Your garbage disposal is a great tool to dispose of food waste, but not every food or food waste should be taken care of by your disposal.
How does a garbage disposal work?
Contrary to popular belief, garbage disposals don’t have blades. They actually have ‘impellers’ that spin around and break food waste up against a stationary ‘grind rind’ located around the edge of the disposal. This grind ring has small slats that allow the liquified food waste to flow down your sink and out through your plumbing.
What shouldn’t go down the drain?
Even if your garbage disposal were to succeed in breaking down bones placed down the drain, this waste can cause major damage to your garbage disposal. Very small bones may be okay to go down the kitchen sink, but overall, it’s not worth the risk.
Thanks to their sticky membrane, eggshells can cause damage to your garbage disposal. The membrane gets wrapped around the impellers.
Pasta and Oats
If you’ve ever cooked pasta or oats, you know they expand in water When you place these leftovers down your drain, they can continue to expand—even after being fully cooked! Throw these leftovers in the trash to avoid sticky clogs.
Fat, Grease, or Cooking Oil
Little known fact: your garbage disposal won’t have any issue filtering out grease, animal fat, or cooking oil—it’s the rest of your plumbing that has an issue. Even after the waste passes through your garbage disposal, it can cool and harden on the interior of your plumbing system. If you dispose of any other waste in your garbage disposal, it can get stuck in the greasy mess and create a blockage over time.
Stringy or Fibrous Vegetables
Stringy vegetables such as celery and cornhusks create a similar problem for your garbage disposal as eggshells do—the fibrous material can wrap around the impellers and inhibit its ability to break down food.
The pits from many fruits will create the same damage to your garbage disposal that bones will. It’s better for everyone if you dispose of any hard pit in the trash can or save it for a compost pile.
Have you ever made your own peanut or almond butter? Putting nuts down your garbage disposal will grind them up without issue, but once ground they become the sticky paste many know and love. However, as you can probably imagine, peanut butter coating the inside of your plumbing is a great precursor to a clog or blockage.