Garbage disposals are undoubtedly convenient, allowing users to scrape food directly off their plates and into the sink. Unfortunately, problems can occur when the device is not properly operated or maintained. Attempting to put the wrong items down the drain can result in clogs, blockages, and other plumbing nightmares. These complications can mean you eventually have to call for professional drain cleaning services.
To avoid costly repairs, never put the following items down the drain.
Oils, grease, and liquid fats should never be poured down a garbage disposal. As these liquids cool, they begin to solidify, which can lead to hard-to-remove clogs in your pipes. If possible, reuse grease used for deep-frying or recycle it at a nearby drop-off center. If it must be discarded, first seal the grease in a leak-proof container.
While fragile eggshells may seem harmless, the membrane found inside the shells can wrap around the blades of the garbage disposal, potentially causing the mechanism to break down. Eggshells are best used in compost bins, and they can add nutrients like calcium to the soil in your yard and garden.
3. Vegetable Peels
Stringy and starchy vegetable peels may not initially cause problems in your disposal, but if you attempt to wash them down the drain consistently, they can lead to a backup in your sink. Veggies like asparagus, celery, kale, rhubarb, lettuce, artichokes, and potatoes have fibrous peels that can wrap around the device’s blades and cause clogs, requiring drain cleaning.
When you cook dried pasta or rice, it softens and expands. The same thing happens inside your plumbing. Pasta and rice can become caught in your garbage disposal, and each time you turn on the faucet, these foods can expand, ultimately resulting in a clog. Even if they don’t initially clog the pipes, the pasta and rice will eventually fill the machine’s trap.
5. Coffee Grounds
Coffee grounds contain small particles that seem to go down the drain just fine. However, coffee grounds can build up over time. It’s best to throw coffee grounds into a compost bin, as they serve as an excellent source of nitrogen and provide the soil with a neutral pH level.
Never send seeds or pits down your garbage disposal. Seeds and pits from various fruits, such as plums, peaches, cherries, mangoes, nectarines, and avocados, can become trapped in the device, causing damage to the internal mechanism. Even when larger pits are broken into pieces small enough to fit, it’s best to simply discard seeds and pits in the trash. Using the trash is an easy way to avoid expensive repair service and drain cleaning.
Animal bones, such as those from chicken, turkey, ham, and other meats, can cause a garbage disposal to break down. Larger bones can even break the blades or become caught in the plumbing system. Put animal bones into a trash bag or container and throw them in the regular garbage.
Garbage disposals have become an integral part of your average kitchen. This handy appliance can easily flush away the majority of food scraps. A wastebasket, on the other hand, would generate odors and attract insects. After each meal, take note of what food items you’re putting down the sink. Otherwise, you could end up having to call a drain cleaning service.