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What Should You Put Down the Garbage Disposal?

A plumber repairing the garbage disposal

There are a few myths in the discussion of whether garbage disposals should be used, and if they are used, what should be put into them. This post will hopefully clear that up for you.

Do Not Put These Things Down a Garbage Disposal:

General rule: If you cannot eat it, don’t put it down the drain.

*Even though the common name is ‘garbage disposal’ most garbage is not okay to put down your sink’s grinder.

  • Do not put plastic down the disposal.
  • Do not pour grease down your drain.

Grease is better placed in the trash. Putting it down the disposal grinder will surely cause a clog down the road. The grease typically solidifies once cooled, and causes the start of an obstruction in your pipes.

Never Put These In Your Garbage Disposal

  • No non-biodegradable items
  • No Large Bones (examples include chicken, beef and pork)
  • No Pasta as both pasta and rice expands when in contact with water
  • No Rice as it expands with water, and it does the same thing inside your pipes
  • No Harsh chemicals as they cause corrosion, and a potential hazard when fixing later on
  • Avoid coffee grounds. These are better placed in the trash
  • Avoid Potatoes. Ground starch turns into a thick paste
  • Do not put fibrous materials (like corn husks, celery, or onion skins in the grinder) as they tangle and jam up the grinder

Follow These Suggestions With Your Disposal

  • Keep your disposal clean by using dish soap and always grinding while cold water is running.
  • Grind with cold water. It solidifies the grease and fats so they can be broken up with the grinder. Otherwise, they solidify further down your drain pipe and cause a clog.
  • Regularly using your garbage disposal keeps all the parts moving, and keeps any debris from building up around the blades.
  • If there is a smell coming from the kitchen sink, grind citrus (orange, lemon, or lime) peels to keep a fresh aroma.
  • If you are wanting to put a larger piece of food down the disposal, cut the large pieces in much smaller pieces. This will keep your disposal from being overworked and ruining the motor.
  • Certain hard materials such as small chicken and fish bones, egg shells, small fruit pits, etc. A scouring action is created by these particles inside the grind chamber that cleans the garbage disposal’s walls.

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