Garbage disposals are the kitchen equivalent of the high school bully.
Whilst they make a lot of noise and appear tough, the truth is that they are very vulnerable and easily beaten. Putting the wrong things down your garbage disposal can result in damage and expensive repairs or even replacement.
This article will list several foods to never put into your garbage disposal, thus helping you to avoid those unnecessary hassles.
1. Bones and pits
Bones such as chicken bones, ham bones or turkey bones may seem harmless against the ferocity of a garbage disposal, but this is in fact untrue.
Bones can cause a wide range of damage to a garbage disposal. At the least, bones can cause the shredders to become dull, thus losing their ability to shred effectively.
At worst, bones can actually clog the shredders of a garbage disposal, causing them to stop functioning altogether.
Additionally, this can cause the motor to burn out as the strain of the shredders not moving will be too much for the motor to handle. The same applies to large pits, such as avocado or peach.
2. Stringy vegetables
Vegetables such as corn, celery and asparagus tend to leave large amounts of stringy waste. While you may be tempted to simply dump this waste in the garbage disposal, this is actually the last thing you should do.
Fibrous materials like cornhusks can act like string, wrapping around the shredders. The result is that the disposal becomes clogged and seizes up. Not only will this result in the disposal not running, but it can also burn out the motor.
At the least you will need to take the unit apart to clean it out. Worst case scenario, you will need to replace it completely.
3. Grease and fat
This rule is more about the plumbing than the garbage disposal itself.
One thing we need to remember is that a garbage disposal uses pipes for drainage. That said, the same rules that apply to any water or drainage pipes apply to garbage disposals as well.
Grease and fat are very thin and fluid while warm; however, as they cool they become increasingly gelatinous. This can cause any plumbing system to clog and back up, resulting in a smelly, dirty mess.
4. Coffee grounds
While coffee grounds may seem perfectly harmless, there are in fact two reasons you should never put them down a garbage disposal.
First, they have a tendency to accumulate in pipes—particularly in any elbow joints where they can settle in the bottom. This accumulation can lead to the pipes becoming clogged over time.
Second, the fineness of the coffee grounds means they can get into the teeth of the shredders. Over time, this accumulation can result in the shredders not performing their function well.
5. Large quantities
In addition to certain types of food being bad for a garbage disposal, large quantities of food are also bad.
Regardless of what type of food it is, large quantities of food can easily cause the shredders to become clogged. This can cause the unit to stop working, as well as the motor to burn out in extreme cases.
The best rule of thumb is to only put small amounts of food into a garbage disposal, being sure to run water the whole time. Taking these precautions will help ensure your disposal runs well for years of use.
Garbage disposals can be a very effective way for disposing of food waste in a clean and convenient manner.
Following the tips in this article will help you to avoid the hassle and expense of damage caused by simple mistakes. Treat your garbage disposal well and it can last a lifetime of proper use.