Your garbage disposal is a magical bit of machinery. Just toss kitchen waste and scraps in, flip the switch, and seconds later, they’ve disappeared. We often take them for granted. Before you know it, we start putting things in it that we shouldn’t. Like any other appliance, if you take good care of it, your garbage will treat you right and last 10-12 years. The reality is much of our kitchen waste doesn’t belong in our waste line because it will damage, break or clog your kitchen plumbing. Your disposal can be a time-saver when cleaning up after your summer barbecue. Make sure you resist the urge to put watermelon rinds or corn husks down your disposal. Here’s a helpful list of 9 things you should never put down your garbage disposal:
Never Put Fibrous Foods Down Your Garbage Disposal
Fibrous foods such as asparagus, onion skins, artichoke leaves, and celery have stringy fibers that can wrap around the grinding teeth, causing your motor to work harder than it should. If you 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.
Bones Are Bad For Your Disposal
While you might think the blades will break up small bones such as chicken bones, they won’t. The bones will spin around with the blades. In some cases, the bones will get lodged in the impellers causing the garbage disposal to jam and stop. If they do make it down the drain, there’s a possibility they may get stuck in the drain pipes.
No 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 and create clogged drains, even if you run the hot water before, during, and after the unit is turned on. The small amounts that pass through can build up in your sewer main and clog your lines over time.
Coffee Grounds Are Good For The Garden, Not Your Garbage Disposal
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 sludgy sediment in your drain. Coffee grounds provide excellent benefits for your garden. They are high in nitrogen, and when used in compost, they will help the soil hold water. So, before you put coffee grounds down the drain or in our landfills, consider putting them in the garden or around your trees, plants, or shrubs.
Eggshells Are Also Excellent For The Garden
Don’t believe everything you read online! Some articles have stated that eggshells and ice can sharpen your garbage disposal blades. The first thing to remember is that your garbage disposal does not have a blade that cuts food into tiny pieces. They have impellers that grind the food up into very small particles before sending it down the drain. Eggshells can end up ground into fine particles that clog pipes. 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. But eggshells do provide your garden with calcium that will moderate the soil’s acidity and give nutrients to the plants. For best results, make sure you break down your eggshells before putting them in your garden or compost bin.
No 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 Belong In The Garden
Like celery and asparagus, potatoes and beans contain fiber that can interfere with your disposal’s functioning. Like pasta, when exposed to water, they swell and form a thick paste that will eventually clog the trap. Again your potato peels and beans can go into your compost pile and be used as fertilizer in the garden.
Fruit Pits Are Bad For The Garbage Disposal
Since you can’t cut through avocado, mango seeds, or peach pits with a knife, then your garbage disposal can’t cut through them either. The same goes for pineapple cores and crowns.
Watch Out For Non-food items
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.
Enjoy The Long Term Benefits
Your garbage disposal is a sturdy kitchen appliance that provides us a better quality of life. It’s one appliance that needs no maintenance, but it does require basic care to enjoy the long-term benefits. 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! License #986152