back to blog

Garbage disposal repair replacement and maintenance for summer 2022

Garbage disposals seem so simple. They attach to the kitchen sink’s drain, and with the flip of a switch, they grind up what gets washed down the sink. But the unique combination of an electric grinder attached to your kitchen’s plumbing means that the garbage disposal requires specific guidance and maintenance to keep it running and healthy. So which common garbage disposal issues do homeowners need to watch out for? And how can you tell when it’s best to repair a disposal or when it’s time to replace a disposal?

Here are some common summer plumbing tips to help homeowners keep their garbage disposal running and know when it’s best to call in a plumbing professional.

Be Careful About What Goes Down Your Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals are powerful appliances that are great at grinding up most organic food waste. But there are still certain items that will get caught or trapped within a disposal, or that a disposal just can’t grind down, and that could cause the disposal to break.

When preparing for summer barbecues, picnics, and parties, remember these common items that should never go down the kitchen sink or garbage disposal:

  • Grease, oils, and fats

  • Coffee grounds

  • Egg shells

  • Pasta, rice, or grains

  • Flour

  • Non-food items

The items that can go down the garbage disposal safely are all organic food items — fruit and vegetable scraps, corn cobs (in smaller sections), cooked meats (in smaller pieces), small animal bones, ice, and soft food leftovers.

Defeat Stinky Odors Coming from Your Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals won’t clean themselves, and this can often lead to odors wafting out the kitchen sink. When running items through the garbage disposal, food scraps can be become lodged or stuck the grinder, and start to decompose — this tends to be the most common cause of a smelly garbage disposal.

To combat the odor, clean it out by running a mixture of vinegar and baking powder through the disposal. This should clean the interior, and remove any of the particles causing an offending odor. Once cleaned, run fresh oranges or lemons, and their peels, through the disposal as well, to create a fresh, citrus smell throughout the kitchen.

Be Cautious Before Performing Maintenance on Your Garbage Disposal

If there is a minor maintenance issue with the garbage disposal, some homeowners may feel comfortable attempting to fix it. It’s important to be cautious when performing maintenance, though, because of how the garbage disposal works and because of what it is capable of. 

Before attempting maintenance, remember to shut the garbage disposal off, and to unplug it. Usually, the disposal is plugged into a special circuit connected below the kitchen sink, near the back or side and high enough up that a minor leak won’t interfere with the connection. 

However, if the disposal is showing signs of a major issue — such as smoking, not turning on, or if there is a major leak coming from the disposal — it’s best to contact a professional to diagnose the issue and fix it. Depending on the severity of the problem, it may be easier — and cheaper — for homeowners to replace the unit outright versus trying to continue repairing the unit.

If you are having issues with your garbage disposal, or if you have questions about your disposal’s performance, reach out to professional plumbers for assistance — such as the professionals at Duane Blanton Plumbing, Sewer, Heating, and Cooling. With over 30 years of experience, the Round Lake area based experts at Duane Blanton will be able to answer any questions homeowners have about their garbage disposal or their plumbing in general. Reach out today, at (815) 781-2567, or schedule online via Duane Blanton Plumbing, Sewer, Heating, and Cooling’s convenient online scheduling portal!


Dave, Mike & Matt were our guys from estimate to installation. All of our workers did amazing work. They were on time, worked efficiently, explained…

Britni S.

Mike and Tim were a great help with my water heater issue. They went over what the problem was, what the solutions were, and did…

Eric B.

Very friendly phone operators. Professional workers. Arrived very quickly and it wasn’t even a serious emergency. Very good communication throughout the whole process with every…

Danielle D.

These guys are WONDERFUL! Especially if you have an older home and old pipes. We have the service package that covers pipes, boiler (heating) and…

Lisa M.

We had water coming through our kitchen ceiling and someone was able to come out same day and identify the problem. Michael B and Aaron…

Meaghan D.
Translate »