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What Is Allowed To Go Through A Garbage Disposal?

When you have a clogged shower, sink, or toilet, it's time to call our team for drain cleaning services in Chicago.

Today, no kitchen is complete without a garbage disposal in the sink. Say goodbye to smelly trash. Just toss veggie scraps, and other organic matter in it, and your kitchen will not smell like a landfill.

However, that doesn’t mean you should chuck all of your trash in there. If your garbage disposal begins to leak or gets clogged, chances are you are using it as a trash can. Prevent that from happening by ensuring you throw only certain scraps in there.

How a Garbage Disposal Works

A garbage disposal is an electric kitchen appliance installed under the kitchen sink right between the drain and the trap. Food that is thrown in it passes through a shredder that grinds it up into small pieces that can pass through the drain and your home’s plumbing easily.

Most units last for a decade or 12 years, but that depends on how well it is taken care of. If you abuse your garbage disposal by sending down items in it that it isn’t designed to shred, your plumbing will suffer.

Items You Can Throw In Your Garbage Disposal

Here are some items your garbage disposal is designed to shred easily and which won’t clog it:

Citrus Rinds

Besides breaking down easily, citrus rinds will naturally clean the garbage disposal and leave a nice, citrusy smell behind as well.

Coffee Grounds

Small amounts of coffee grounds can go down well if you don’t add more. So no, you cannot upend an entire bag of expired grounds in it. The oils in the coffee will gum up the works.

Cooked Meat

You can put leftover meat scraps from your dinner into the garbage disposal safely when cleaning dinner plates. But large pieces are better left for the dog or compost.

Certain Vegetables and Fruits

You can throw almost every fruit and vegetable in your disposal, but there are a few exceptions which we will discuss further on.

Wet Pet Food

If you have a cat or a dog that is a picky eater, don’t dump their leftovers in the trash. Dump it down the garbage disposal instead. Wet pet food will go down easier than dry pet food, which may harm your appliance.

Food That Can Damage Your Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals can grid up pretty much anything, but your plumbing is another matter. Grease and some organic matter can clog your pipes and make your sewage back up into your kitchen. Some of the food items you should chuck in the trash rather than your electric garbage disposal include the following:

Oil and Grease

Fats, oil, and grease (FOGs) don’t break down in the drain. They can congeal into a solid mass which can cause clogs anywhere in your plumbing system. Creamy food items such as peanut butter and ice cream can also cause the same issue. If you have no choice (if you have to throw out sautéed or creamed vegetables, for example), make sure you use cold water when operating the disposal.

The appliance will easily break down those greasy solids, which can prevent plumbing clogs down the line.

Starch-Based Food

While the occasional leftover pasta is not an issue, a whole container of old Chinese fried rice should be tossed straight in the trash. Large amounts of starch-based food such as potatoes, rice, and pasta can cause clogs in your drain even if they manage to get past the garbage disposal.

Stringy Peels and Vegetables

Contrary to popular belief, you cannot dump every kind of veggie or fruit in your garbage disposal and call it a day. Those rich in fiber may get your bowels moving, but they can clog up your pipes.

These include corn husks, celery, edamame pods, asparagus, banana peels, potato skins, rhubarb, among other ‘stringy’ items. Fibrous items will go through your garbage disposal and ball up in your pipes which can lead to nasty clogs. Peels, for instance, are quite thin and can slip through the blades and grates straight into your plumbing.

Eggshells and Shellfish

Throwing eggshells and shellfish in the garbage disposal can be quite tempting, but you will get a hefty plumbing bill if you give in to temptation. These are great for compost, but they break down slowly. They can accumulate in the drain and block it with time, especially in older pipes.

Contact King Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing to Fix a Clogged Garbage Disposal

Life doesn’t slow down for anyone. When you are in a hurry trying to get the kids out for school on time, the last thing you think of is your garbage disposal when you are chucking their leftover breakfast. If this is you and your garbage disposal has seen better days, or your pipes are clogged, get in touch with the professional plumbers at Kind Heating, Cooling & Plumbing today.

We understand that a busted garbage disposal and faulty kitchen plumbing can bring your whole day to a standstill. Besides fixing both, we can also look at your kitchen sink, faucets, dishwasher lines, fridge water lines, and more. Contact us for details on all of our services.

Need a new garbage disposal installed? No problem! Ask us about our recommendations, and we will tell you the best one that is perfect for your needs. We will also go the extra mile and install the model you choose for you, so you don’t have to. Get in touch with us and book a service today. Besides installing disposals, we can also take a look at your HVAC system and create a convenient maintenance schedule.