Garbage Disposal Do’s and Don’ts
There are major perks to having a garbage disposal in your kitchen. To put it simply, they are a magic switch that grinds away your food waste and is environmentally friendly by keeping less food in landfills. But just like everything in life, this magical tool does have its limits, and it needs maintenance to ensure it works efficiently and lasts as long as possible. There are rules and best practices to keep your garbage disposal running in the best condition – because it is essentially the safety gate for your household plumbing!
Most think Garbage Disposals as a blender with blades, but a garbage disposal has impellers – similar to a coffee grinder. Garbage disposals grind up most types of everyday food waste into small tiny pieces so it can quickly be passed through the drain, then through the household plumbing, and then further treated at the water treatment facility. So, what should you never put down the garbage disposal?
NEVER EVER put any non-food items in the garbage disposal including plastic, pills, produce stickers, paint, cigarette butts, basically ANY non-food waste. Always check to make sure there are not any utensils or non-food waste in the drain before operating the Garbage Disposal.
NEVER Put Down These Items in Your Garbage Disposal:
Grease, Fat, or Oils
The disposals can pass the liquid pretty easily; however, when that cools down, it will solidify in the pipes and cause major clogs and household plumbing issues.
Coffee grounds are misleading and our arch-nemesis! The grounds will get caught in your shredder and can pack in tight together, causing build-ups in your pipes further down the drain. Coffee grounds are compostable.
The membrane of the eggshells will get wrapped around the impellers and cause the them to jam or block the drain filters causing it to clog. Eggshells are compostable.
They’ll just keep spinning around with the disposal’s impellers, and if they happen to make it through the disposal, they will get caught, block the drains, and could cause clogs to your household plumbing. Bones should be thrown away in the trash can.
We’ve either all experienced it, or know someone who accidentally put potato skins in the garbage disposal and caused it to jam or break! But even vegetables like celery, artichokes, asparagus, onion skins, corn husks, or leafy greens like lettuce, kale, collard greens, chard, etc. that have fibrous strings will tangle around your disposal’s impellers and cause jams and sometimes further maintenance. To avoid jams or clogs, these types of food can be composted or can be thrown away.
Fruit Pits, Cores, Seeds, Peels
These are too hard for the impellers to grind and process its solid form as well as have the ability to pass through the holes of the drain. These would be best to be composted or thrown away. If you wouldn’t put it in a blender or cut it with a knife, definitely don’t put in the disposal!
Pasta and Rice
The longer pasta and rice are immersed in water, the more they will expand. If pasta, rice, or grains are put inside your drain, they will quickly expand and cause significant drain clogs for your household plumbing. If you have leftover pasta dinners or an old casserole that’s been in your refrigerator for far too long, we recommend not putting it down the drain, and it should be thrown away.
So – now you’re probably asking, what is okay to put down the disposal? And, how can I avoid future food waste in my household plumbing?
Our plumber’s rule of thumb is:
If a baby can eat it, then the disposal can handle it!
It might be helpful to see how a garbage disposal actually works and understand how the food is processed in the disposal and through the drain. Check out this video:
Garbage Disposal Maintenance and Cleaning Plumbers’ Pro Tips
Keep it Clean:
If you don’t already have one, get a drain trap for your kitchen sink, so it can collect the larger items while you are cleaning dishes. This is an easy and affordable solution to prevent more complex and expensive plumbing problems.
Clean out your drain and disposal about once a month by throwing in a handful of ice cubes along with a 1TBS of salt into the garbage disposal, and then turn it on while running hot water. Doing this will clean the impellers by collecting any built-up food waste or scraps that are stuck inside the garbage disposal or drain. You can also add lemon juice or vinegar to the ice cubes before freezing them to also to combat odor and add additional disinfectant.
If odor persists, pour a 1TBS of bleach in the drain and allow to sit for a few moments, then flush with hot water, and turn on the disposal.
If you are experiencing issues with your garbage disposal at home, we are here to help! Call us at (775) 828-4193!
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