Many of us have garbage disposals and we tend to wishfully toss things down it when we shouldn’t. It’s funny that we gamble clogging our pipes and risking an expensive bill from the plumber when there is usually a trash can nearby. Often the trash is just under the sink! What shouldn’t go in a garbage disposal? In this article we’ll cover all of the main things that shouldn’t be put down the disposal and should be dumped into the garbage. If you have experience with things that have clogged your garbage disposal please comment and share so we can all learn more about what to watch out for when using our disposals. Continue reading to learn about the main problem items.
Avoid Grease And Oil
Grease is ironically the worst thing to go down a garbage disposal. It won’t harm or clog the disposal itself but grease is highly prone to collecting on the walls of your drain pipes, especially in the trap. Once it does it is sticky and will begin to collect other bits of food and debris. Before long you’ll have a clogged drain. If you’re lucky the clog will be in the trap. If you’re not so lucky the clog could be much further down the pipe and extremely difficult to clear without calling a plumber out with a very long snake to clear the clog. Even after the clog itself is clear it’s difficult to remove all of the built up grease, especially from locations far away from the sink. Most of the time when I’m done cooking and need to toss out my grease I wipe it out with several paper towels and toss them in the trash. On those occasions when a few paper towels won’t do the job I try to find a sealable container to pour the grease or oil into and then toss that into the trash. Unfortunately I often find I don’t have a sealable container handy. What I do tend to have available often is a soda can. I use a funnel to pour the grease or oil into the can and then I use a paper towel to stuff down into the opening to help keep the oil or grease from leaking out.
Bones are terrible for putting down the drain. Most people have simple 1/3 horse power garbage disposals which will not be able to handle bones. The bones will typically never make it past the disposals grinding wheel and just sit in the disposal. Eventually they will begin to decay and smell quite putrid. Also they can prevent other food from making its way through the disposal by either preventing it from being ground well or blocking its ability to get past the grinding wheel. You’re much better off simply tossing bones in the trash. If you’re worried about them smelling before you get a chance to take the garbage out tie them off in a used plastic grocery bag or other similar plastic bag.
Like bones, pits and other large seeds will usually bounce around and likely won’t get ground up in the typical garbage disposal. Save yourself some trouble and toss them into the trash instead of wishfully thinking the disposal will eventually grind them up.
Avoid Fibrous Foods
Fibrous foods like celery and tough leafy greens like kale stems or collard greens shouldn’t be put in your garbage disposal. The more fibrous the food the more likely it will end up jamming up the garbage disposal. The lesser fibrous foods that are still thick and difficult to grind can go down the disposal but should be done so with cold water and in small batches. Wait through each batch and listen for the change in sound that indicates that the food has made its way through the grinding wheel section and down the drain.
Anything Non Organic
It should be obvious but things that aren’t food shouldn’t be put in your garbage disposal wether or not it can actually making it safely through the grinding wheel and pipes. No matter wether you have a septic tank or your pipes run to your local sewage treatment plant, you don’t want to clog up things that are beyond your home.
What To Avoid Putting In Your Garbage Disposal
Keeping your disposal and drain pipes free and clear of obstructions should be fairly common sense. Disposals aren’t miracle workers but it does seem awfully convenient to toss things down there instead of into the trash. Just remember that it isn’t that big of a chore to stop and consider wether something should be tossed down the disposal or into the trash and then take a moment to do so. It can be the difference between a few seconds of your time or a large bill from the plumber. Good luck!