Your garbage disposal is a magical bit of machinery. Just toss any kitchen waste and scraps in, flip the switch, and seconds later they’ve disappeared. Well, in a perfect world, this happens without a problem, time after time. The reality is that many common kitchen wastes can actually damage or break your disposal and clog your kitchen plumbing. Your disposal can be a time-saver when cleaning up after your summer barbecue but resist the urge to pop watermelon rinds and corn husks into it. Here’s a helpful list of other things that should never be sent down the disposal:
Fibrous foods such as asparagus, onion skins, artichoke leaves, carrots and celery have stringy fibers that can wrap around the grinding teeth, interfering with proper motor operation. If you do choose to put fibrous foods into your sink, cut the pieces up into small chunks and run the faucet with cold water before, during and after operating the unit.
While you might think the blades will break up small bones such as chicken bones, they won’t. The bones will just spin around with the blades. If they do make it down the drain, they’ll get stuck in your drain pipes.
Grease, Oils and Fats
Greasy foods will create a film on the shredding teeth, reducing their ability to pulverize food. Eventually, the oils and fats will start to decay, producing an unpleasant odor. Grease in your garbage disposal can solidify, causing clogged drains, even if you run hot water before, during and after the unit is turned on, and small amounts that do pass through can build up in dips of the sewer mains and lateral lines.
They seem innocent enough, but coffee grounds are sneaky. They may appear to go down easily, but instead, they’re secretly piling up and causing a sludgy sediment in your drain.
While some plumbing professionals give the nod to egg shells, on the premise that the shells can sharpen the unit’s blades, that’s not always the case. The shells can end up ground into fine particles that clog pipes, and the stringy membrane in the shells can wrap around the shredder ring and stick to the sides of the disposal wreaking havoc on the unit.
Pasta and Rice
No matter how you sauce it up or how fine it is, pasta always expands when exposed to water. If you dump it down the drain, it will swell, filling the disposal trap and causing bigger issues. The same goes for rice and other grains.
Potatoes and Beans
Like celery and asparagus, potatoes and beans contain fiber that can interfere with your disposal’s functioning. And, like pasta, when exposed to water they swell and form a thick paste that will eventually clog the trap.
You can’t cut through avocado seeds or mango or peach pits with a knife, and your garbage disposal can’t cut through them either. The same goes for pineapple cores or crowns.
When your drain gets clogged, it’s tempting to pour drain-cleaning products and other corrosive chemicals into the disposal to clear things up. However, caustic chemicals can weaken the metal grinding chamber and degrade your disposal’s seals, damaging your unit.
Your garbage disposal is a sturdy kitchen appliance, but even the most powerful model can’t deal with unsuitable items. If your unit becomes clogged or won’t operate, call the plumbing professionals at Big B’s Plumbing today. We’re here for you 24/7!