Figuring out what you can and can’t put in your garbage disposal can be puzzling. Here are some helpful tips to make sure you’re not damaging your disposal!
Plenty of foods are safe to put down the drain but some can really do a number on your disposal. Making that mistake can cause warped and broken blades, or in more severe cases a burnt-out motor. To have these components fixed or replaced can be quite costly. Yes, garbage disposals are intended for chopping up food waste so it can be flushed down the drain. Yet, there are foods that your garbage disposal is no match for.
One of the top contenders your disposal is no match for is scraps that are too hard to grind up. Scraps such as bones, shells and fruit pits are so solid, that your disposal won’t even be able to dent them. Next up are items like celery, pumpkin guts and onion skins–while these foods are super easy for your disposal to tear through, they can just as easily ruin it. These are fibrous foods, meaning that once they are ground up they can get tangled around blades just like string and end up jamming your unit.
Believe it or not rice, pasta and oatmeal can be detrimental to your plumbing. Each is easily chopped up by your disposal and carried down the drain–once they are in your plumbing it’s a different story. Even though they are already pre-cooked they can still absorb water and swell up within your plumbing causing a serious blockage.
Finally, no matter how tempting it might be you should never pour grease, oil or coffee grounds down your drain. It seems like the easiest thing to do in the moment, but later down the line they can cause severe problems. Grease and oil once cool will congeal and coat the entirety of your garbage disposal and plumbing system. Over time this causes your sink to smell, your pipes to have reduced flow and your disposal blades to be less effective. Additionally, coffee grinds when wet clump together, making them more likely to sit in your pipes and cause a blockage.
Now that you know what to keep out of your garbage disposal, you should know how to keep it in good shape. Maintaining it is very straightforward–you should always flush your disposal with cold water after using it. This ensures that bits of food are washed down the drain so your disposal won’t smell. If your disposal does start to smell, the easiest way to deep clean it is to use ice, lemon juice and dish soap. Using this combination will help loosen residue stuck within your garbage disposal and freshen it up all at the same time!
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