What Not to Put in Your Garbage Disposal

When thinking of plumbing, garbage disposals aren’t typically the first things that come to mind, but they’re a part of your plumbing system that can have an array of problems. These problems can be electrical or mechanical.

Some of the most common problems are the disposal not turning on, the disposal not grinding, the disposal being clogged, the disposal having a foul odor, or the disposal leaking. Solving these issues can be as simple as resetting the circuit breaker or as involved as installing a new garbage disposal.

However, maintenance and prevention are the best ways to keep your garbage disposal running smoothly for longer. Garbage disposals aren’t self-cleaning and they can’t dispose of everything. Following is a list of things you shouldn’t put in your garbage disposal and the reasons why.

1. Pits, seeds and nuts – Disposals have a hard time breaking apart anything that’s rounded as the rounded things tend to bounce along the top of the blades instead of getting caught in them. This can lead to clogs.

2. Eggshells or onions – The thin membranes on the inside of eggshells and onions wrap around the blades of disposals, causing them to jam.

3. Bones – Even if your disposal says it can grind anything, that doesn’t mean that tougher things don’t cause wear and tear on the blades. In addition, bones can splinter into thin strips and jam the blades.

4. Coffee grinds, potatoes, pasta/bread products – All of these items form pastes when ground up, and those pastes will clog your disposal.

5. Fat or oil – Fats and oils get into the mechanical parts of your disposal and make the grinding mechanisms ineffective. In addition, they go from the disposal to the pipes, where they cause grease clogs.

6. Fibrous fruits or vegetables – long fibers from fruits and vegetables can get caught or tangled in the blades of your disposal, causing it to jam. This applies to things like celery, asparagus, and pumpkin.

7. Nonfood items – You shouldn’t put any nonfood items in your disposal.

Using your garbage disposal as intended can keep it running without issues for much longer. If you do run into problems with your disposal though, be sure not to put your hands into the disposal, even if you’ve cut the power to the disposal. And if you’re ever in doubt of whether or not you can fix the issue safely, contact Service Pros Plumbing and we can send a professional out to help.