Drano For Garbage Disposals
Drano for Garbage Disposals
Checkout my video this is a summarized version of our in-depth article below.
Drano for garbage disposals, is it safe to use? Drano Liquid drain cleaners are designed to dissolve organic matters that have clogged sink’s drain and pipes. A bottle of Drano is quite affordable to buy. It is also easy to use and can give instant results. And because this liquid drain cleaner is readily available, many homeowners opt to use this product to get rid of any blockages in their drainpipes.
If you have a garbage disposal at home, you know how often this handy kitchen appliance can get clogged or jammed – especially if not used properly. But you may also be wondering, is it safe to use Drano for garbage disposals and can it be effective? If it works magic on regular kitchen drains and pipes, then you would think that it will also be effective for garbage disposal use? Or it’s not? Read below to find out.
This article answers the question “Is Drano safe for garbage disposals?”, and it tackles the effects of liquid drain cleaners on garbage disposals and different ways you can adequately clean your disposal unit.
Is Drano Safe for Garbage Disposals?
Although Drano’s official website suggests that their product – specifically the Kitchen Granules Clog Remover – is completely safe for use on garbage disposals, a lot of professional plumbers strictly advise against using Drano for garbage disposals. But why?
Accordingly, based on their experience, the chemicals in liquid drain cleaners are so strong that they often result in garbage disposal pipe damage. The key ingredient in Drano’s liquid drain cleaners is called sodium hydroxide, also known as caustic soda or lye. This compound can cause harsh burns and damages to your garbage disposal which will corrode many of its parts. Sodium hydroxide discharges heat when mixed with water.
Now we all know that plastic when exposed to heat can warp or get damaged. And because garbage disposals have high components of plastic, the heat that this chemical releases can melt the plastic components of your disposal unit.
Potential Effects of Drano for Garbage Disposals
The melting of your garbage disposal’s plastic components also releases harmful fumes that will spread throughout your kitchen. This is especially true when Drano products are combined with other strong cleaning chemicals, such as bleach or ammonia. We know that standing water from garbage disposal clogs can smell pretty awful because of all the waste that backs up and gets mixed in it. However, the toxic fumes caused by using Drano for garbage disposals are even worse for your health.
Another thing, the additional heat does not bode well for the impellers in the disposal unit either. As much as we try to avoid it, garbage disposals often get grease and oils stuck on the impellers because of the cooked food we throw into them. When grease and fat get heated up, they melt. After a while, they start to solidify again, and that hardened grease can cause blockages in your garbage disposal, making it difficult for the impellers to move or for other food scraps to pass down the drain line. When using your garbage disposal, it is advised to keep things cool or at least at room temperature, and avoiding the use of Drano for garbage disposals is one of the most effective ways to do this.
So, is Drano safe for garbage disposals? Well, the short answer is no. Drano is not safe to use on garbage disposals and it’s probably best to consider other options before pouring Drano or any other liquid drain cleaners into your garbage disposal.
How to Clean My Garbage Disposal
Now that you know it isn’t safe to use Drano for garbage disposals, you may be wondering, “How to clean my garbage disposal?”. Well, dear readers, there are quite a few easy yet effective steps you can take when it comes to cleaning your garbage disposal.
In most cases, you can clear garbage disposal blockages without having to use chemical cleaners. Most clogs and jams happen because the pieces of food or other items we throw in are lodged between the impellers and casing of the garbage disposal canister. When this happens, the impellers get stuck, and the drain overflows. Take note of the following steps on how to clean my garbage disposal, and try applying the few precautionary measures we’ve listed below so you can avoid clogs and jams altogether. Also, avoid using any kind of liquid drain cleaner.
Steps on How to Clean My Garbage Disposal:
Like most kitchen appliances, your garbage disposal needs a thorough cleaning every once in a while. Otherwise, your kitchen could end up having issues with clogs or jams, or worse, your disposal unit will serve as a breeding ground for harmful bacteria or mold. We know that cleaning is a chore most people would want to avoid, but the good news is that you don’t need to purchase any special or pricey cleaning agents or tools to get the job done. And you certainly don’t need to use Drano for garbage disposals. Your kitchen’s garbage disposal can be efficiently cleaned with common household items that you most probably already own.
Follow the simple guide we’ve listed below to learn how to efficiently clean your disposal unit.
- Disconnect the Power
Make sure that the disposal unit is turned OFF and unplugged from the socket. Disconnecting the power is a crucial first step because doing so can prevent a simple household chore from turning into a gory scene right in your kitchen. Always double-check what you’ve disconnected and turned off the appliance before cleaning it.
- Use a Plunger
If there is only an inch or so of standing water in the sink, try using a plunger before you attempt other strategies for clearing it. Take note that for this to work, you will need a sink plunger — not a toilet plunger. A sink plunger should fit perfectly around the drain opening better than a toilet plunger will. If the plunger doesn’t fit securely on the sink’s drain opening, you won’t get the sufficient suction power needed to clear the blockage.
