In your kitchen, the garbage disposal can be a lifesaver when it comes to cleaning up after cooking. Of course, this convenient device isn’t made to handle everything and anything. Here are the top 13 food and non-food items that you should avoid putting down your garbage disposal and sink.
- Fats, cooking oils, and grease – When these fatty liquids cool, they turn solid and can clog your disposal and drain. Instead, pour fats, oils, and grease into a glass or metal container, then throw in the trash.
- Coffee grounds – Wet coffee grounds can become packed down and cause a clog in your drain. Throw them away or put in a compost pile for your garden.
- Bones – The blades of your disposal aren’t sharp or tough enough to grind up most bones.
- Egg shells – While some people claim eggs can somehow sharpen disposal blades, it’s more likely that the thin membrane inside the shell can get stuck and damage your system.
- Pasta and rice – Grains like pasta and rice expand when soaked in water. It’s likely OK if a few noodles or a tiny bit of rice from a dirty plate end up in your disposer. But dumping a whole meal’s worth in can cause a problem.
- Medicine – While your disposal can handle chopping up pills or capsules, it’s dangerous to put drugs into the water supply. For controlled substances, the FDA recommends mixing the unwanted medications with unappealing material (like dirt or kitty litter), placing in a plastic bag, and throwing in the garbage.
- Potato peels – The peels can stick together and turn into a big, starchy mass that can clog your pipes.
- Celery – While this veggie seems innocent, the strings of celery can get wound up in the blades and hurt the motor.
- Fruit pits – Hard, round fruit pits won’t get processed and will likely rattle around your disposal for a while.
- Seafood shells – Crab, lobster, and shrimp shells are too dense for garbage disposers to handle. It’s better to put them in a trash bag and take out of your kitchen right away to prevent fishy odors in your home.
- Produce stickers – When washing or peeling your fruits or veggies, it may not seem like a big deal to throw the produce stickers in with the scraps, but odds are they’ll get stuck to the blades instead of going down the drain.
- Paper products – Paper towels, plates, wipes, and cotton balls do not break down quickly in water (like toilet paper does), so putting these items down the drain is just asking for a backed-up sewer system.
- Cleaning chemicals or paint – Non-food substances and harsh chemicals aren’t made to go down the drain. They can cause wear-and-tear on your disposal and damage your pipes.
Even if you’re careful, we understand that accidents happen. If your garbage disposal isn’t working properly or your kitchen sink is backed up or clogged, contact Emergency Plumbing and Solar and our professional plumbing team can fix the problem. Call us 24/7 at (808) 691-9309.