What Can You Put in the Garbage Disposal? - Preventing Clogs
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What Can You Put in A Garbage Disposal?

Food scraps sitting in a sink surrounding the drain.

Garbage disposals, also known as garburators, are handy devices that attach to kitchen sinks and help prevent pipe and drain clogs. Many homes and even businesses have garbage disposals installed to reduce the amount of debris that builds up in the pipes.

While garbage disposals are undoubtedly durable and able to grind up a variety of food waste, they’re not indestructible. Knowing what is ok to put in a garbage disposal is vital to protecting your unit.

Continue reading to learn about what can go down a garbage disposal safely, and what items are sure to lead to an expensive plumbing bill.

What Can You Put Down A Garbage Disposal?

What can you put in the garbage disposal? Generally speaking, soft food waste like fruit and vegetable peels, pieces of cooked meat, ice, and other small biodegradable items are safe to put down your garbage disposal. However, it’s important that large pieces of food are chopped into smaller sizes so the grinding system is not overworked.

The answer as to what can go in a garbage disposal isn’t always cut and dry. While some heavy duty disposal systems will be able to grind up tough food waste that other models can’t, it’s a good rule of thumb to avoid the items you’ll find listed below.

Worst Foods for the Garbage Disposal

If you’re wondering what shouldn’t go in your garbage disposal, there are a number of “problem” items people mistakenly believe these systems can easily handle. However, you’ll find that putting a variety of common food waste, like eggshells, in the garbage disposal will actually damage your unit.

Avoid using your disposal to get rid of the following waste items:

  • Eggshells
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Cooking Grease/Oil
  • Foods High in Starch (i.e. potato peels or pasta noodles)
  • Onion Skins
  • Fruit Pits
  • Peanut Butter
  • Rice
  • Corn Husks
  • Beans
  • Small Bones
  • Seafood Shells

If you’re used to throwing any of the above items down your garbage disposal, you may find yourself calling a plumber sooner than you think. Using a garburator to eliminate waste it’s not designed to grind up can shorten the lifespan of your unit. It can also lead to clogged pipes and sink drains.

Call our plumbers in Bend, Oregon at Ponderosa Heating & Cooling, Plumbing & Electrical if you’re dealing with a damaged disposal unit, or you think you have a clog in your pipes.

Non-Food Items that Shouldn’t Go Down the Garbage Disposal

Garburator systems aren’t designed to handle non-food waste items, such as the following:

  • Hair
  • Floss
  • Cigarette Butts
  • Sponges/Pieces of Sponge
  • Rubber Bands
  • Steel Scrubbers
  • Bread Ties/Twist Ties
  • Fabric

If the following items are thrown down your sink drain when you have a garbage disposal, it can mean trouble for your unit and your pipes.

How to Protect Your Garbage Disposal

If you have a garburator, there are a few things you can do to extend the lifespan of the unit.

  • Run cold water when the garburator is in use and immediately after you shut it off to avoid overheating the unit.
  • Put ice cubes down the drain and run your garbage disposal to help clean the system.
  • Use a pipe degreaser on occasion to help eliminate grease and fat build-up.
  • Freshen the drain by using the disposal to grind up pieces of citrus fruit, like lemon and lime peels.
  • Have your drain snaked every two years by a professional plumber to avoid clogs.

If you have any additional questions about how to protect your garburator, contact Ponderosa Heating & Cooling, Plumbing & Electrical to speak with our technicians.

Contact the Plumbing Team at Ponderosa

If your garbage disposal is acting up, or not working when you turn it on, it’s time to call the plumbing professionals at Ponderosa Heating & Cooling, Plumbing & Electrical. Our team is experienced in clogged drain repair, plumbing system troubleshooting, inspections, and a number of other plumbing related services.

Contact us today at (541) 549-1605 to schedule a service appointment.

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