With the holiday season right around the corner, you’ll probably be spending a bit more time in the kitchen than usual. And your garbage disposal will likely be working overtime while you cook.

Great meals with people you love shouldn’t cause you stress, but broken garbage disposal or clogged drain line certainly can! Without proper care and attention, your garbage disposal can malfunction, and your drain lines can clog and cause your sink to back up.

It’s the last thing you want to deal with on Thanksgiving Day, but unfortunately, our certified plumbing technicians get a lot of calls to help with garbage disposal and drainage issues during the holidays!

To help you keep your garbage disposal in top-notch shape, we’ve put together a list of seven things that should never be put in your garbage disposal (plus a couple of cleaning tips if your kitchen sink needs some TLC!).

7 Things That Should Never Go in Your Garbage Disposal

  • Fruit and Vegetable Peels -As they grind through your disposal, the peels from your produce make a mushy paste that will stick to your unit and won’t allow your drain lines to work properly. Consider composting instead!
  • Grease and Fat – When you dump hot grease or fat down your drain line, it cools and solidifies as soon as it comes in contact with water. This creates a jelly-like paste in your drain lines which can contribute to clogs.
  • Stringy, Fibrous Vegetables – The biggest offenders here are celery, asparagus, onion skins, and corn husks. Like fruit and vegetable peels, bits of these fibrous vegetables get ground into a mushy paste that can clog up your drain lines. They can also wrap around the impellers (the two swiveling pieces that push food around inside the chamber to be ground up) and cause the motor to jam.To avoid any problems, send fibrous veggies to your compost bin or trash can.
  • Pasta and Rice – Even after you’ve cooked them, pasta and rice expand in size when they come in contact with water, just like a sponge. Dumping one bowl of pasta or rice down the drain is really like loading it down with two bowls. While your garbage disposal may have no issue handling the stuff, your drain line certainly will.
  • Coffee Grounds – When coffee grounds mix with water, they make a glue-like paste that sticks to the walls of your drain line, creating big problems over time. Be sure to send your grounds to the trash can. Better yet, add them to your compost bin if you have one!
  • Eggshells – Your garbage disposal will grind eggshells into sand-like particles that will stick to the walls of your pipes, slowing the drain over time, and eventually creating a clog. Like coffee grounds, eggshells are a great addition to your garden, so compost your eggshells if you can.
  • Fruit Pits and Bones – Fruit pits and bones are hard, bulky items that may spin in and around the blades of your disposal (or jam it), but they won’t break down like other typical kitchen scraps. It’s likely you’ll end up with a clog if fruit pits or bones end up going through your garbage disposal.

Garbage Disposal Preventive Maintenance

If you start to notice your garbage disposal or drain line could use some extra attention, here are two tips for helping them operate better.

Water and Vinegar Flush

  • Plug and fill your sink halfway with water
  • Add vinegar (a fantastic cleaning agent for more than just your garbage disposal!).
  • Unplug your sink while turning the garbage disposal on.

Ice and Salt Scrub

  • Send two cups of ice cubes through your garbage disposal, followed by one cup of rock salt. (The coarser the salt, the better the results, but kosher or table salt will also do the trick if that’s what you have.)
  • Run cold water for 5-10 seconds.
  • The ice, as it is being crushed, will clean the garbage disposal blades of any slimy, gunky residue, and the salt helps with deodorizing.

Time for a Replacement?

It’s important to remember that just like any appliance or tool in your home, your garbage disposal will eventually wear out, and it will need to be replaced. If you suspect you may be in need of new garbage disposal, contact us today! We can schedule a replacement before you run into any major issues!

The Takeaway

No one wants a plumbing emergency, especially during the holidays. Remember to keep these seven things out of your garbage disposal to prevent any unwelcome surprises:

  • 1. Fruit and vegetable peels
  • 2. Grease and fat
  • 3. Stringy, fibrous vegetables
  • 4. Pasta and rice
  • 5. Coffee grounds
  • 6.Eggshells
  • 7. Fruit pits and bones

If you think you might have a problem with your garbage disposal or kitchen drain line, give us a call right away for reliable, expert service you can depend on.

Schedule Your Service Today!

At High 5 Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, our trustworthy, reliable experts can repair or replace your broken garbage disposal. Call us today to get your expert estimate—fair and honest every time!

High 5 Plumbing

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