Garbage disposals are one of the most useful appliances in your kitchen, but if you’re not careful, they can also be one of the most frustrating appliances you have. Garbage disposals are capable of making quick work of even the toughest food waste, but if your disposal is not running smoothly, it can quickly turn into an unpleasant chore. Luckily, there are five common garbage disposal problems that are easily avoided with proper care and maintenance of your disposal. Here are the four most common garbage disposal problems and what you can do to avoid them.
Issue #1: It Doesn’t Run
If your garbage disposal won’t turn on, chances are one of two things has happened: (1) you pushed down a little too hard on the wrong switch, or (2) there’s something caught in it. The first and easiest fix is to switch off and then back on again with very little pressure. And if that doesn’t work, you can try plunging a broom handle or other long stick into your disposal and using it to gently dislodge whatever is stuck inside.
Issue #2: It Makes Weird Noises
Most garbage disposals make some sort of noise (grinding, gurgling, or rattling). But if your disposal starts making a different sound, you should start listening. The grumbling isn’t always a bad sign — but if it’s accompanied by a funny smell, continuous grinding noises, or leaks under your sink, it could mean that something is wrong.
Issue #3: There’s a Bad Smell When You Run It
First things first — stop putting food down your garbage disposal. (Some people think it’s okay to put a small amount of raw potato peels or coffee grounds through, but we don’t recommend it.) Not only does that stuff take forever to grind up and force you to run your disposal longer, but it can also build up inside your drain pipes and cause an odor.
Issue #4: It Drains Really Slowly, Clogs Often, or Leaves Food Behind
Do you have a hard time getting your kitchen garbage disposal to do its job? The problem may be that it’s not working properly, but it also could mean there are simply too many things being disposed of. If you have put something down there that should not be, try fishing it out with tongs or pliers — but not bare hands! The blades and drain hole can be very sharp, so it’s important to use protective equipment.