What Foods Should You Avoid Putting Down Your Garbage Disposal?

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A garbage disposal , unlike its name, is not meant to be used to dispose of all your garbage.

Many Buffalo, New York homeowners use their garbage disposal as just that, a way to dispose of their garbage. A garbage disposal , unlike its name, is not meant to be used to dispose of all your garbage, it is designed to get rid of food waste exclusively and not all food materials are safe. You are likely not putting plastic, glass, and metal through your disposal, but there are also some foods that you should never put in your disposal if you want it to continue to run smoothly and keep your drains clog free. What foods should you avoid putting down your garbage disposal?

Foods You Should Avoid Putting Down Your Garbage Disposal

For the most part, garbage disposals can grind almost anything you put in them; however, your plumbing is a different story. Putting certain items down your disposal can lead to clogged drains and costly plumbing repairs down the road.

Below are some things to never put down your disposal:

  • – Coffee Grounds
  • – Pasta
  • – Bones
  • – Shellfish Shells
  • – Grease
  • – Oil
  • – Eggshells
  • – Corn Husks
  • – Artichokes
  • – Oatmeal
  • – Nuts
  • – Onion Skins
  • – Potato Peels
  • – Fruit Pits
  • – Any Non-Food Items (paint, etc.)

Let’s further break down why the above items are foods you should avoid putting down your garbage disposal.

Coffee Grounds: Many homeowners put coffee grounds down their disposal because they believe it will help reduce odors. While it’s true that dropping coffee grounds into your garbage disposal reduces odors in the short term, it can actually cause more serious problems down the drain. Think about what used coffee grounds look like when taken out of a filter; they create a dense, thickly packed pasty clump. They do the same thing when they are put down your disposal and make their way into your plumbing.

Oils, Grease, and Fats: While oils, grease, and fats may look harmless because they are usually in the liquid form, they will congeal and that can eventually cause clogs throughout your plumbing. Sometimes it’s unavoidable for small amounts of grease to go down the disposal; which is why you should always use cold water when operating the disposal. “Cold water is key,” says Alyssa Wiegand, product manager at Moen. “It causes small amounts of grease to solidify.” Then the disposal can break those solids up, reducing the chances of a clog (Consumer Reports).

Starchy/Fibrous Foods, Vegetable Peels, and Pasta: Large quantities of starchy and fibrous foods like rice, pasta, pumpkin, celery, and potatoes break down into a mush that can clog your drain and create a glue-like substance in your disposal, like coffee grounds. While a little pasta down the drain should not hurt, you should discard most starchy and fibrous foods and pasta in the trash.

Eggshells and Shellfish: Another common thing that homeowners put down the disposal is eggshells, because many have heard that throwing eggshells down your garbage disposal will help sharpen the blades. Eggshells and shellfish should be avoided being put down your disposal as they don’t decompose quickly enough, and they can accumulate and back up your drain.

If you want to avoid potential plumbing issues down the line, there are foods you should avoid putting down your garbage disposal. If your garbage disposal or other kitchen plumbing is backed up, Reimer Home Services is here to help.

Reimer is your locally trusted source for kitchen plumbing repair here in Buffalo and Western New York. Throughout both the Southtowns and Northtowns, our plumbers help homeowners with their kitchen plumbing projects and urgent repairs. From installing a new garbage disposal to replacing faucets and fixtures, our experienced plumbers have the tools and training to get the job done.

Have an urgent issue in your kitchen? We’re available Day or Night, with no extra charge for nights or weekends. Call us today, or request service online.

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