In our last two blog posts, we talked about how to keep your kitchen sink from getting clogged and why you should avoid letting food go down the drain. However, if you have a garbage disposal, it shifts the game slightly. With one flick of your garbage disposal switch, it grinds everything up into a pulp, and suddenly your slow drain isn’t slow any more.
However, it’s not quite that simple, and if you’re in the habit of thinking of your garbage disposal like a trash compactor for your sink, you might want to think twice.
Keep in mind that not all garbage disposals are made equal, so certain ones might be better at handling certain tasks than others. When in doubt, consult your garbage disposal manufacturer or the owner’s manual.
Fats, Oils, and Grease
While conflicting opinions abound on many other items that you could put down the garbage disposal, this is one point that the garbage disposal manufacturers and the plumbers are unanimous about. Do not let grease of any kind go into the garbage disposal. Instead, wait for them to cool, pour them into a disposable container (like an empty yogurt container) and then throw that into the trash. If fats go down the drain, they create a gummy substance in your pipes that doesn’t dissolve in water, creating one of the most likely clog hazards that you can experience.
Coffee grounds and eggshells
These items will not hurt your disposal itself. The plumbing is where they are likely to cause a problem. The reason for this is that the create a large amount of sediment can collect and cause a clog, especially in older plumbing.
Celery, wheatgrass, asparagus, beet stalks, and any other stringy plants can wrap around the blades of your disposal and cause it to seize up. Some disposals claim they are built to handle celery, but if you’re not sure if yours does, you should throw it in the trash or only put it down the disposal if it is chopped into short pieces. (Of course, chopping it up is a lot more work than throwing it away if it’s not already in small pieces.)
Walnut shells, peach pits, avocado pits, olive pits, cherry pits, and other hard items are too rough on your garbage disposal and will weaken the blades. However, if your disposal does manage to handle them, they will be ground into small pieces that pass into your plumbing, causing problems due to abrasion. If you also have grease buildup on the inside of your pipes, you also run the risk of these pieces lodging in the sticky, gummy areas and creating additional bulk, because these hard pieces take an extremely long time to break down and rot.
Peels that are thick or fibrous like banana peels, pomegranate rind, cantaloupe or watermelon peels, corn husks, onion skins, and artichokes are better put into the trash than into the disposal. Even if you disposal motor handles them, your drain can get blocked.
It goes without saying that you shouldn’t ever put any foreign, non-biodegradable substance down the garbage disposal. Don’t ever try to grind up plastic, metal, glass, or any other non-food item.
For all your plumbing needs, call our plumbers at Home Furniture, Plumbing & Heating, and we’ll be glad to take care of you. Give us a call today at (815) 933-8211.