Disastrous Items for Your Garbage Disposal

Far too many homeowners think of their garbage disposal as a catch-all for their food scraps. While they certainly are convenient tools to have in the kitchen, you need to understand what should and should not go in them.

Putting the wrong items down the disposal can lead to plumbing problems and necessitate garbage disposal repair. This post will cover everything you need to know about proper garbage disposal usage.

What not to put in the garbage disposal

Let’s start with what you shouldn’t do. Putting any of these items down the drain can lead to serious issues down the road:

  • Grease: Though they may start as liquids, grease and fats will eventually solidify as they cool down. When that happens, you’ll either get a clog in the disposal or the pipes down below. Make sure all grease, fats and oils go in the trash can.
  • Coffee grounds: They’re small enough that coffee grounds wouldn’t cause any problems in a garbage disposal, right? Wrong! Once they get into your disposal, they form into a thick paste that can render the disposal useless. Throw all coffee grounds in the trash, or compost them.
  • Eggshells: It’s a common misconception that eggshells can benefit a garbage disposal by sharpening the blades. In fact, the opposite is true. The membrane inside eggshells can get wrapped around the blades or create a blockage in your plumbing.
  • Onion skins: Similar to eggshells, onions have a membrane on the inside of the skin. The membrane is thin and wet, so it can easily get through the blades and cause a plumbing blockage. Again, the trash is your best bet for these.
  • Dry, expandable foods: Pasta, rice, oats and other foods that expand when wet shouldn’t go in the disposal because they’ll eventually cause a clog. If you do need to put them down the drain for some reason, run cold water to flush the food down the trap.

What can go down the disposal?

Now that we’ve covered what not to put in the garbage disposal, let’s go over the safe items that can actually be beneficial for your disposal:

  • Ice cubes: We mentioned above how eggshells don’t actually sharpen disposal blades—that’s what ice cubes are for. Toss a few ice cubes down the drain every other week to clear up debris and sharpen the blades.
  • Citrus fruits: The acid inside lemons, oranges and other citrus fruits is good for your disposal in two ways. First, the acid breaks down built-up gunk inside the disposal. Second, the fresh citrus fragrance can give your kitchen a nice aroma.
  • Biodegradable soaps: Despite your best effort, some grease will likely still slip down the garbage disposal. The best solution is some biodegradable dish soap or disposal fluid. These products will help flush out the grease and extend your disposal’s lifespan.

Disposal problems? Call our pros

If you’re experiencing issues with your plumbing or garbage disposal, call Big City Plumbing, LLC for garbage disposal repair. We’re experts in all things plumbing, and we’re even running a special offer on new garbage disposal installation.

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