Don’t Put These Items in Your Garbage Disposal

It is estimated that 50% of American households own garbage disposals.  If you have one in your home, you appreciate just how much it speeds the process of cleaning up after a meal.  As we head towards the holidays, where you may find yourself entertaining more and cooking seasonal foods you don’t normally make during the year, it is a good time to refresh yourself on things you should not place in your disposal if you want to keep it running smoothly.

First and foremost, the garbage disposal is meant to handle only biodegradable food items. This eliminates glass, plastic, metal, paper, matches, and cigarette butts. However, even some food items are off limits as well.

  • Grease, oil, fat, or any foods containing these in high quantity should be thrown in the trash can. Grease will slowly accumulate over time, dulling your disposal’s ability to grind in addition to clogging your sink drain.  Additionally, you should make sure not to use hot water while running the disposal, as it aids grease in liquefying and accumulating.
  • Fibrous foods such as celery stalks, corn husks, artichokes, and onion skins can tangle and effectively jam your disposal.
  • The starch found in potato skins can turn into a thick glue-like paste that will cause the disposal blades to jam.
  • Items such as pasta, rice, and bread, which swell when introduced to water, can easily gum up your disposal blades and block your pipes.
  • The motor and blades in your disposal are not strong enough to grind animal bones or fruit pits and will break down trying to do so.

You should also avoid pouring commercial drain cleaner or bleach into your kitchen sink drain, as both can damage the disposal blades.  Borax is one cleaning product mild enough to use safely.  However, your best weapons for cleaning and sanitizing are a handful of ice cubes, followed by a lemon. These will work to scour the blades and leave your sink smelling fresh.

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