Garbage disposals are a convenience that allow us to keep our kitchens clean and our pipes from clogging when washing dishes and removing waste. However, there are some food wastes and items that should never go down your garbage disposal because they can damage your disposal’s blades and clog your drain pipes. Read below to learn more about the items that should never go down your garbage disposal:
Expandable Foods: Foods such as pasta, rice, oatmeal, and bread retain water, which causes them to expand. So even if they initially go down the garbage disposal smoothly, when water hits them in your pipe, they can clog your drain.
Coffee Grounds: Coffee grounds clump together when wet, and can clog up your drain just like pasta and rice can. Instead of risking a hefty bill from a local plumber, consider composting your coffee grounds.
Grease, Fats, and Oils: Other foods that shouldn’t go into your garbage disposal are grease, fats, and oils. While a small amount of grease entering your disposal can’t be helped, you should try your best to limit how much actually goes in there.
These substances solidify when cooled, meaning that if they cool in your drain, you’ll have a massive clog. The best way to get rid of grease, fats, and oils is by waiting for the residue to cool, placing it in a sealed container, and throwing it in the trash.
Bones: If you have chicken or turkey bones leftover from dinner, there’s only so much your garbage disposal can grind up before you start to shorten its lifespan. While some new, higher-quality models claim to be strong enough to handle rigid bones, it’s better to be safe than sorry and throw them out instead.
Nuts: Nuts can also do a number on your garbage disposal, leading to wear and tear. Not only are these hard foods rough on the blades, but softer nuts can turn into a paste when put down the disposal—and end up clogging your drain.
Eggshells: Eggshell membranes can stick to the inside of your disposal, hindering performance. Besides that, the shells themselves can cling to other items in the drain and cause a clog. Take a different route after making your Saturday morning scrambled eggs, like composting or trashing them.
Potato Peels: Similar to egg membranes, potato peels can get caught on other items in your disposal, clumping together and forming a clog. Another headache scenario: the starch in the potatoes can turn into a paste when ground up, which can also block up your pipes.
Fibrous Foods: Fibrous (aka stringy) foods such as celery, pumpkin, corn husks, artichokes, and asparagus can get caught up in your grinder and clog up your pipes.
Pits: Putting peach and avocado pits down your disposal is like putting a boulder into a piece of machinery. It’ll have long-lasting impacts on your disposal’s grinding power, leaving it less-effective in the future.
Seafood Shells: Like pits, seafood shells are hard enough to do some serious damage to your garbage disposal. And the ones you can grind up will eventually clog up your drain. If you’re not interested in suffering through the smell of old seafood shells, freeze them until it’s time to take out the trash.
Large Quantities of Food: Even foods that won’t lead to problems with your disposal can be a headache if you place too much inside at once. Always make sure that you’re only disposing of small amounts of scraps at a time. Anything more, like that veggie side dish that didn’t come out quite as planned, you should trash or compost.
Paint: If you’re repainting your kitchen, it’s tempting to drain and rinse your rollers right there in the sink. But latex or oil-based paints don’t flow down the drain without some issues.
Because these types of paints don’t dissolve well in water, they’ll stick to your pipes and can stop other foods from going through properly.
Instead, clean your paint-laden rollers by wiping off as much paint as possible and letting them sit in paint thinner.
Harsh Cleaning Chemicals: Using harsh cleaning supplies like bleach and drain cleaners in your garbage disposal can damage your entire drainage system. If you need to clean your disposal, ice, vinegar, and good old-fashioned dish soap can do the trick.
Trash: Any non-food items like rubber bands, plastic, twist ties, cigarette butts, pull tabs, and wrappers don’t belong in your disposal and won’t break down—no matter how long you run the appliance.
If you have dull garbage disposal blades, a clogged kitchen sink, or a dysfunctional garbage disposal reach out to the team at Spindletop Plumbing today. We work quickly to resolve your plumbing issues.
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