If using a sink plunger doesn’t work, you will have to take the following steps to clear out the clog in your garbage disposal. Again, make sure that the disposal unit is turned OFF before doing anything else.
1. Clean the Splash Guard
Your splash guard or drain stopper probably has a lot of tiny food particles trapped underneath it and in between its holes, grooves, and crevices. Pull it out of the drain and clean it with a scrubbing brush. If you don’t have one, an old toothbrush will work just fine. Put a bit of dish soap and water on your brush and scrub the stopper vigorously. Pay extra attention to the spots underneath the splash guard or drain stopper, to get rid of any debris and slime that got stuck on it.
2. Remove Large Chunks of Food Debris
More often than not, clogs and jams are caused by large pieces of food getting stuck in the disposal unit’s impellers. Take a flashlight and a pair of tongs or pliers. Use these tools to take a peek at your garbage disposal’s impellers and pick out any piece of debris that the impellers weren’t able to grind up. You must use tongs or pliers instead of your hands because although the garbage disposal’s blades are quite blunt, they’re still sharp enough to wound and injure your fingers.
3. Use Baking Soda and Vinegar
A mixture of baking soda and vinegar is a much gentler cleaning agent than using Drano for garbage disposals. Take half a cup of baking soda and pour it into the garbage disposal. Let it sit for about 30 minutes so that it can work its magic by cleaning and deodorizing the impellers. After half an hour, pour in one cup of vinegar. The mixture of baking soda and vinegar will cause a bit of fizz, which is completely normal. This bubbly liquid will fill up your sink and do most of the cleaning. Let the mixture’s chemical reaction dissolve any gunk left inside your garbage disposal for about three minutes, then run a stream of cold or room temperature water to rinse the mixture away.
4. Grind Up Ice Cubes and Citrus Peels
Now is the time to plug in your garbage disposal and turn it back ON. Take about six pieces of ice cubes and grind them up in your disposal unit. The ice cubes help sharpen and clean the impellers by removing any stubborn gunk that may have been leftover from the previous steps. Make sure that you have the drain stopper or a splash guard back in your sink to avoid shards of ice cubes from flying around your kitchen which can injure you or someone nearby. You may also opt to add in a tablespoon of rock salt for some extra scrubbing power.
5. Grind Up Some Citrus Peels
Take a few pieces of either lemon or orange peels and throw them into the garbage disposal. The citrus peels will act as natural deodorizers and can get rid of the foul smell that was caused by the food waste. Using all-natural cleaning agents such as fruit peels, ice cubes, and rock salt is a better way to clean your disposal unit, while the strong chemical cleaners can corrode some parts of the garbage disposal.
When all that is said and done, run a stream of cold water one last time to rinse the garbage disposal’s impellers. We suggest cleaning your garbage disposals at least once a week to avoid food particles from building up in your drain line.
Tips on How to Avoid Garbage Disposal Clogs
- Have a steady stream of cold water running before you start, and while you are using your garbage disposal. Continue running the cold water for about 10-15 seconds even when the grinding has stopped to flush out the drain line and to make sure that the disposal is free of stubborn food scraps.
- Cut up large chunks of food before throwing them into your garbage disposal. The impellers can’t grind up anything large, which can lead to getting them stuck on the blades.
- Throw in your scraps a little at a time to avoid overloading your garbage disposal. Get rid of your food waste by throwing them gradually into the disposal unit while continuously running the cold water.
- Food scraps that such as apple cores and bones should not be thrown into the garbage disposal as these items are too hard for the impellers to grind up. Forcing your garbage disposal to grind up hard food will only damage the impellers.
- Don’t throw in grease, fat, or oils into the garbage disposal. These will solidify and cause blockages in the drain line. Get rid of these things by throwing them in the trash bin instead.
- Food with lots of starch such as pasta, rice, and potatoes should also go straight into the trash bin instead of your garbage disposal. Starchy food gets stuck, expands, and builds up in your drain lines, causing blockages that are hard to get rid of.
- Finally, consider having your kitchen drainpipe snaked by a plumber about once every one to two years as a preventive measure.
We wish it could be safe to use Drano for garbage disposals and we understand that most homeowners want a quick fix for everything including the things they use in the kitchen. But while it’s true that most home maintenance concerns can be resolved with one go-to product, that isn’t the case for Drano.
This is why we have recommended some other ways in unclogging your garbage disposals which are not only safer but can also deodorize your unit. However, it only takes careful management with your unit and you won’t experience much problems with it especially if you’re throwing only food waste that it’s capable to grind.
So again, avoid using Drano for garbage disposals but better try our tips. We also have a dedicated blog on how to unclog garbage disposals the easy ways and you’ll learn a lot from it.