What You Shouldn’t Put Down Your Garbage Disposal (And What you Should!)

South End Plumbing, Heating, & Air Expert Tips

What You Shouldn’t Put Down Your Garbage Disposal (And What You Should)

Foods you shouldn't put down a disposal
Foods you shouldn’t put down a disposal

You may have in the past asked: “Is it all right to put this (veggie peels, chicken bones, real waste) down the garbage disposal?” You dispute backward and forward, and finally, your friend who means well or a loved one packs the food in question down the disposal and runs it. Maybe it instantly ruins it and you get the dreaded “hum” and have to call a plumber, or maybe it goes down without a hitch. Either way, you still might be wondering “What was the real answer?”.

In the plumbing industry, we’ve seen it all. That being said, we have actually developed a conclusive checklist of things you can and can not through down your waste disposal unit (plus pointers on exactly how to keep your garbage disposal smelling good and its blades nice and sharp). We have actually compiled this list for you to show those family members of your own who claim “anything goes”.

Grease in a drain pipe
Grease in a drain pipe

Save Yourself a Costly Repair. Never Place These Products Down the Disposal:

These are things that are likely to cause a clog, damage the blades, or lock up the motor.

  • Do not put any kind of oil or grease of any kind down your drain. Wipe out the frying pan with paper towels or put the oil right into a canister as well as get rid of it in the garbage. Chasing after oil with hot water or dish detergent is insufficient to maintain it from clogging up your pipelines and garbage disposal unit. It will certainly line your pipes and never clear out. Also, oil and grease can become rancid and contribute to a horrible smell.
  • Stay clear of letting vegetable peelings or fruit peels off your waste disposal unit. Carrot, potato, sweet potato, cucumber, banana peels, and so on, etc. They will jam up your disposal as well as become stuck on the sides of your disposal or your pipelines. There was a time when it was recommended to put lemon or lime peels off down the disposal to freshen your kitchen keeping that citrus smell, yet actually, those will additionally obtain stuck in the disposal, so do not do it.
  • Never put bones, skin, meat, or fat down the disposal
  • Do not put rice, pasta, oatmeal, or grits down the disposal. They can rest, swell, and become glue-like, causing clogs in your pipes
  • We also do not recommend putting eggshells down the drain. They are lightweight and the yoke can act as glue sticking to the sides of your pipes.
A garbage disposal that has been cleaned with vinegar and baking soda
A garbage disposal that has been cleaned with vinegar and baking soda

Things That Clean and Sharpen the Blades of Your Disposal

  • Cleaning with baking soda and vinegar. We suggest a proportion of one mug of baking soda to two mugs of white vinegar.
  • Cleaning with hot water and Dawn Dishwashing Liquid (or equivalent).
  • Sharpening the blades with ice cubes and cold water.

So What Food Scraps Can You Put Down the Garbage Disposal?

There are foods you can safely place down, and small amounts of food scraps (thinking you run water and also the disposal while putting them down the drainpipe), but it’s ideal to utilize the disposal only for bits that inadvertently fall into the drain. For many dishes, you’ll want to scrape scraps from plates into the garbage as well as then rinse dishes in the sink, making use of the disposal for scraps small enough that didn’t make it into the trash can still clinging to your plate.

Troubleshooting Other Garbage Disposal Issues

Other than clogs or bad smells, there are other examples of troubles that we sometimes get calls for:

  • “My waste disposal isn’t switching on at all.” In several cases, the switch that turns on the disposal is located beside the switch that turns on the dishwasher. It’s easy for those to accidentally get turned off.
  • “My garbage disposal is jammed.” If you ever want to clean out something that got jammed in the disposal, make sure it is turned off. If not turned off you may hear a “hum” sound which is the motor with current applied. If the disposal is left on for an amount of time it can burn up the motor so switch it off as soon as you can. As an extra precaution, you may want to disconnect the power to the unit if you can. Then it’s advised to never clean out with your bare hands. You may be able to use tongs to clear the clog or call a professional.

If you ever have problems with your garbage disposal we are just a click away. Give us a call! South End Plumbing is constantly prepared to repair and replace garbage disposals. We will also install a disposal that you purchased. Call us at 704-919-1722 or fill out the form online to schedule a visit.

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