What Not to Put down a Garbage Disposal
Know what not to send down the disposal in order to keep it running smoothly. (Photo by Katie Jacewicz)
The handy kitchen garbage disposal is useful for getting rid of a variety of food scraps and waste that might otherwise create unpleasant smells in the kitchen. However, many foods can actually damage your disposal or render it useless. These tips can help keep your garbage disposal running smoothly.
The strings of celery, artichokes, asparagus, lettuce, corn husks, carrots, onion skins and potato peels can wrap around the blades, preventing proper operation of the motor. If you feel you must put fibrous foods into your disposal, do so in very small quantities, and run the cold water before, during and after operating the unit.
Grease, fats and oils
Greasy foods will distribute a film over the blades, diminishing their effectiveness. Eventually, the grease will begin to decay, causing an unpleasant odor in the kitchen. Pouring grease into a garbage disposal can result in clogged drains when the grease solidifies.
Some people claim that egg shells sharpen the blades of the unit, but this is not true. The shells' stringy membrane layers can wrap around the shredder ring, and the shell itself will be ground to a sand-like consistency capable of clogging pipes.
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Pasta, rice, potatoes and beans
Even small particles of these foods will swell with water to form a paste-like substance, and eventually clog the trap.
Avoid the example of homeowners who have placed rubber bands, twist ties, cigarette butts, pull tabs, fabric, sponges and plant clippings into their disposal units. These items cannot break down enough to wash down the drain.
The garbage disposal is a sturdy kitchen appliance; however, even the best model cannot handle unsuitable items. If you run into any problems with your unit, you should seek the help of a licensed plumber. Sign in to Angie’s List to read trusted consumer reviews on highly rated plumbers.