Don’t Put Everything in the Garbage Disposal!

Everything we put into a garbage pail should be able to go into the garbage disposal, right? No…that is not right! Unless you want one of our plumbers to come and visit you to fix your garbage disposal, you do need to consider what can and cannot go in a garbage disposal. After all, it is so convenient to have a garbage disposal…isn’t it difficult to live without, once you’ve had one? do not put in garbage disposal 2 Here is a list that goes in the category of “do not put in the garbage disposal”:

  • Anything that will solidify in the drain, over time – This includes oil, grease and fat.
  • Pasta – Because it expands with contact with water, it can clog your drain over time. If it doesn’t clog your drain, it will fill up the disposal trap.
  • Rice – For the same reasons as pasta, you do not want to put rice in the garbage disposal.
  • Fruit pits or seeds – Stay away from hard pits and seeds, like peaches, plums and cherries, as they will damage the garbage disposal.
  • Starchy and stringy vegetables – They can easily wrap around the blade so you want to be sure you don’t put vegetables like celery, corn husks, asparagus, lettuce and potato peels down the garbage disposal.
  • Coffee grounds – They may look harmless and like they go down the drain easily, but they can get caught in the disposal trap.
  • Bones – They are too strong to handle and they will get caught in the garbage disposal (fish bones are fine to put in the disposal).
  • Garbage and non-food items – A garbage disposal is not really designed for things like paper, balloons, styrofoam or cigarette butts.
  • Anything in bulk – It is best to feed small amounts of food and then grind it up before adding more small amounts.

We did not put these in the list, because they should be “no-brainers”…but be sure you do not put metal objects (like utensils) and even more so, your hands in the garbage disposal. No explanation necessary…just don’t do it! Some things you can do that are helpful in maintaining your garbage disposal:

  • Run the cold water 30-60 seconds after you have deposited the waste down the garbage disposal. It will help keep the motor, bearings and shredder assembly from overheating and will carry the food waste down the sewer line.
  • Cut large items into smaller pieces. However, if you find you have a large amount to dispose of, you should consider using the trash instead.
  • Clean the garbage disposal regularly. Throwing ice down the drain will help knock off debris build-up.
  • Pour vinegar down the drain and let it sit for about an hour to remove scale. Follow with hot water. A great suggestion to combine the last 2 points is to use vinegar ice cubes.

Taking a less is more approach is always a smart way to think when using your garbage disposal properly. This will help prevent unwanted repairs that will happen much earlier than you expect.  The average lifespan of a garbage disposal is 12 years, as long as it is maintained properly and not over-used. Be sure to take care of your unit and it will be around a long time!

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