Many of us are under the impression that almost any food item can go down the garbage disposal. A plumbing company will tell you otherwise. While there are lots of foods you can grind up in your garbage disposal unit, many others can break the blades, clog the drains, or damage the grinding mechanism. In Myrtle Beach, SC, a plumbing company will get calls regularly from people who have tried to put the wrong foods down the drain.
So, what foods can you put down, and which ones should go into the compost heap? Here’s a list of foods you should avoid putting into your garbage disposal:
- Banana Peels: Probably the biggest offender, stringy banana peels actually take about 2 years to decompose and during that time can hang out in your unit causing smells and damaging blades.
- Solid Greases: Grease from hamburgers and other fatty meat is also a common culprit. As it meets with water, it hardens, accumulating in your pipes and causing blockages. It can also cause huge environmental problems like fatbergs in the sewage system.
- Coffee Grounds: While there is a myth that coffee grounds work to clean your drains and reduce smells this is not so. If you think about the grounds in your filter after you make coffee, you’ll know that they form a gooey mass and will stick to other things in your drains causing blockages.
- Fibrous Fruits and Vegetables: Celery, corn husks, pumpkin rind, and rhubarb can wrap around the blades causing them to jam often resulting in a call to your plumbing company. These items can be disposed of if they are cut into small chunks.
- Onion Peels: Onions chopped into chunks aren’t a problem but the thin membrane that lies just below the dry, outer-most layer of an onion is so thin that it can pass through the disposal, missing the blades and wind up wedged in the drain causing clogs and calls to the plumbing company.
- Meat and Skins: Chicken skin, in particular, is a bad culprit. Chunks of meat and skin can get stuck in the pipes, causing clogging and drainage issues.
- Oil: While you might think acting as a lubricant is a plus, it can actually cause the blades of your garbage disposal unit to be ineffective.
- Apple Cores: While the apple and core are okay to put down, the seeds may cause damage to the blades so should be removed first.
- Cheese: It’s okay to put cheese into your garbage disposal but it can adhere to the blades causing it to smell.
- Starchy Vegetables: Potatoes and other starchy vegetables can turn to mushy masses and clog drains
- Rice, Pasta and Bread Products: Starchy grains can absorb water and form a thick paste which can clog up your garbage disposal and drains causing blockages. While it’s okay to put a few scraps from your plate down the drain, avoid throwing large portions away.
- Eggshells: While the shells themselves can safely go down the drain, if you look closely you’ll notice a thin membrane on the shell that can get loose and lodge in the drain or around the impeller causing damage and breakages.
- Watermelon Rinds: While the watermelon itself can go down the drain, rinds can damage the blades and make a call to the plumbing company necessary.
- Seafood Shells and Bones: Bones and shells can dull or break your blades. They can also jam up the disposal unit and stop the blades from turning properly, which can, in turn, cause damage to the motor.
- Nuts, Seeds, and Hard Legumes: These are too hard for the blades to grind up and will cause damage to them
And, of course, you never want to put any non-food items down the drain. A plumbing company will have been called out to remove toys, paper towels, and candy wrappers from garbage disposal units. Harsh cleaning chemicals like drain busters and commercial cleaning products can cause excessive wear on your unit and are also bad for the environment. Paints are also a hazard and should be disposed of at your local firehouse or other hazardous waste products disposal site.
This seems like a long list but don’t worry. There are still lots of things you can put down your drain. Some of these include soup with no bones, vegetables with no peels, yogurt and applesauce, most dairy products (although they may stink up your drain), and fruits and vegetables chopped into small pieces.
It’s important to maintain your disposal unit and there are many YouTube videos put out by a reputable Myrtle Beach, SC, plumbing company that can show you exactly how it’s done. Here’s some tips:
- Always run cold water when the unit is running
- Don’t overload the garbage disposal
- Cut larger foods into small chunks before grinding
- Be sure to fully grind the waste before turning the unit off
- Stop smells by running a peeled lemon through a cycle
- Run ice cubes mixed with a bit of dish-washing detergent through the unit to clean the blades, freshen up the smell and break up any grease build-ups.
- Clean regularly with a toothbrush or pick designed for the job
- Don’t try to repair serious blockages yourself. Call the plumbing company!
Even when exercising caution, problems can occur and a call to the plumbing company is necessary. In the Myrtle Beach, SC area, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing of Myrtle Beach is a great choice. Qualified plumbers are available 24 hours a day to clean drains, perform everyday repairs, install water heaters, faucets and garbage disposal units, repipe homes and perform all of your plumbing renovations. No job is too messy! And because they know that your time is valuable, they offer you a guarantee that they’ll be on time or pay you $5 a minute for every minute they’re late.