The familiar smells and tastes of Thanksgiving are just days away. In fact, you may already be stocking up on the essentials you need to prepare a delicious feast for your family and friends. Just remember, all the extra rinsing, cooking and dishwashing leading up to and immediately following your big turkey dinner put a lot of extra stress on a certain something – and no, we aren’t talking about the chef in your home. We mean your garbage disposal! Think about it, you’re about to load up your disposal with way more work than it handles on a regular basis, and the last thing you want is an embarrassing, smelly clog when you have a house full of guests. Follow these simple steps, and you can cross your garbage disposal off of your list of things to stress over this holiday:

1. Clean and Sharpen Your Blades

You can keep your blades in tip-top shape simply by running ice cubes through the system every few months. It’s a good idea to make vinegar ice cubes for this purpose because the ice freezes and knocks off any large chunks of gunk, while the vinegar acts as a natural cleaning agent that gets inside all the hard-to-reach nooks and crannies of your garbage disposal.

2. Run Cold Water

Typically, we associate hot water with cleanliness. But when it comes to your garbage disposal, you should always run cold water when tossing food through the system. Why? It’s simple. Hot water can melt or soften the food and cause it to cling to the blades, or worse, your pipes.

3. Small Bites, Please!

Good manners aren’t just for your Thanksgiving dinner table. You should also cut large food items into smaller pieces before you “feed” them to your garbage disposal. This will make the job a lot easier and decrease the chances of jamming the system or blowing out the motor.

4. Know the Problem Foods

Garbage disposals are pretty tough, but they can’t process everything. Certain types of foods are better suited for the trash. If you put these hard-to-grind foods down your garbage disposal, they will eventually lead to plumbing problems. Here are some Thanksgiving foods to keep away from your sink:

  • Cooking grease
  • Fibrous foods (celery, onions, asparagus, etc.)
  • Potato peels
  • Turkey (or other) bones
  • Bread (or any other food that expands with water)

Keep it Smelling Fresh

Sometimes your garbage disposal works just fine but smells a little stinky. That’s probably not what you want when you have guests over for a meal. The good news is that curing a smelly garbage disposal is super quick and easy. First, scrub the visible part with dish soap, paying close attention to where the rim meets the sink basin. Next, soak the housing by plugging the drain, filling the sink with soapy water and activating the disposal. Finally, once the sink drains, toss some citrus fruit down there for a fresh, clean smell.

We hope you have a happy, disaster-free holiday dinner! If you do run into any unexpected plumbing problems, Blind & Sons is always on call and glad to lend a hand.