Not all kitchen waste is created equal, especially when it comes to your garbage disposal. It’s important to use the garbage disposal correctly to prevent clogs and damage. The wrong foods can easily cause clogging issues that call for a visit from your plumber! Here’s what you need to know about your disposal and what foods to avoid putting in it.

How Does a Garbage Disposal Work?

Garbage disposals are designed to break down food, but there are limits to what they can handle. A disposal consists of a motor connected to a rotating metal plate or impeller on the bottom of the unit that shreds food waste into small particles for easy disposal through your plumbing system.

However, not all foods are designed to be broken down in such a way. Certain foods like grease, and eggshells can cause clogs, dull blades, and plumbing issues.

Problematic Foods

1. Grease and Oils

Grease and oil should never go down the drain. Once the grease cools, it forms a thick, sticky substance that gets stuck in your pipes and can cause major issues with water flow.

2. Eggshells

Some people think that because eggshells are so thin they are fine to go down the drain. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Eggshells can still stick to the sides of the disposal unit and blades and cause clogs leading to an expensive plumbing repair.

3. Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds are particularly problematic because they expand when wet, which is why they should never be poured down the drain. They also form a paste-like consistency that sticks to pipes and can create blockage issues in your plumbing system.

4. Bones

Bones can cause serious damage to the blades in your disposal. The sharp edges of the bones can get lodged in between the blades or even cause them to break if they are pushed too hard. If you don’t want to break it, bones go in the trash.

5. Starchy Foods

Starchy foods like potatoes and pasta should not be put in the disposal. Starch expands when wet and can create a thick, glue-like substance that will stick to your pipes and cause clogs.

6. Fruit Pits

It’s summer, so we know it’s tempting to put those pits from your favorite summer fruits down the drain. But don’t do it! Pits from fruits like peaches, plums, and avocados are too hard and can easily damage the blades in your disposal or cause clogs.

7. Potato Peels

When you skin a potato, your natural inclination may be to peel it over the sink and toss it in the disposal—but it’s not such a great idea. Potato skins are fibrous and can easily get stuck in the blades, causing major blockages.

8. Oatmeal

Oatmeal may be your favorite breakfast food, but it’s not your disposal’s favorite! Because it’s on the starchy side, when it gets wet it can easily form a paste-like consistency and cause clogs.

9. Banana Peels

Banana peels are surprisingly tough and fibrous and can get stuck in between the blades or wrap around them, causing major issues with your disposal. It’s best to put those peels in the trash, not down the drain.

10. Pasta and Rice

When pasta or rice is cooked, it expands when wet and can cause major blockages in your plumbing system. The same goes for other starchy foods like potatoes and oatmeal.

How to Use Your Garbage Disposal Effectively

Now that you know what not to put down your garbage disposal, let’s discuss how to use it effectively. The key is to make sure the disposal doesn’t get overloaded with too much food at once, and that you avoid putting fibrous or starchy foods in there.

Always run cold water through the drain when you’re using your disposal as this helps flush the system of any debris that may have been left behind. Cleaning your disposal is also a good way to keep it functioning for longer periods of time. Consider cleaning your disposal every month or two with an enzymatic cleaner to keep it running smoothly.

By following these simple steps, you can help ensure that your disposal will last for years and prevent any costly plumbing repairs!

Three Kings Plumbing: Your Garbage Disposal Experts

Since 2008, we’ve been keeping homes in tip-top shape. When things go wrong, we are there to help. While knowing the foods to avoid putting in your disposal can help, sometimes things just don’t go according to plans. We are there for all your plumbing emergencies. Give us a call—we will help you get back to full speed in no time at all.