What Should I Avoid Putting Down My Garbage Disposal?
March 15, 2022
Taking care of your garbage disposal will ensure that it runs efficiently and lasts longer. Not to mention, it can also potentially save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in repair or replacement costs.
One of the most effective ways to take care of this kitchen appliance is to avoid putting certain items down it, including:
- Fats, oils, and grease
- Stringy foods
- Starchy foods
- Coffee grounds
- Non-organic items
Wondering why these items aren’t suitable for garbage disposals? Let’s take a closer look at each one to help you properly care for yours and avoid unnecessary repair or replacement costs.
Have a clog or a problem with your garbage disposal?
Red Cap Plumbing & Air pros know how inconvenient a clogged kitchen sink or broken disposal is. You can depend on us to treat you like family and get rid of that clog or repair your disposal in no time. We’ll complete the repairs and clear your drain so your life can get back to normal. Just call (813) 963-3056 (Tampa) or (727) 474-8287 (Pinellas) or schedule an appointment online.
Fats, Oils, and Grease
Disposing excess fats and oils from foods down the sink can cause serious drain issues and clogs. When you dump grease or oil into the drain, it will eventually congeal and stick to the inside of the pipes further downstream, resulting in a grimy buildup that won’t go away, even when you run the garbage disposal. Oils like bacon grease aren’t the only culprit—foods like peanut butter, ice cream, butter, and other creamy dairy products can also cause clogs.
To avoid clogging your sink, wait for the grease or oil to cool and then toss it in the trash. Alternatively, you can drain hot grease from pans into a container (like an aluminum can), seal it when it’s full then toss it. Before you rinse greasy dishes, you may also want to wipe off any excess grease with a paper towel and put it in the garbage.
Fruits and vegetables like bananas, artichokes, asparagus, celery, and onions are great for you, but they’re not for your garbage disposal. These stringy foods can slip right through the disposal and ball up inside your pipes, wrapping around the internal parts of the disposal.
Not only does the wrapping create a clog, but it also increases wear and tear on the disposal’s motor. The harder it has to work, the more likely it will slow down or stop working, resulting in expensive repairs for you.
Fortunately, you can compost or throw away many stringy fruits and vegetable byproducts like banana peels and corn husks instead of putting them down your garbage disposal.
Certain starches like rice, pasta, and bread puff up and get very sticky the longer they sit in water. These types of food are likely to stick to the impeller blades of your garbage disposal, or they may accumulate and clog the drain.
Fortunately, leftover pasta, rice, and other starchy foods are easy to scrape off plates and put in the trash before washing dishes after dinner or lunch. The hardest part will be remembering not to put them down the drain if you have a habit of doing so.
While some foods break down and wash away in water, coffee grounds do not. Instead, they tend to clump together over time, forming a solid, packed clump that doesn’t easily wash down the drain. Although putting coffee grounds down your kitchen sink once or twice won’t cause a clog, consistently doing so will definitely create a blockage.
To prevent clogs, keep those used coffee grounds out of the sink and put them in the trash or add them to your compost bin. You can even toss the paper coffee filters in your compost with the grounds for fast and easy disposal that won’t harm your plumbing.
Although your garbage disposal might be able to handle small, thin meat or fish bones, it can't handle grinding up thicker, dense ones. If you’re questioning whether a bone is too thick to put down your disposal, play it safe and toss it in the trash. Big bones might break your disposal. If your garbage disposal somehow survives the abuse of grinding up bones, the hard chunks left behind will likely build up and clog your drain.
Not using your garbage disposal to grind up meat and fish bones will also help you avoid unpleasant odors and pests in the kitchen. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it’s best not to compost them and to put the bones in the trash.
Eggshells don’t break down as easily as other foods, so they’re not a good match for garbage disposals. Similar to coffee grounds, putting eggshells down your drain once or twice might not cause a big problem, but regularly disposing of them that way will create a clog.
Instead of putting them down the drain, consider crushing your eggshells and composting them or throwing them away in your trash. That way, you can avoid the headache of having to unclog your kitchen sink.
Generally speaking, anything that isn’t organic can potentially clog your sink or damage your garbage disposal. For example, we highly recommend avoiding putting any of the following items through your garbage disposal:
- Household cleaners
- Paper towels
- Plastic wrappers
- Produce stickers
Have Issues With Your Garbage Disposal? Call Red Cap Plumbing & Air.
If your kitchen sink is clogged or your garbage disposal isn’t working correctly, there’s a good chance something went down the drain that shouldn’t. At Red Cap Plumbing & Air, our friendly technicians are here to help. We’ll quickly diagnose the issue and provide the best possible solutions at fair prices.
Whether we clean the drain or fix your garbage disposal, we treat all our clients like family. So if your drain backs up again within a week of our service, we’ll come right back out and fix it at no additional cost to you. Just call us at (813) 963-3056 (Tampa) or (727) 474-8287 (Pinellas) or schedule an appointment online.
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