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What Not to Stick Down a Garbage Disposal

Tips to prevent clogging your garbage disposal with food scraps during the holidays, by Haley Mechanical.
Tips to prevent clogging your garbage disposal with food scraps during the holidays, by Haley Mechanical.

With the holidays upon us, we tend to cook and use the kitchen more. With this comes an over-reliance on the garbage disposal for getting rid of food scraps. While these trusty contraptions are handy and save us the need to throw a lot away, it’s a good time for a reminder on what not to stick down a garbage disposal.

If you treat your garbage disposal like a garbage can, it can lead to needing to have your garbage disposal serviced. Sometimes even an honest mistake can lead to a plumbing call.

Here’s a friendly reminder to never throw these food items down the garbage disposal and hopefully extend its lifespan.

Coffee Grounds

We all want to support our caffeine addictions. And while coffee grounds might seem innocent enough, they can become densely packed, especially when they’re wet. What you get is an almost paste-like consistency that is easily capable of clogging the whole sink. The disposal can’t break that down.

Animal Bones

While at times it may feel like any food item could go down the drain, it’s not built to handle something as strong as animal bones. They’re made from some of the hardest substances out there, and they can cause damage to your garbage disposal if you attempt to grind them up. Bones of any substantial size will cause a loud grinding sound and likely spin around in the disposal as you attempt to use it.

The Outer Onion Layer

The garbage disposal can handle chopped onions with no problem. But the outermost layer of an onion consists of a thin membrane that can slip past the blades and cause clogs. It can also trap other food items in the garbage disposal causing an even larger mess.

Egg Shells

There is a misconception that eggshells can help sharpen the blades on your garbage disposal, but that’s not exactly how it works. The disposal has impellers that are blunt, and the egg shells won’t do anything to benefit that. The impellers grind food, not chop it. Like the outer shell of the onion, egg shells have a membrane that can wrap around the grinder causing problems.

Potato Peels

Potato peels may be thin enough to slip past the disposal and get caught in the drain. Alternatively, if they are ground up, they could become a starchy substance that could cause blockages within the pipes shortly after going down. Either way, it’s not a good outcome.

Grease, Oil, and Fat

While grease, oil, and fat may be in thin liquid form following a meal, they can quickly convert into a thicker substance. This can cause blockages within the drain system that can be problematic down the road. The safer way to get rid of them is to wait for them to cool and congeal, then throw them away in the garbage.

Contact Hailey Mechanical with Any Garbage Disposal or Kitchen Plumbing Problems

Just the name “garbage disposal” can be misleading at times. It’s important to understand that you can’t stick just anything down it and expect your disposal and your kitchen plumbing to stay operational. If you do have any problems with any breakdowns or clogs in your Dexter area home, contact Haley Mechanical and our plumbing team can help!   

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