Where would you be without your trusty garbage disposal? You’d probably spend a lot more time cleaning up after you cook, that’s for sure. Here’s the thing, though—if you throw all your food waste down the disposal, you risk gumming it up and putting it out of commission until you can get it fixed.
There are a few things that never belong in your garbage disposal, as they can clog not only your disposal mechanism but also the plumbing system. Keep this list handy and remember that these items all belong in your regular kitchen trash.
Cooking Oil and Grease
Next time you fry up a pan of bacon, be careful with your disposal of the leftover grease. If you pour it down your garbage disposal, the grease will cool down and harden into a clog that’s difficult to remove without dismantling your pipes.
Instead, pour leftover cooking oils, fats, and grease into a separate container. Wait for it to cool down before tossing the closed container into the trash.
Food items like rice and pasta expand and soften when exposed to water—you can see that process in action as you cook those foods. Now, imagine that leftover starch sitting in your drain, expanding more and more as you run your faucet. Spaghetti in your garbage disposal is a recipe for a clogged drain.
Despite what you may have heard, your garbage disposal can’t handle every food scrap you toss down there; that’s a common plumbing myth that stymies many homeowners. High-fiber scraps like artichokes, celery, onion skin, and corn husks are full of long, stringy bits that can get tangled in the blades of your disposal.
Want an environmentally conscious way to get rid of those high-fiber scraps? Start your own compost heap! Items that spell trouble for your disposal could greatly benefit the soil outside.
Hard Food Scraps
A good rule of thumb to remember is that if you can’t easily bite into something with your teeth, it shouldn’t go in your garbage disposal. Rib bones, fruit pits, and stray popcorn kernels are too hard for a garbage disposal to grind up properly and could ultimately break it.
Just because it’s called a garbage disposal doesn’t mean you can throw any and all garbage down there. Candy wrappers, plastic packaging, and used paper towels belong in your regular kitchen trash. Reserve your garbage disposal for small, soft food scraps only.
If your kitchen sink has a garbage disposal, keep it in good working condition by learning which items you should never put in it. Use your disposal only for its intended purpose, and your kitchen clean up will remain manageable.