
Run water and listen closely when the disposal is on. You will notice a significant difference when all the food is chopped and just the motor is running. When this happens, give it five more seconds to rinse the rest of the particles down, and then turn off the water.
4. Avoid Certain Foods
Not everything goes down your garbage disposal. Certain foods will cause problems and make it run less efficiently.
Lettuce, celery, and other fibrous foods often have strands that get wrapped around the base of the blades. Greasy foods can cause buildup and clogs. Starchy foods or foods that expand, such as rice or pasta, can also gum up the mechanism.
Knowing how to operate your garbage disposal properly and keeping it clean are vital to helping it run efficiently. The smoother it runs, the less energy it is likely to use.