7 Things You Should Never Put Down Your Garbage Disposal

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Is Your Garbage Disposal Clogged?

Guest Post provided by Justin Curtis from Mr. Garbage Disposal

Since the kitchen is the heart of the home, many inventors have created gadgets that make cooking and cleaning easier. One such innovative tool is the garbage disposal. It was patented in 1935 and has been gobbling waste in many American households ever since.

Your garbage disposal grinds up food waste until it is small enough to pass safely through your pipes. This beats throwing the waste in a trash can to attract insects and other nasty vermin. Although the blades of your disposal are relatively sharp, you can ruin them with improper waste. There is a limit to what you can put in them. If you want your garbage disposal to work efficiently for a long time, avoid putting these items in them:

garbage disposal

1. Bones

There is a reason that animals and humans have bones: they are strong and protect internal organs. The blades of a garbage disposal were not meant to be bone crushers. While they may grind the occasional small chicken or fish bone, it should be the exception and not the rule. Not only can bones dull or break your blades, but they can also stay in the disposal and cause a clog. This could be a nightmare if the clog gets far into your drainage system. Pitch them into your trash can instead. Believe it or not, one woman even got a clogged toilet after trying to flush a whole turkey carcass down the drain! Just don’t do it!

2. Fibrous Vegetables

Have you ever had your lawn mower stall because of high grass? You probably had to clean the tangled mess out of your blades. The same thing happens when you put fibrous (stringy) veggies down your garbage disposal. All of the fibers wrap around the disposal’s blades and jam it. You can burn up your motor with extreme jams. Avoid fibrous veggies such as potato peelings, carrots, corn husks/silks, celery, lettuce, carrots, or artichokes. Save this carbon-rich waste for your compost pile.

3. Pasta, Rice & Oatmeal

If you have ever noticed how rice and pasta expand in the cooking pot, just think what it can do to your garbage disposal. Oatmeal is another expanding culprit. If you put them down the garbage disposal, most of it is small enough to get past the blades. They can expand in your pipes and become a trap for other food debris. If you talk to plumbers, they will tell you that most of the clogs that they fix started with this terrible trio.

garbage disposal

4. Nuts

Do you know how they make nut butter? They put them in grinders and grind them into a thick, sticky paste. The same process happens when you put any type of nut down your garbage disposal. Peanut butter may be a grand sandwich ingredient, but mashed nuts can wreak havoc on your disposal and pipes. Also, avoid putting any nut shells down the garbage disposal. They can dull or ruin your blades after a while.

5. Coffee Grounds

We have always heard that coffee beans can deodorize things—right? You would not think that tiny granules of coffee would hurt anything in your garbage disposal. In fact, many people pitch their coffee grounds down the sink and disposal thinking it is beneficial. Coffee grounds can stick in your drain pipes and make a gooey mess that is just ripe for an expensive clog. Save your coffee grounds to put in your flower garden.

garbage disposal

6. Egg Shells

You may not know which came first– the chicken or the egg. Neither one is a good choice for your garbage disposal. Some people believe that putting egg shells in their disposal will sharpen the blades. However, they stand a good chance of getting stuck around the blades and impeller. Do not leave this one to chance—forget the egg shells.

7. Cigarette Butts & Glass

A majority of homeowners realize that their garbage disposals are only for food waste. It may shock you to find out that many people try to run trash like cigarette butts and glass down the disposal. The filters in the cigarette butts can expand and contribute to a pipe blockage. It can also leach harmful chemicals in the sewer or septic tank. Broken glass can not only destroy your whole garbage disposal unit, but it can also be dangerous. Small bits of glass can fly out of the disposal and cause injury. Dispose of cigarette waste and glass safely in your garbage dumpster.

Garbage disposals make quick work out of cleaning your kitchen. You just need to remember what kinds of food waste to avoid. If you use your disposal wisely, you are less likely to get clogged drains and incur an expensive plumbing bill.

For more, see the infographic below, also from Mr. Garbage Disposal.

garbage disposal