Last Updated on July 27, 2017

Because of continuing problems that occur from the misuse of garbage disposals, it was felt that rerunning a previous Sunburst article on the topic is warranted. Our maintenance staff would really appreciate your cooperation, as well as your neighbors on the floors around you!

Although replacing burned out light bulbs tops the list of calls for maintenance, a too frequent and more time-consuming problem concerns our garbage disposals. Living in an apartment and utilizing a garbage disposal is quite different from living in a home and utilizing a garbage disposal. If a garbage disposal is not used correctly, a backup can occur in an apartment above or below yours. To keep our neighbors happy, as well as our maintenance people, we need to follow a few simple rules for the care and feeding of our disposals. First let’s review the steps for successful operation.

• Remove the stopper and run a strong flow of COLD water.
• Turn on the wall switch to start the disposal.
• SLOWLY insert food waste into the disposal and position the stopper to minimize possible ejection of material while grinding.
• After grinding is complete, when all you hear is the sound of the motor and the water, turn off the grinder and let the water run for at least 15 seconds to flush.

Next, consider what you are putting into the disposal. Obviously we all know that we shouldn’t be grinding oyster shells or old flower bouquets, but we may not be aware that there are other items that present problems. Grease and fat will cause build-up in the pipes, and these should be put into a jar or other container and put into the trash collec on. The same thing is true for foods that expand when moisture is added, such as rice, oatmeal, or pasta. Coffee grounds are another no-no. Fibrous materials, such as corn husks, ar chokes, and vegetable or fruit peels are also contributors to blockage. Large volumes of material that you have if the casserole you made is burned, or if the pot of stew is overly seasoned, should go into the trash, not your disposal.

Finally, there are some nice things you can do for your disposal. Grinding a handful of ice cubes while running cold water will help keep the blades sharp. Cleaning the disposal with a couple of tablespoons of baking soda and a cup of vinegar that is allowed to sit in the disposal for 15 minutes will minimize any unpleasant odors. If there are questions you have regarding this topic, you can call General Services at 601- 8190.

Ed Piechowiak, Maintenance & Engineering Committee