It's easy to assume from the raw power of a garbage disposal that anything is safe to wash down the sink, but that is truly not the case. Nothing is worse than broken-down, smelly disposal. Understanding the limitations of your garbage disposal will save you a lot of time, money, and headaches down the line. Here is a quick rundown of what you should never put down your garbage disposal.
Garbage disposals are a common household accessory installed between the underside of a kitchen sink and its trap. Almost all homes are built with one, functioning as an assist in breaking down food and other waste that finds its way down your sink drain.
A garbage disposal uses a series of blades to mince waste small enough to be washed away into plumbing, preventing future blockage and major damages to the sewer line. These are an incredibly useful and important component of modern homes, but they do have their limitations.
Most soft foods and liquids can be handled by common garbage disposals, and some are even beneficial to the care and longevity of this appliance including:
Ice Cubes: Ice cubes can actually help clean your garbage disposal and sharpen the blades. A couple of ice cubes every other week can help prevent debris buildup.
Citrus Fruits: The acid of citrus fruits helps break down debris inside of the garbage disposal while instituting a fresh smell.
Dish Soap/ Disposal Fluid: Dish soap and disposal fluid help flush out grease that can cause major blockage and damage. This leads to a longer life for your garbage disposal.
Cold Water: Whenever your garbage disposal is running, you should always use cold water for ten seconds before and after to help carry waste down the drain and prevent blockages.
There are some items that are incredibly detrimental to the health of your garbage disposal and should never be washed down. Some of the worst things to put down your disposal include:
Coffee Grounds: One of the most common misconceptions is that you can flush coffee grounds down the drain. Although they appear finely chopped, they’re very densely packed and paste-like. If put these down the drain, there is a high chance a clog will form.
Grease, Oil, Fat: Grease, oil, and fat are tricky substances as they appear to be liquid at the present moment but will absolutely solidify and congeal over time causing damage and blockage in the drain. It is best to let these cool and then dispose of them in the trash can.
Eggshells: No, eggshells cannot help sharpen the blades of your garbage disposal (a common misconception), and can cause damage when their membranes get wrapped around the grinder.
Hard foods: Hard foods such as bones, nuts, pits, and shells are too hard for your garbage disposal blades to cut through and can cause damage or jams in the disposal mechanisms.
Fibrous, Stringy Fruits, and Vegetables: Many fruits and vegetables have fibrous stands that can tangle around your disposal blades. A few of these include banana peels, celery, and asparagus.
Non-Food Materials: Although it’s called a garbage disposal, it should not be treated like a garbage can. Nonfood items including plastic, paper towels, metal, or tissues can cause major damage to your disposal among other problems such as spreading through the drainage system and depositing into the local water supply. If it isn’t biodegradable, do not put it down the garbage disposal.
Pasta and Other Expandable Foods: Foods that expand when in water should not be put down your garbage disposal. Pasta, rice, bread, oatmeal, and others will expand over time if sitting in your drainage system and will likely cause clogs in the future.
Are you in need of help or advice for your own home’s garbage disposal or a new garbage disposal installation? If you are in the Central Pennsylvania area – call WM Buffington! Our team of trained professionals can help through every step in the process and deliver the perfect solution.