What is and is Not Safe to Put Down a Garbage Disposal?

What is and is Not Safe to Put Down a Garbage Disposal?

When the water starts taking longer and longer to drain out of the kitchen sink, a clog is forming in your pipes that will eventually stop it up completely. The most commonly clogged side of the sink is the one with the garbage disposal. This handy appliance can get rid of a lot of unwanted food waste, whisking it away so that it is not smelling up the kitchen. However it can become a plumbing disaster if the wrong things are put into it.

What is Safe to Put Down the Drain?

With no exceptions, only liquids like milk, juice or coffee should be dumped into the sink without the garbage disposal. On the disposal side of the sink you can put:

  • Small meat scraps (NO BONES)
  • Vegetable peels from carrots, cucumbers, potatoes, etc.
  • Plate scraps like bits of scrambled egg, a piece of cooked broccoli, or similar
  • Citrus fruit rinds from oranges, lemons, limes, etc.

Most garbage disposals can handle just about any food scraps. The key is to not overload it with extra large pieces of anything. With potato peelings or a stringy vegetable like celery, be sure to only put a few pieces at a time into the disposal and run lots of water with the food waste to make sure it does not get stopped up in the pipe.

Citrus fruit rinds are actually very good for you disposal. They will help clean off the blades and give it a nice refreshing scent.

You can keep your disposal running smoothly by putting some ice in it once in awhile to scrape food scraps off the blades. Also, a boiling pot of hot water poured down into the sink will flush out and dissolve any greasy gunk forming on the blades or in the drainpipe.

What to NEVER Put Into the Garbage Disposal

Certain foods are very damaging to your disposal. While once in a great while putting only a small amount of these things down it will likely be all right, but regularly dumping these things into the sink with the disposal will cause it to clog up or even break. Avoid putting these items in your disposal:

  • Coffee grounds – they are oily and can easily build up into a greasy sludge in your pipes.
  • Bones – these can damage and break the blades.
  • Bread, pasta or rice – small amounts very occasionally will probably not clog up the drain. However, these food scraps absorb water and can easily form a doughy mess that will lodge in the drainpipe and cause it to clog up.
  • Grease – never pour grease down the drain. It will coat the insides of the pipes and catch food particles that over time will lead to a nasty smelling backed up drain pipe.
  • Fruit pits – from peaches or avocados, for example, are much too large and can easily break your disposal blades.
  • Banana peels, onionskin – these are much too tough and will not properly be ground. They can become tangled around your blades and destroy the disposal completely.
  • Shrimp or eggshells – while a few here and there will probably grind up okay, over time bits and pieces of them can stick to build up in the pipes and cause them to clog up

If your kitchen disposal sounds awful or stops working all together, it is best to call a professional plumber for kitchen disposal repair. Putting your hands down into it is unpleasant and risky if someone were to accidentally flip the on switch.

Let a plumber experienced in kitchen disposal repair access the problem and repair or replace your disposal. When you ensure that it gets done professionally, you’ll be far more likely to avoid future headaches.