What Is a Garbage Disposal?
A garbage disposal unit is an electrically powered device installed under a kitchen sink between the sink’s drain and trap. It shreds food waste into tiny particles to allow the food particles to pass through plumbing.
When your kitchen garbage disposal is running smoothly, it is a very useful appliance. Proper maintenance of your garbage disposal will extend its life and prevent clogs in your pipes and drains. Since your garbage disposal connects to your plumbing, you should consider anything that might cause a plumbing problem to also be a threat to your garbage disposal. Doing this provides you with a guideline of what can and cannot go down.
What Food Should You Avoid Sending Down Your Garbage Disposal?
1. Grease, Fats, and Oils
Your plumbing cannot stand large amounts of grease. Experts agree that fats, oils, and grease should never be poured down the drain as they solidify and eventually clog in the water system. Flush cold water if you must dispose of small amounts of grease in the garbage disposal. The cold water will solidify the oils and assist the garbage disposal to grind them.
2. Starchy foods
Avoid disposing of large amounts of starchy foods such as pasta, rice, or potatoes down the garbage disposal. These foods may either expand or break down into mush and can clog your drain, eventually causing damage to your garbage disposal. Dispose of these food items in the trash bin.
3. Coffee grounds
Although many recommend putting coffee grounds down the garbage disposal to eliminate odors, avoid doing so. Coffee grounds accumulate in the drains and pipes and prompt clogs in the plumbing system.
4. Large chunk bones
Throw out your bones into the trash bin. Although a high-powered garbage disposal unit can handle the grinding of bones, chunks of bone and other hard foods potentially increase the chances of clogging your drainage system.
5. Fibrous foods
Banana peels, corn husks, asparagus, artichokes, onion skins, and other fibrous foods can cause problems for your garbage disposal. Stringy materials tangle up inside the garbage disposal and jams its movement. Dispose of these in the trash bin or compost heap.
6. Non-food items
Care is needed to prevent non-food items from going down the garbage disposal. Cigarette buts, plastic bottles, paper napkins, candy wrappers, egg cartons, shrimp shells, broken glass, and other non-food items should not go down your garbage disposal.
7. Harsh Cleaning Chemicals
While cleaning your sink, avoid using harsh cleaning chemicals like bleach and drain cleaners. These can damage the garbage disposal blades and pipes. Use natural sink cleaners that effectively eliminate odor. For a great alternative to harsh chemicals, pour baking soda and vinegar into your garbage disposal to safely clean your drain and garbage disposal.
How to Maintain Your Garbage Disposal
Maintaining your garbage disposal is simple. Run cold water while using your garbage disposal and for 30 seconds after it has ground the food. Running water will assist the food particles to wash down the drain. The rule of thumb is to only dispose of acceptable foods down the garbage disposal.
If your garbage disposal needs maintenance or repairs, Benjamin Plumbing will help you find a solution. We have the experience to address most garbage disposal emergencies.