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Foods to Avoid Putting Down the Garbage Disposal

Pouring water

Your garbage disposal – a handy appliance that has rescued you from unwanted odors. It’s primary function is to shred food waste into pieces small enough (generally less than 2mm) to pass through plumbing. But this doesn’t mean ALL food waste should skip your garbage or compost and head straight for the disposal. In fact, many foods can actually render your trusty assistance useless.

As we head into the holiday season, the last thing you want to deal with in the midst of holiday gatherings is a faulty disposal. Below, we’ve listed some items to avoid putting down the disposal and some other maintenance tips to keep everything functioning well through the New Year!

Foods to Avoid:

  • Greasy Foods (meat fats and cheese) – These foods leave a film over the disposal’s blades, which can diminish their effectiveness. They may also clog your drain!
  • Hard Things (any shells, bones, seeds, etc) – Anything hard has the power to dull or worse, break, the blades and jam the unit, causing the motor to burn out.
  • Peels (carrots, bananas, potatoes, etc) – These foods’ peels can easily wrap around the blades and keep the motor from operating.
  • Expandable Foods (pasta and rice) – Even SMALL amounts of these foods can swell with water and clog the trap.
  • Egg Shells – Their stringy membranes can wrap around the shredder ring while the shell itself is ground to a sand like consistency that can clog pipes.

Be sure to practice proper disposal maintenance in case any of these damaging foods do slip in – you’ll be prepared. Always keep the water running for 30-60 seconds after the food has cleared the drain because the waste still has a ways to go. The water will help the waste go down easier, pushing it as it goes. Also, always use cold water. Using hot water can melt fat which can then re-solidify as a blockage further down the drain. Finally, throw some ice cubes down it every once in a while. The cubes will not sharpen the blades (as commonly believed) but it does knock off any debris build up that keeps the disposal from grinding food properly.

At Patterson Plumbing & Heating, we’re available for all of your plumbing and heating needs. Give one of our expert technicians a call today: 719-544-4922. Don’t forget to LIKE us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more updates and industry news.

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