Having a garbage disposal can be incredibly convenient, but it can also be a pain to deal with if it's not used properly. For instance, sending the wrong type of food scrap into the garbage disposal could not only result in drain clogs, but it could also add unnecessary wear and tear on the disposal itself. To keep your drains clear and your garbage disposal healthy, you'll want to steer clear of these items:
Extremely Fibrous Foods
If you have any corn husks, celery stalks, onion skins, or other leafy vegetables, you'll want to keep them away from your garbage disposal. True to their name, the fibrous strands found in fibrous foods can get tangled up in the blades and eventually jam the garbage disposal motor. Fibrous strands can also build up and clog your drains, making artichokes, Brussels sprouts and other greens a no-go for your disposal.
Once inside your garbage disposal, cooked rice, pasta, breads, and other expandable foods can easily turn into a thick paste and absorb water. The end result is a thick, goopy mess that causes drain blockages and prevents your garbage disposal from processing other waste. As with fibrous foods, you're better off sending your pasta and rice scraps to the garbage instead of your sink.
Greasy and Fatty Foods
Greasy and fatty food scraps are a no-brainer to keep out of your garbage disposal and out of your drains. The deposits left behind by these foods can accumulate inside of your garbage disposal and drain, resulting in drain clogs later on. It's best to discard your fatty food leftovers in the garbage instead of relying on your disposal to tackle these foods.
Straight Grease and Oils
If feeding greasy and fatty food scraps was bad enough, pouring old grease and oil down the drain is even worse. The oil or grease can easily solidify, creating a major clog that requires a mechanical auger or a hydro jet to break through.
The plates on your garbage disposal are designed to cut through a variety of tough materials, but bones from meats, poultry, and pork are not among them. It may be able to shrug off a few small bone fragments, but larger bones can damage the blades and even contribute to some serious drain clogs. Animal bones should find their way into the nearest trash can or compost bin.
Used coffee grounds are capable of absorbing foul odors. They're even able to keep the blades on your garbage disposal in good condition. Unfortunately, coffee grounds also have a tendency to accumulate in pipes and drains, resulting in a major clog even though your drains and garbage disposal smell fresh.
Instead, drop a lemon or orange rind into the garbage disposal every once in a while. Not only does the citrus oil in the rinds neutralize odors, but the rinds themselves can also keep your garbage disposal running.
Bleach and Other Harsh Chemicals
Many homeowners mistakenly pour bleach down their garbage disposals in a misguided effort at disinfecting their disposals and drains. Unfortunately, harsh chemicals like bleach can severely damage the garbage disposal hardware, along with your home's own pipes. It's a good idea to stay clear of bleach and other similarly harsh chemicals.
If you already have a clog to deal with, you'll want to refrain from using caustic drain cleaners for this same reason. Instead, try natural remedies that are safe for your garbage disposal, such as baking soda and boiling hot water.
Large Amounts of Food Waste
Keep in mind that there's only so much your garbage disposal can handle. Overloading it with large quantities of food scraps can result in severe drain clogs, plus you'll also run the risk of burning out your garbage disposal. Instead, feed your garbage disposal only small scraps, and don't forget to keep the cold water running as you use your disposal. For more help caring for your garbage disposal, contact a plumbing company like Backlund Plumbing.