How to Unclog a Trash Chute

Posted on Apr 1, 2021

Trash chutes are one of those underappreciated services in a residential building – at least until they stop working! This system is easy for residents. They open a door on the same floor as their apartment, drop their trash in, and close the door. Voila! The trash disappears. But when the system is no longer working due to a clogged trash chute, people will quickly notice. 

Why Use Trash Chutes? 

Trash chutes are extremely common in high- and mid-rise buildings, such as apartments or condominiums, where many people live in a single building. These chutes are used to collect garbage and move it to one central location for pick up or removal. This saves residents who may live on higher floors the time and energy of walking down multiple flights of stairs with a bag of trash each time they need to throw away a bag of garbage. Additionally, carrying a bag of trash through the halls and elevator of a crowded building is not sanitary or attractive, where trash chutes are discrete and much more sanitary.

Unfortunately Clogged Garbage Chutes Don’t Work As Intended 

Trash chutes usually have a door or opening on each floor where residents can place their bag of trash. It is then dropped into the chute, where it drops into a dumpster for larger garbage pick up. Some larger buildings may have their own trash compactor or even incinerator at the bottom. For more information on the inner workings of trash chutes check out our blog on “How Does a Trash Chute Work?”.

Preventing Trash Chute Clogs: 

Trash chutes get a lot of use, because so many residents use them every day. To prevent clogging, in either the drop chute or the trash compactor at the bottom, the building manager or property supervisor will post signs at the intake doors outlining what can and cannot be put through the trash chute. Common items that should not be put down a trash chute:

  • Pizza boxes or other overlarge or strange shaped boxes – these can get stuck in the chute
  • Christmas trees, wreaths, garlands or other live plants – these can leak sap or other material on the inside of the chute
  • Hangers, strands of lights or other protruding objects – can get stuck in the chute
  • Cleaning products, liquid soap or disinfectant – can make a mess or combine with other chemicals to create toxic fumes
  • Flammable items, such as recently lit cigarettes or cigars 

Other items that may be a concern, such as cat litter, dirty diapers or household food waste, should be wrapped tightly in a small, secure bag. Do not overfill bags or use oversized bags that do not easily slide down the chute. 

Unclogging A Trash Chute 

If you are the building manager or supervisor, it is probably part of your job to regularly maintain the trash chute. You may receive calls from residents about issues regarding the trash chute. Some of the most common issues are a clog in the chute, or that the chute needs to be cleaned. Both issues are easy to fix.

If the trash chute in your building is clogged, the first thing you will want to do is locate the source of the clog. A common issue is pizza boxes or other oversized cardboard boxes. While the tenant may have tried to break down the box, these can unfold or expand as they are pushed down the chute.

When you have located the source of the clog, if it is close to the mouth or door of the trash chute on any level, you may be able to manually free the item with a little tugging, cutting or elbow grease.

If the item is stuck between floors, you may need a long tool to push it to the door on the next floor, or you may need to contact a professional trash chute cleaning company, as they will have the proper tools to get inside the chute. 

Cleaning A Clogged Trash Chute 

Simply because of how they operate, trash chutes will get dirty over time. Bags may break or residents may try to dispose of items they should not in the chute. Whatever the case, trash chutes in residential buildings need to be regularly cleaned and maintained. The easiest way to do this is to hire a trash chute cleaning company, who can clean, unclog and service the building’s trash chute.
This regular maintenance will not only keep your residents happy but will also help prevent items from getting clogged in the trash chute. 

Professional Trash Chute Cleaning  

Are you in need of a trash chute cleaning service in hawaii? Contact the team at Airpro Indoor Air Services today for more information or to set up your appointment.

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