Garbage disposers or waste disposal units (as some homeowners may call them) can do heavy duty work. They shred all sorts of food waste every given day that they seem indestructible. But waste disposers also need proper care to last longer.

Do not worry. You do not have to take your disposer out of the sink all the time to keep it in functioning perfectly. Just follow these easy steps and it will all be a breeze.

Avoid shredding hard objects. Bones and shells seem like no match for a powerful garbage disposer. But they can hurt even the toughest units in the long run. Hard objects can dull the shredder and eventually render it inefficient. Shrimp shells, shellfishes, egg shells, popcorn kernels, and bones should not be shredded if possible. They can also get into the rotating parts and stop those parts from turning.

Some disposal units are powerful enough to regularly shred hard objects. If you are uncertain of your shredder’s capacity, check its manual first. You can compost those food wastes that cannot be shredded.

Do not let waste accumulate. Prevent any waste buildup in the shredder by cleaning it regularly. Putting ice into the unit while it runs can keep debris from accumulating. Pour some water so the ice gets shredded faster.

You can also wipe its inside with a paper towel. It helps get rid of fruit and other food debris that can give your disposer that horrible smell. Make sure that the unit is turned off before you wipe it. Many disposal units have safety mechanisms to prevent serious injuries but proper precautions should still be taken to avoid getting hurt.

Keep disposal from overheating by running cold water. Food wastes still have a long way to go once they have cleared the shredder. Keep it running for about a minute more after being shredded. Run cold water to prevent the unit from overheating. Do not pour hot water because they can solidify waste inside the pipe, causing it to clog.

Dispose of fibrous and starchy food in increments. Fruit peels and wastes are easily shredded into pieces but that does not mean they should be disposed of in huge chunks. Fibers can easily get tangled in bearings while starches can easily build up inside the shredder.

Fruit wastes should be composted as much as possible. But if composting is not an option, be sure to dispose of them in increments. Slice huge chunks of fruit waste before putting them down into the shredder.

Be mindful of “easy to get rid of” wastes. Coffee grounds, just like fruits, seem to be no match for a good shredder. But they can get stuck in the trap of your unit. It is best to compost it if possible or simply put them into the trash bin.